McClain, Mathews Deals Key To Timely Spiller Signing

We're now a mere eight days away from the start of 2010 Buffalo Bills training camp. We already know of one player - veteran defensive end Aaron Schobel - that won't be reporting to St. John Fisher College next Thursday. Two more players - rookies C.J. Spiller and Torell Troup - are the only remaining unsigned players on the roster, and thus should be the focal point of Bills discussions over the next week (or perhaps beyond).

I've been asked several times over the past few days which rookie deals are most important to getting Troup and, more importantly, Spiller, into camp on time. The operative words there are "on time," because the general slotting principle of rookie signings takes care of which players are most important to creating parameters for Spiller and Troup deals. In order to figure out which players are most important to getting deals in place for Buffalo's two rookies prior to next Thursday, we'll simply take a look at the rookies that are reporting to camp before Spiller and Troup do. Cliff's notes version: it's a virtual certainty that Troup will be signed, and a growing likelihood (approaching certainty) that Spiller will hold out.

We'll start with a look at the 13 rookies that will reporting to their respective training camps before Bills rookies. There are more rookies, but these 13 are particularly relevant to Buffalo's two remaining unsigned draftees.

Rd. # Team Player Pos. Report Date
1 1 St. Louis Rams Sam Bradford QB 7/28 (rookies), 7/30 (vets)
1 7 Cleveland Browns Joe Haden CB 7/23 (rookies), 7/30 (vets)
1 8 Oakland Raiders Rolando McClain LB 7/28 (rookies and vets)
1 9 Buffalo Bills C.J. Spiller RB 7/29 (rookies and vets)
1 12 San Diego Chargers Ryan Mathews RB 7/25 (rookies), 7/30 (vets)
1 13 Philadelphia Eagles Brandon Graham DE 7/26 (rookies), 7/30 (vets)
2 37 Philadelphia Eagles Nate Allen S 7/26 (rookies), 7/30 (vets)
2 38 Cleveland Browns T.J. Ward S 7/23 (rookies), 7/30 (vets)
2 41 Buffalo Bills Torell Troup DT 7/29 (rookies and vets)
2 42 New England Patriots Rob Gronkowski TE 7/25 (rookies), 7/28 (vets)
2 43 Baltimore Ravens Sergio Kindle LB 7/26 (rookies), 7/28 (vets)
2 44 Oakland Raiders Lamarr Houston DT 7/28 (rookies and vets)
2 45 Denver Broncos Zane Beadles OG 7/26 (rookies), 7/31 (vets)

Here are the rest of the 11 rookies (which makes 24 in all) that remain unsigned and play for teams that will report to camp before Buffalo. We're keeping the list to first- and second-round picks, as they're obviously most pertinent to Spiller and Troup.

Rd. # Team Player Pos. Report Date
1 21 Cincinnati Bengals Jermaine Gresham TE 7/28 (rookies and vets)
1 22 Denver Broncos Demaryius Thomas WR 7/26 (rookies), 7/31 (vets)
1 25 Denver Broncos Tim Tebow QB 7/26 (rookies), 7/31 (vets)
1 27 New England Patriots Devin McCourty CB 7/25 (rookies), 7/28 (vets)
2 33 St. Louis Rams Rodger Saffold OT 7/28 (rookies), 7/30 (vets)
2 48 Carolina Panthers Jimmy Clausen QB 7/28 (rookies and vets)
2 53 New England Patriots Jermaine Cunningham LB 7/25 (rookies), 7/28 (vets)
2 54 Cincinnati Bengals Carlos Dunlap DE 7/28 (rookies and vets)
2 57 Baltimore Ravens Terrence Cody DT 7/26 (rookies), 7/28 (vets)
2 59 Cleveland Browns Montario Hardesty RB 7/23 (rookies), 7/30 (vets)
2 62 New England Patriots Brandon Spikes LB 7/25 (rookies), 7/28 (vets)

Finally, in case you're behind the times on tracking which first- and second-round picks have already signed league-wide, you're in luck: that list is a very short one.

Rd. # Team Player Pos. Terms
2 35 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Brian Price DT 4 years, $5.35M, $2.75M G
2 61 New York Jets Vladimir Ducasse OG 4 years, $3.225M, $1.435M G
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