Eli Manning and Robert Gallery signed contracts Thursday, ensuring that the top two picks in the NFL draft will be on the field for the start of training camp workouts.
Manning, the first selection, signed a deal with New York Giants that will guarantee him $20 million over the next five years as part of a $45 million package that could reach $54 million with incentives.
''I was hoping to get it done,'' Manning said. ''I just wanted to get here on time.''
A few hours later, Gallery signed with Oakland. A source familiar with the negotiations, who requested anonymity, said the deal could pay Gallery as much as $18.5 million in guaranteed money and $60 million over the life of the contract. The Raiders did not release details of the contract and would not confirm salary figures.
Those deals were not easily reached.
''It was a very complicated contract,'' said Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi, who began intensive work on the deal Tuesday night with Manning's agent, Tom Condon. ''You always want players in on time. But sometimes that's not possible.
''We're all restricted to a percentage of increases every year. It's a puzzle.''
The puzzle worked out. Manning missed only a players meeting Thursday and will be at practice Friday when the Giants begin workouts.
Gallery, a left tackle, is more likely to start right away because the Raiders are desperate for help on the offensive line. Manning, the latest of the Manning family of quarterbacks, could well start the season on the bench behind Kurt Warner, signed by New York after Kerry Collins was cut for salary-cap reasons.
Like Manning, Gallery also will make it on time for the Raiders.
''For me to do the best job I can and do the things I wanted to do, I had to be here on the first day,'' he said.
Chad Pennington plans to make the first opening-day start of his career in September with or without a new contract.
Pennington's agent, Tom Condon, and the New York Jets are negotiating a new deal for the quarterback. But Pennington has told Condon talks will be shelved until the end of the season if a deal isn't reached by Aug. 31.
''I've made sure it won't be a distraction, that's why I've allowed them to discuss it through August but after that there are no discussions,'' Pennington said. ''As far as I'm concerned, after today I'm not talking about it.''
Pennington is entering the final season of a five-year deal that will pay him a base salary of $4.57 million in 2004.
Lance Briggs, who started 13 games at outside linebacker last season, moved to the middle as the temporary replacement for Pro Bowler Brian Urlacher. He pulled a hamstring Wednesday, and is expected to be out several weeks.
The Bears offered no further information on Urlacher after practicing before several thousand fans at Olivet Nazarene University. A team spokesman said an update on his condition would be released Friday.
''When your star goes out, it makes the rest of the guys stand up a little bit more,'' coach Lovie Smith said. ''We need to get our younger players further along and that's what we'll be able to do right now.''
Smith said second-year man Hunter Hillenmeyer and rookie Jeremy Cain also would get a chance to fill in for Urlacher.
Briggs, a second-year man from Arizona, played middle linebacker in college but not as a rookie.
''It's going to take a little bit for him, but that's why we wanted to get him out there right away,'' Smith said.
Rookie cornerback Dexter Wynn is making a positive impression on the Philadelphia coaching staff.
''It seems like he makes a play every day,'' coach Andy Reid said.
Wynn, a sixth-round pick, is one of two cornerbacks the Eagles selected in this year's draft. After losing Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor to free agency, the Eagles needed to add depth behind Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown.
In the third round, they drafted Matt Ware, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound corner out of UCLA. Three rounds later, they picked Wynn, listed at 5-9, 177.
Both Ware and Wynn enter camp in competition with second-year pro Roderick Hood, who made the team last year as a rookie free agent. Because of his lack of size, Wynn is the fifth corner on the depth chart.
Wynn also is a punt returner. At Colorado State, he became just the second player in Division I-A history to compile more than 1,250 yards on punt and kick returns.
Baltimore cornerback Dale Carter will miss the season because a blood clot in his lung.
''It's quite serious, very serious to the degree that it was life-threatening,'' coach Brian Billick said. ''He is on blood thinners and will be for six months. That will preclude him from playing this year.''
Four-time Pro Bowler Carter expected to be Baltimore's nickel back this season. He joined the Ravens as a free agent, following an 11-year career with stints in Kansas City (1992-98), Denver (1999-2000), Minnesota (2001) and New Orleans (2002-03).
Carter said his illness was discovered after an at-home workout in Houston last month. Pain in his side became so bad he couldn't breathe, so he went to an emergency room.
''The doctors told me I was the luckiest person in the world right now,'' Carter said. ''I didn't think it was that serious. I thank God I'm here today.''
Tennessee came to terms with cornerbacks Rich Gardner and Michael Waddell.
Gardner, a third-round selection, is a former walk-on at Penn State. Waddell was picked in the fourth round out of North Carolina.
The Titans have signed nine of their 13 draft picks.
Punter B.J. Sander and offensive lineman Scott Wells came to terms with Green Bay.
Wells, a four-year starter at Tennessee, agreed to a three-year deal. The seventh-round draft pick fits the Packers' need for a center-guard combination backup.
Sander, a left-footed punter from Ohio State, was taken in the third round. Terms of his contract were not immediately revealed.
Minnesota signed defensive end Darrion Scott and offensive tackle Nat Dorsey.
Scott, taken in the third round out of Ohio State, played inside and outside for the Buckeyes and should provide some valuable versatility. The Vikings are high on Dorsey, a 6-foot-7, 322-pound standout left tackle for Georgia Tech selected in the fourth round.
First-rounder Kenechi Udeze, a defensive end from USC taken at No. 20 overall, and second-rounder Dontarrious Thomas, a linebacker from Auburn, remained unsigned with training camp set to open Friday.
Detroit signed cornerback Keith Smith and linebacker Alex Lewis.
The Lions selected Smith out of McNeese State in the third round and took Lewis out of Wisconsin in the fifth.
Wide receiver Roy Williams, one of Detroit's two first-round draft choices and the seventh overall pick, remains unsigned.
Jacksonville agreed to terms with kicker Josh Scobee, cornerback Chris Thompson and defensive end Bobby McCray.
Scobee, one of three fifth-round picks, was a three-time All-WAC kicker at Louisiana Tech and is expected to compete with Seth Marler and Jeff Chandler for the starting job. Thompson, another fifth-round pick, was drafted out of Nicholls State. McCray was a seventh-round selection from Florida.
Punter Andy Lee and linebacker Richard Seigler agreed to three-year contracts with San Francisco.
Seigler, a fourth-round selection, was a two-time All-Pac-10 linebacker at Oregon State, where he played three seasons for 49ers coach Dennis Erickson.
Lee, a sixth-round draft choice, was a two-time All-Big East punter at Pittsburgh.
Peninsula Clarion ©2013. All Rights Reserved.