One of the beauties of the labor agreement the NFL instituted last summer is that the rookie salary pool virtually eliminates any reason for a first-year player to hold out of training camp.
With the Buccaneers officially announcing safety Mark Barron signed his contract Friday night, the NFC South won’t have any rookie holdouts when training camps officially start next week. Barron, who reportedly has agreed to a deal including a signing bonus of nearly $9 million, missed Thursday and Friday’s sessions of rookie camps. But he already is in Tampa and will be ready to go when the full team begins camp next week. Barron previously had taken part in most of the offseason program that was open to rookies.
The No. 7 choice overall, Barron is the first draft pick in the era of coach Greg Schiano and he is likely to start immediately at strong safety with veteran cornerback Ronde Barber moving to free safety. The Bucs still may slide Barber to play against slot receivers in the nickel package and that would create playing time at safety for Cody Grimm.
Barron likely will be one of three rookies with a chance to start immediately. Doug Martin, the 31st overall pick, will get a shot to be the starting running back and second-round pick Lavonte David appears to be a favorite to start at outside linebacker.