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Rookie signings remain ahead of previous CBA pace

As pointed out Thursday on Twitter by Liz Mullen of the SportsBusiness Journal, there are currently 32 unsigned picks from the 2012 NFL Draft. None of the unsigned picks are from the final two rounds, and 12 teams have finished signing their entire draft classes.

Ten clubs, including the New Orleans Saints -- who were the last team to begin signing its picks -- have just one more rookie contract to negotiate before opening training camp.

The 221 signed draft choices by July 6 represents 87.4 percent of the 2012 draft class -- a dramatic change from the pace of signings in the previous collective bargaining agreement, which ran from 2006 through 2010.

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According to a source with knowledge of rookie contract data, 28 of the 255 players chosen in the 2006 draft had signed contracts by July 8 (we're cheating a bit to accommodate for some July 7-8 signings in the previous CBA). That number exploded to 73 by July 8, 2007 and, after holding steady in 2008, reached triple digits in 2009, when 103 players signed before July 8, 2009. A year later, 121 picks signed prior to July 8.

Only seven of the 159 first-round picks, and five of the 160 second-round picks, in the previous CBA had signed contracts by July 8. This year, 18 of the 32 first-round picks, and 28 of the 31 second-round picks, signed before the rookie symposium.

Overall, 400 of the 1,273 players (31.4 percent) selected in an entry draft were signed by July 8 of their respective draft year. So with 221 of 253 signed, sealed and delivered this offseason, your team's front office has earned some time off before finishing up signings later this month.

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