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Panthers working to avoid training camp holdouts

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Kris Jenkins plans to be there. Now the Carolina Panthers are trying to get their top three draft picks signed to avoid any training camp holdouts.

Jenkins' agent, Tony Paige, said in an e-mail message Tuesday that the three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle will report to camp Friday, a month after he skipped the team's voluntary workouts and Paige indicated he wanted a new contract.

"Kris had said all along that he was going to be there and we said all along that he was going to be at camp," Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said in a phone interview. "We never really expected anything other than that."

Meanwhile, the Panthers are trying to lock up first-round pick Jon Beason, a linebacker from Miami, and their two second-round picks from Southern California, receiver Dwayne Jarrett and center Ryan Kalil, before Saturday morning's opening practice.

The Panthers have come to terms with their other five picks after reaching deals with fifth-round choice Tim Shaw and seventh-round pick C.J. Wilson in recent days.

The final three will be the toughest. Hurney said negotiations have been ongoing for three weeks.

"We always try to be optimistic and do everything we can to get guys in on time because it's very important," Hurney said. "We've been very fortunate in recent years to be able to do that and we hope we can do that again. But you can never speculate."

Beason, the 25th overall pick, is expected to start at either outside linebacker or in Dan Morgan's spot in the middle if Morgan is unable to return from multiple concussions.

Beason's agent, Marty Magid, did not return a phone message Tuesday.

While it's normal for first-round picks to sign near the start of camp, more second-round picks remain unsigned at this juncture than in recent years.

"From what I'm told from other agents, a big part of the reason these second-round contracts have not been signed is the teams are not willing to give escalator clauses to boost up the value of the fourth year of the contract," said Darin Morgan, Jarrett's agent.

Morgan said both sides have made contract offers, but they are not close to a deal.

"We continue to communicate and we'll hopefully get this thing done before training camp starts," Morgan said.

The Panthers have avoided a distracting holdout with Jenkins, who was put on the trading block before the draft in part because of concerns over his weight. Carolina never pulled off a trade, and Jenkins was the only player to skip June's voluntary workouts.

But Paige and Livis Freeman, Jenkins' publicist, both said in e-mail messages Tuesday that Jenkins will report to camp. Freeman added Jenkins is planning to host 50 children in a charity event at training camp on Aug. 3.

"This is the first of many community-geared projects on my list to execute this season," Jenkins said in a statement provided by Freeman.

Jenkins hasn't spoken to reporters since May's minicamp, when he appeared well over his listed weight of 335 pounds.

This week, the Panthers worked out former Tampa Bay tackle Kenyatta Walker, whom Jenkins criticized publicly after a 2003 game.

Hurney said Walker has not been offered a contract.

"We worked him out," Hurney said. "We're going to work a bunch of guys out over the next three days to get ready for camp."

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