Panthers work to sign draft picks

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers were scrambling to sign their top three draft picks late Thursday, hours before players were scheduled to report to training camp.

The Panthers, who haven't had a contract holdout since 2003, had yet to reach deals with first-round pick Jon Beason and second-round choices Dwayne Jarrett and Ryan Kalil.

Beason's agent, Michael Huyghue, flew to Charlotte on Thursday for face-to-face negotiations with the Panthers. He said in a brief phone interview that a deal was not imminent.

The news was better for Jarrett. His agent, Darin Morgan, said in an e-mail message Thursday night that they had yet to reach a deal but added, "I hope it will be done by the morning."

Kalil's agent, Tom Condon, could not be reached.

Players are scheduled to report to camp in Spartanburg, S.C., on Friday morning. The first practice is Saturday.

Second-round pick Bruce Nelson's one-day absence in 2003 was the only time under general manager Marty Hurney that a draft pick was not signed on time.

The Panthers would especially like to make sure Beason and Jarrett don't miss any practice time. Beason, a linebacker from Miami, is expected to contend for a starting job at either Na'il Diggs' spot at outside linebacker or in the middle if Dan Morgan can't return from multiple concussions.

Jarrett, a receiver from Southern California, could replace Keyshawn Johnson as the starter opposite Steve Smith.

The Panthers' other five draft picks have come to terms, including third-round choice Charles Johnson, fourth-rounder Ryne Robinson and fifth-round choice Dante Rosario.

The Panthers came to terms with fifth-round choice Tim Shaw and seventh-round pick C.J. Wilson earlier this week.

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