Late first-round picks balk at three guaranteed years

The haste with which top-five and top-10 draft picks signed has been one of the more pleasant byproducts of the NFL’s new labor agreement.

But things are becoming a little sticky in the back end of the first round. Teams and agents are at a loggerhead, but it’s not over money — that part is easy. It’s over guarantees.

All contracts in the top 20 picks essentially are for four years fully guaranteed. The Ravens signed No. 27 pick Jimmy Smith earlier this week, however, and fully guaranteed just the first three years.

Other teams picking in that range, like the Eagles (No. 23; OT Danny Watkins) and Chiefs (No. 26; WR Jonathan Baldwin), also are looking to guarantee just three years, league sources said. That’s what’s holding up deals there.

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