When Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookies gathered Wednesday for a week of off-the-field work before training camp opens July 27, the head of their class was nowhere to be seen.
S Mark Barron, the Bucs first-round draft pick, is not among the rookies who have reported today to One Buc Place for training camp.- Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) July 18, 2012
Barron, the Bucs' only unsigned draft pick, doesn't loom as a threat to miss much time.
His agent, Jimmy Sexton, already knows the parameters of the deal Barron will receive, according to Roy Cummings of The Tampa Tribune. Look for the former Alabama star to sign a four-year contract with a fifth-year option. The base salary ($390,000) and $9 million signing bonus are no mystery. Sexton knows this because last year's seventh overall pick, linebacker Aldon Smith, received a $8.96 million signing bonus from the San Francisco 49ers.
The NFL rookie slotting system has stripped drama from this process (which is great for fans and teams). With Robert Griffin III signing a four-year, $21.1 million contract with the Washington Redskins, unsigned players at the top of the draft -- seven of the top eight remain unsigned -- have a model for how to proceed.
The wiggle room between Barron and the Bucs comes down to sorting out potential offset language and how his signing bonus will be paid out, but we expect to see him in-house before long.