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Predicting when the rest of the Pats’ rookie class will sign

06.30.10 at 1:14 am ET
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Piggybacking on this story I wrote for Tuesday about how agents go about negotiating rookie deals with the Patriots, it’€™s worth a look at just how many members of the 2010 rookie class have actually put pen to paper, and how many are still waiting on a deal.

New England has five of its 12 draft choices signed ‘€” wide receiver Taylor Price (third round), tight end Aaron Hernandez (fourth round), punter Zoltan Mesko (fifth round), offensive lineman Ted Larsen (sixth round) and offensive lineman Tom Welch (seventh round) are all in the fold.

On the surface, the fact that the Patriots have less than half their picks done with training camp a month away might be cause for concern. But when stacked up against the rest of the league ‘€” and when you consider the circumstances that surround the players that are unsigned ‘€” Brian McIntyre of ‘€œMac’€™s Football Blog’€ says the Patriots are pretty much in line with the rest of the league.

McIntyre, who does an amazing job following the day-to-day news of professional football, also provides an invaluable service by compiles signing information on all 250-something draft picks, breaking it down round-by-round as well as team-by-team.

As a result of his exhaustive work, few writers are as qualified to talk about the signing and negotiation process as McIntyre. And says that when it comes to signing the 2010 NFL draft class, things are ahead of schedule.

‘€œWith the exception of a handful of teams who appear to be waiting until after the Fourth of July to get going, rookie signings league-wide are ahead of schedule,’€ he wrote in an e-mail to WEEI.com on Tuesday evening. ‘€œNinety (of 256) players had signed contracts by June 29, 2009. As of today, 115 of 255 have already signed. New England is no exception.’€

When it comes to the Patriots, McIntyre notes that a year ago, the Patriots only had one of their 12 picks, fourth-round guard Rich Ohrnberger, signed to a contract by June 29. This summer, they’€™ve already got five of 12 signed, and three more should fall in short order.

‘€œThree more (Brandon Deadrick, Kade Weston, and Zac Robinson) are clumped together so tightly (picks 40, 41, and 43) in the seventh-round that their deals shouldn’€™t take more than a few minutes to finalize. Once those three sign, they’€™ll be able to focus on [first-rounder] Devin McCourty and the three second-round picks.’€

McIntyre says what’€™s stood out about how the Patriots have operated thus far is that in his words, ‘€œthey haven’€™t been waiting for the draft slots to get as tight as possible.’€

‘€œTaylor Price was the first third round pick to sign, and Aaron Hernandez (whose deal goes even further than the Globe reported) was the third fourth round pick to sign. Ted Larsen was one of the first sixth round picks to sign (he and Trindon Holliday signed on the same day), and the front office wasted little time establishing the ceiling for seventh round picks by getting Thomas Welch signed on June 4.’€

McIntyre also believes that when it comes to getting New England’€™s second-rounders signed, they will be helped by the fact that Drew Rosenhaus ‘€” who McIntyre describes as a ‘€œproactive’€ agent ‘€” reps one of their three second-round picks, tight end Rob Gronkowski.

‘€œPhiladephia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy, a Rosenhaus client, was the first second-rounder to sign in 2009, which was soon followed by Darius Butler‘€™s signing, also a Rosenhaus client,’€ McIntyre said. ‘€œHaving a proactive agent like Rosenhaus may prompt the reps for the other two second-rounders to arrive early at the bargaining table to get as much of the approximately $3.263 million that will remain of the Patriots’€™ rookie pool after the three seventh-rounders sign.’€

As for first-round choice McCourty, McIntyre predicts his deal will be done by late July.

‘€œLike most first-rounders, McCourty should be signed a day or two before, or directly on the reporting date for training camp,’€ he said. ‘€œNo rush right now from either side, who’€™ll be waiting for as many dominoes to fall before hammering out a deal.’€

Read More: 2010 draft class, Aaron Hernandez, Brandon Deadrick, Darius Butler
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