Oakland Raiders offensive guard Tony Bergstrom accepts his new jersey (photo by Levi Damien)
As of today, every team has signed every one of their draft picks from the third round or lower... except for the Raiders. They still have not signed third round compensatory pick Tony Bergstrom and fifth round compensatory pick Juron Criner.
Up until this week the sentiment was that there was no rush to get them signed. After all, there is a rookie scale so there isn't much contract details on which they could be stuck. And the Raiders weren't the only team to still have third rounders unsigned Wednesday. Several teams waited until the last minute.
Third rounders signed Wednesday include the Vikings Josh Robinson, Dolphins Olivier Vernon, Colts Dwayne Allen, and Bengals Brandon Thompson. All of their camps begin before the Raiders camp. The only other team who starts camp as late as the Raiders is the Cowboys-the team they play on the Monday Night preseason opener.
With teams not allowed to report to camp more than 15 days prior to their first game, the Rams and Colts will report a day before the Raiders while all others will start between two and three days before the Raiders. That day comes Thursday for most teams and Friday for most everyone else.
So, as for Bergstrom, the Raiders are not waiting any more last minute than any of the four teams listed above.
The odd one is Juron Criner. Every other team has had all their picks below the third round signed for quite some time. The Raiders fourth round pick Miles Burris and fifth round pick Jack Crawford have been signed since June. As have sixth round pick Christo Bilukidi and seventh round pick Nathan Stupar. And yet Criner is still unsigned.
Criner told me at minicamp that he saw himself as a playmaker. He has a high opinion of himself, especially for a guy who was drafted so late, he was pretty much a sixth rounder. We like to assume it was just his slow 40 yard dash time that had him sliding down draft boards. But with his obvious talents, you have to wonder if the reason he hasn't signed his rookie contract is the same reason he fell so far in the draft.
Now, after we all drooled over his skill set in OTA's and minicamp, he may also be reading his own press. Hopefully it isn't a sign of things to come for Criner. But if it turns out it is, this delayed signing will be used as the first example of a red flag. If not, we will have to assume it was unrelated to character.
The late signings of both Bergstrom and Criner is odd and the time is running out for them to sign before camp begins. The team will begin arriving in Napa on Saturday with players reporting for team meetings on Sunday. I still think they will sign before camp begins but it is a bit disconcerting that it has yet to be done.