Watkins contract talks hit a wall

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Negotiations between the Eagles and top draft pick Danny Watkins have hit a wall.

Eagles officials have become frustrated with the pace of talks with agent Eric Metz, while Metz’ group points to their negotiating a deal for No. 9 pick tackle Tyron Smith as evidence that they can get a deal done.

When Joe Panos, who works with Metz, was asked about the slow pace he pointed out that negotiations for Smith – who was drafted by the Cowboys – “went in a very timely matter and he was signed and in camp by Thursday.”

Panos would not comment specifically on Watkins’ contract talks. Metz did not return a message.

“We handle contract talks internally,” Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said. “But with Danny were eager to get him here and on the field.”

Eighteen of the 32 first-round picks have either signed contracts or agreed to terms on a deal. Watkins was selected No. 23 overall out of Baylor. Draft picks Nos. 21 and 22 – Cleveland defensive tackle Phil Taylor and Indianapolis tackle Anthony Constanzo – have yet to ink deals.

Last week before the NFL lockout ended, Watkins said that he was not going to let his contract situation hold up getting into camp. The Eagles have the 26-year-old penciled in as the starter at right guard. Currently A.Q. Shipley is filling his spot.

Watkins drove up to Lehigh on Wednesday when players were to report, but the team – because he wasn’t under contract -- sent him home after he collected his equipment.

The Eagles’ previous two No. 1 draft picks – defensive end Brandon Graham and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin -- missed camp time because of extended negotiating.

Metz’ group represented 2007 No. 1 draft pick Jamarcus Russell and the former Oakland and current free agent quarterback missed all of camp and the first game of the season.