Draft picks signing at a faster clip this summer

There isn’t expected to be much if any business conducted this holiday weekend, but NFL teams and agents have been working with a little more urgency when it comes to getting rookie deals done this year.

According to the league-run Web site NFLLabor.com, signed contracts were up 17 percent this year through July 1 as opposed to a year ago through the same date. What’s the big rush? Well, maybe club executives and agents alike would appreciate some down time before training camps get rolling later this month. Cleveland Browns rookies report on July 23 to camp. Rookies for the New England Patriots and San Diego Chargers report two days later.

Through July 1, the league office had received contracts for 112 of the 255 draft picks. They had only 96 through this point last year. The Chicago Bears – who did not have first- or second-round draft picks – are the only franchise to have all of its draft picks under contract to this point. The Philadelphia Eagles had the most under contract through July 1 with 10.

And, yes, there will still be some holdouts that carry into August. But no one is predicting a Michael Crabtree-style staredown this time around.

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