July 30, 2005

Brown Signs Five-Year Contract Just In Time

First round pick was technically a holdout but was at first practice of camp

First round draft pick Jammal Brown was technically a camp holdout, the sixth straight for this team, but unlike the previous five top draft picks for the Saints, Brown signed in time to make the first practice.

Brown, his agent Ben Dogra and Saints executive Russ Ball worked around the clock for nearly 48 hours to complete the deal, which Brown signed on Friday, July 29. The deal was finally agreed on in the middle of the night.

The contract is a five-year deal worth up to $11 million. Because of a nearing expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, rookie contracts can only be five years in length maximum, making it more difficult for team to negotiate large signing bonuses. A five-year contract means that more of the signing bonus will be prorated into the first year of the contract's salary cap hit, as opposed to traditional seven-year deal.

The first year of the contract is worth as much as $8.5 million with various bonuses.

Brown was just the third player in the top 20 first round picks to sign, breaking a trend for the Saints. The team had been classically, sometimes dangerously, slow in negotiating deals for top draft picks because they waited for their man to be 'slotted' in by contract figures around his draft spot. Brown, the 13th overall selection, signed at a time when the closest released signing was the 5th overall pick (Carnell Williams, Tampa Bay). Shortly after Brown's contract was announced, the 14th overall pick (Thomas Davis, Carolina) was signed to a five-year deal worth roughly $400,000 less.

The Saints' projected starting right tackle showed up 45 late minutes for the first practice of camp. He missed only a team meeting the previous night and the first weight lifting session that morning.

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