Will Bills open camp without top draft picks?

The Buffalo Bills kick off their 2009 season when they take the field Saturday morning to start training camp. They play in the Hall of Fame Game, and thus can get off to an early start. However, as of this moment, the team’s top four draft picks — all from the first two rounds — remain unsigned. Of the four, the longest absence could come from top selection Aaron Maybin (11th overall), the defensive end out of Penn State.

The sides only recently began discussing a contract, according to league sources, and any deal likely would take several days to complete. Maybin’s agent, Joel Segal, is very patient and usually willing to wait for other deals on surrounding picks to be done before closing, a tactic that has served him well. That, coupled with the late start to talks and the Bills’ early start to camp, means this one could linger for a little bit.

(Personally, I never got real worked up about guys missing a few days — especially non QBs or WRs — and especially if it was a team that was in early for the HOF game. Just my little aside).

The Bills are further along with their other first-round pick, OL Eric Wood (28th overall), with a possibility — to what degree I can’t fully determine — that something perhaps could be done by tomorrow. As with all of these negotiations, things can change in an instant, for better or worse, so it’s hard to make projections. But there seems to be positive momentum on this one.

I would not surprised if the Bills got their second-round picks — DB Jairus Byrd and OL Andy Levitre — done this weekend, maybe even by tomorrow.

By this point, everyone in the first round has pretty much exchanged initial proposals (although I hear that not much is cooking yet with Percy Harvin and Michael Oher) with teams. But for most teams and agents, this time next week is the target date, and plenty of time remains. I am told things are moving along very well with Tampa Bay and QB Josh Freeman (17th overall), always a good thing for a young passer. Cleveland and Alex Mack (21st overall) also could get something done shortly.

The majority of these deals will come down very close to reporting dates, and if history holds true, a handful more will get done within two or three days after players report.

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