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The pros and cons of a draft pick showing up in his new town

We’ve argued in the past that agents should have their unsigned rookie draft picks in fairly close proximity to their teams’ training camps, so that when a deal is done the kid will be able to get to work quickly, without missing any additional practices.

But there’s another side to the coin, as a league source explained to us last night.

Once the kid arrives in town, the leverage swings toward the team. So if any details remain, the team might try to play hardball, knowing that the kid is mentally ready to ink the deal and collect his bag of money. (Actually, there have been players in the past who think the signing bonus is paid in cash.)

We mention this because it looks like something like that might have gone down between the Browns and center Alex Mack, the 21st overall pick in the 2009 draft.

A deal was close on Thursday, he flew to Cleveland on Friday, and now they can’t get the thing ironed out.

We asked the source if it made sense to send the player to town without the team knowing he’s there. Though that would keep the team from trying to squeeze out better terms at the last minute (if the secret can be kept), there’s a greater chance that the player will get antsy if he’s hanging out in a hotel room for multiple days.

Timing, then, is the key. We think the best approach is to secretly send the player to his NFL city at the moment it appears a deal is essentially done in principle, so that he’ll be ready to sign and suit up as soon as any remaining details are worked out -- without the team knowing that he’s waiting in the wings to get to work.