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Why are two members of the Patriots’ draft class still unsigned?

Related: 2021 Patriots first-rounder Mac Jones signs rookie contract

2021 NFL Draft - Red Carpet Photo by David Dermer-Pool/Getty Images

The New England Patriots will hold their first training camp practice in exactly two weeks, hitting the fields behind Gillette Stadium on July 28. At that point, players will already have gone through the reporting procedure: veterans will traditionally arrive in Foxborough on the eve of camp, with rookies and recovering players checking in three days earlier.

Among that second group are draft picks Christian Barmore and Ronnie Perkins. While in the same boat as their fellow first-year players in terms of inexperience at the NFL level, they are in a somewhat different situation at the moment nonetheless.

After all, Barmore and Perkins have yet to sign their rookie contracts with the Patriots.

Six of New England’s eight selections in this year’s draft have already done so. First-round quarterback Mac Jones was the latest addition to this group when he signed his rookie deal last week, joining Day 3 selections Rhamondre Stevenson, Cameron McGrone, Joshuah Bledsoe, William Sherman and Tre Nixon.

The six youngsters are therefore expected to report to training camp in time. Barmore and Perkins, on the other hand, could wait to join their teammates until officially signed by the Patriots.

So, what’s the holdup?

That question is obviously impossible to answer accurately by those not involved in the negotiations. However, some educated guesses can be made. Patriots salary cap expert Miguel Benzan did just that last month, with some comparatively minor contract details as the most likely areas of concern in his opinion:

Issues like these are actually not all that uncommon in the NFL.

While the rookie wage scale introduced as part of the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement does set the parameters for first-year player contracts, it does not govern every aspect of those deals. Accordingly, there is some room for negotiation between teams and player representatives (which is precisely why some players take longer to be signed than others).

As far as Barmore’s contract is concerned, the Year 3 salary guarantees are not set in stone. That said, his agent will likely try to get the Patriots to give him a number no smaller than the one Yetur Gross-Matos, the 38th overall selection a year ago, received. As Miguel points out, Gross-Matos’ guaranteed figure was not quite 8 percent of his total salary last year: $100,000 out of his $1.26 million salary were guaranteed.

When it comes to Perkins, the third-year salary appears to be the issue. With base salaries not set in stone despite the rookie wage scale, New England could theoretically give him less than the maximum $1.1 million mentioned above. Third-rounders are different compared to players picked in the other six rounds in this regard; those are traditionally either getting the maximum (first- and second-rounders) or the minimum salary each year.

That has led to some wiggle room, and it has created a setting in which third-round picks are among the slowest to be signed each year.

So, where do the Patriots and their two Day 2 selections go from here? That remains to be seen, but two weeks is more than enough time in the NFL to figure the remaining issues out and ensure that both Barmore and Perkins will report to training camp on time.