Slotting Issues Delaying Deal With Trumaine Johnson?

ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 12: Trumaine Johnson #22 of the St. louis Rams participates in a drill during rookie mini camp at the ContinuityX Training Center on May 12, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

The St. Louis Rams added two very talented cornerbacks in the draft this year, giving the team a much-needed infusion of talent at a position that was paper thin last year. Of course, they need to get those two corners signed in order for the depth chart to translate to progress on the field. While Janoris Jenkins may or may not remain unsigned because of a dispute over Lindsay Lohan's former financial adviser, third-round pick Trumaine Johnson has yet to sign because of a far more common circumstance.

The problem stems from some haphazard contracts handed out to third round picks, players selected at the top of the third round, last year, the first year of the new rookie pay slotting system. The Buffalo News reported on Monday that contracts for several of the top players taken in the third round are paying them less than the deals players selected after them received.

The slotting system has a kink in it.

For instance, Panthers defensive tackle Terrell McClain, the first pick in the third round, will make $465,000 this year. Will Rackley, the 12th pick in the third round, will get more than $507,000 from the Jaguars this year.

Naturally, the attempt by agents and teams to resolve the issue is taking some time, for reasons you might expect. Teams want to key off those deals as the model; agents want to get the slotting back in order. Johnson was the second pick of the third round.

The good news is that things may be close. The Bills signed tight end T.J. Graham, the sixth pick in the third round, this week. With that contract resolved, teams and agents can start ironing out deals for the other picks.

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