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Despite rookie wage scale, 10 first-round picks still aren’t signed

Vikings Draft Football

Minnesota Vikings first-round draft pick Christian Ponder, right, holds up a jersye with head coach Leslie Frazier during an NFL football news conference Friday, April 29, 2011 in Eden Prairie, Minn. (AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Jeff Wheeler) ** MANDATORY CREDIT; ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS OUT; MAGS OUT; TWIN CITIES TV OUT **


With a brief lull in the free-agency free-for-all, it was time to take a look at the status of the first-round draft picks. Despite the implementation of a rookie wage scale, which gives teams and agents fewer issues than ever to negotiate, only 22 of the 32 first-rounders have been signed.

The holdouts, five days into the compressed process, are as follows: Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (No. 11), Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder (No. 12; pictured), Rams defensive end Robert Quinn (No. 14), Patriots tackle Nate Solder (No. 17), Chargers defensive tackle Corey Liuget (No. 18), Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara (No. 19), Browns defensive tackle Phil Taylor (No. 21), Colts tackle Anthony Castonzo (No. 22), Eagles guard Danny Watkins (No. 23), and Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan (No. 24).

The bulk of the holdouts are clustered from picks 17 through 24. Only one player in that stretch, Bucs defensive end Adrian Clayborn (No. 20 overall) has agreed to terms. The fact that Clayborn overshot the allocation for his slot by roughly $75,000 possibly has contributed to the problem. Clayborn received $8,210,000; the formula pegged his slot at $8,135,000.

Clayborn not only overshot his own slot -- he got more than the number that the formula provides for Amukamara at No. 19 ($8,180,000).

Another issue could be the question of the extent to which the contracts will be guaranteed. Clayborn’s deal is fully guaranteed, which squeezes Pats, Chargers, and Giants to do the same thing. Likewise, the players picked at No. 21 through No. 24 may be seeking fully guaranteed deals, and the teams may be resisting. The 25th pick, James Carpenter of the Seahawks, has a guarantee only for the first three years.

There’s every reason to think these 10 remaining deals will be done soon. Then again, there’s every reason to think they already should have been done.

UPDATE: Per Howard Balzer of the SportsExchange and, Quinn has agreed to terms. He is expected to practice Sunday.

SECOND UPDATE: Watt technically isn’t a holdout yet because the Texans don’t report until today. Multiple sources tell us that Watt is expected to sign today and participate in the first practice on Monday.