Eagles rookies are scheduled to report to Lehigh tomorrow afternoon. Indications today, from a source close to the situation, are that second-round safety Nate Allen might be signed by then. First-round defensive end Brandon Graham probably will not be, a source said.
As you would expect, there have been more second-round signings than first-round signings so far, including today's inking of Patriots' second-round tight end Rob Gronkowski. The Pats reportedly got around the logjam that has emerged over the payment of option bonuses in a league that has no CBA beyond this season by giving Gronkowski a playing-time incentive; perhaps we can expect something similar in an Allen deal. Allen agent Todd France has not responded to a request for comment. Gronkowski was selected 42nd overall, Allen 37th.
In the second round, DT Brian Price, taken 35th overall, has signed with the Bucs, as has 55th selection Sean Lee, the Penn State LB taken by the Cowboys. Dallas WR Dez Bryant, drafted 24th, is the only first-rounder to sign so far. Because the first-round framework seems far from set, the Eagles' discussions with Graham's agent, Joel Segal, have so far been preliminary. Segal has not responded to a request for comment.
Graham is expected to compete for the DE spot opposite Trent Cole. At minicamps, he flatly declared he would be signed when camp started, a stance he later had to adjust. Graham later said he would report and attend meetings but just not take the field if he remained unsigned. Unfortunately, that isn't allowed, as Segal no doubt has subsequently informed his client.
Getting Allen on the field right away is probably more crucial, given that he is the presumptive starting free safety heading into training camp, after Marlin Jackson's season ended in minicamp with an Achilles' tear. Allen also plays a more complex position in the Birds' defense than Graham. Graham can probably miss a week or so, as first-round WR Jeremy Maclin did last year, without seriously damaging his chance to play a lot as a rookie. Anything more than that could be a real problem, especially with free-agent newcomer Darryl Tapp intent on proving his mettle as a potential starter.
Among those expected to report tomorrow afternoon are the team's quarterbacks, including embattled Michael Vick, who has not yet spoken to reporters about the situation at his 30th birthday party last month in Virginia, where a former dogfighting codefendant, Quanis Phillips, was shot in the leg. Police have said Vick will not be charged in the case. NFL commisioner Roger Goodell has not released the findings of the league's investigation, but the Eagles do not seem to expect Vick to be suspended.
To see our previous post on Winston Justice's new addition, plus updates on Cornelius Ingram, Michael Vick and Brian Westbrook, click here.