Of the six players the Cowboys drafted in April, not a single one has been signed yet. Should that be a cause for concern? Well, that depends on who you're benchmarking yourself against.
The Bears have signed all 5 of their draft picks, but they didn't have a 1st or 2nd round pick. Closer to home in the NFC East, the Giants have signed five of their seven picks (their 1st and 2nd rounders remain unsigned), the Eagles have signed 10 of 13 (their 1st and 2nd rounders are also unsigned, along with a 5th round wide receiver) and the Redskins have signed all their draft picks with the exception of their first rounder.
Walter Football maintains a list of signings that shows that no team has yet signed a 1st or 2nd round draft pick. At this time of year, that is not unusual. According to Mac's Football Report, 11 teams remain that have yet to sign a single draft pick, and the Cowboys are one of them. Calvin Watkins reports that the Cowboys have yet to start any serious contract talks with any of their picks.
The Cowboys haven't been in much of a hurry to sign their picks in the past, and have been content to sit back and watch the market value develop for the draft picks. This year, it looks like a lot of teams are once again leaning back and waiting for someone else to make the first move. And this time around, the NFL schedule might force the Cowboys' hand somewhat, particularly with their higher draft picks, because the Cowboys play in the Hall of Fame game against the Bengals and both teams therefore start training camp a week earlier than every other NFL team.
For what it's worth, Dez Bryant himself vowed to be under contract when the team kicks off its first practice in the Alamodome:
"That's already understood," Bryant said. "I'm going to be there when camp starts. It won't be a wasted day. As soon as it's time, that first day of practice I'm going to be there - you heard it first right here."
What may make things a little iffy is that Bryant's agent is Eugene Parker, he of the Michael Crabtree holdout fame. The mothership's Josh Ellis quotes Stephen Jones on the Cowboys' relationship with Parker and on signing Bryant early:
"We've always worked fine with Eugene," Jones said of Bryant's agent, Eugene Parker. "It's always important to get guys in. We want him in. He doesn't need to miss anything, but I'd say that about any pick. No pick doesn't need to miss anything."
What doesn't help either is that Bryant is arguably a top ten pick who happened to be drafted 24th, and the lack of a CBA in 2011 also adds an extra layer that needs to be worked through. Stephen Jones acknowledges the challenges and weighs in on the Dez Bryant contract situation:
"We won't have as much to go on,'' executive vice president Stephen Jones said. "We usually have a lot more contracts to go off of. That will make it more challenging.''
"The most difficult one will be Dez, more than likely,'' Jones said. "The rest of them should fall into place.
"The ones (first round) are always the hardest. It never changes. It's more moving parts with a No. 1 pick's contract.''
Todd Archer from the DMN doesn't see any problems getting the deals done by the middle of July, and doesn't expect Dez Bryant to miss more than a practice or two.
All's quiet on the Cowboys' rookie signing front. If no news is good news, then there's no cause for concern, but if this is just the lull before the storm, the Cowboys may be headed for some heavy turbulence.
When do you expect the Cowboys to have their draft picks signed, and do you expect that signing Dez Bryant will become an issue?