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Monday, June 4, 2012
NFC South down to six unsigned rookies

By Pat Yasinskas

With Monday morning’s announcement that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed rookie running back Doug Martin to a five-year deal, the NFC South now is down to just six unsigned draft picks.

Carolina and Atlanta already have signed their entire draft classes. Safety Mark Barron, the seventh overall pick, is Tampa Bay’s only unsigned rookie.

With Martin’s deal done, Barron’s contract shouldn’t be that difficult. The Bucs have a certain amount left in their rookie pool and what they can pay this entire rookie class over the life of all the contracts and Barron will likely get just about all of that.

It’s also significant that Martin signed a five-year deal. Players drafted in the second round or later can only sign deals for a maximum of four years. First-round picks can be signed to five-year deals and general manager Mark Dominik previously has said he wanted to sign both his first-round picks to five-year deals.

The New Orleans Saints have not signed any of their five draft picks, but it’s not time to panic. The Saints obviously have been busy with other matters and there is plenty of time before the start of training camp. Plus, the Saints didn’t have a pick before the third round, so none of their deals should be overly complicated.