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Friday, June 14, 2013
Around the NFC West: What lies ahead

By Mike Sando

Good morning, NFC West. We've made it through organized team activities and minicamps for the 2013 offseason. Now, the waiting becomes more monotonous.

Training camps are more than five weeks away in most cases. Generally, not much is going to happen between minicamps and training camps.



For coaches, this can be a stressful time as players disperse with time on their hands and money in their pockets.

The St. Louis Rams had risk management in mind when they waited until Thursday before signing all seven of their draft choices.

"We just feel like they'll be better suited if we can take them through step A and B of Financial Planning 101 before we give ‘em the money," coach Jeff Fisher told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch late last week, when all seven draft choices remained without signed contracts. "It’s just that simple. We’ll get them all signed and we’re communicating with them."

Fisher was right. The Rams finished their final offseason practice session before training camp Thursday. Within hours, they announced that all seven 2013 draft choices had signed their contracts. Simple as that.

The labor agreement has removed nearly all the negotiating from the signing process. Player values are clearly slotted by how early or late a player was selected. It's not significant news when a player signs his rookie contract in the NFL these days. It'll be news if a draft choice hasn't signed in time for training camp.

We should find out in the near future when teams plan to open their camps. The NFL has spelled out camps scheduling rules as follows:

"Clubs are permitted to open preseason training camp for rookies and first-year players no earlier than 22 days prior to the club's first preseason game. Veteran players (defined as a player with at least one pension-credited season) other than quarterbacks or 'injured players' (as defined in CBA Article 21, Section 6) may report to a club's preseason training camp no earlier than 15 days prior to the club's first scheduled preseason game or July 15, whichever is later.

"Veteran quarterbacks and injured players may be required to report to the club's preseason training camp no earlier than five days immediately prior to the mandatory reporting date for all other veteran players, provided the club has already opened (or simultaneously opens) its official preseason training camp for all rookies and first-year players.

"A three-day acclimation period will apply to players who are on a club's roster up to and including the mandatory veteran reporting date. Players who join the roster after that date may practice (including wearing pads) and play immediately after passing a physical."