As the 49ers signed Josh Morgan and Larry Grant, they have continually stated that they expect no problems getting their remaining draft picks into camp. To date, Kentwan Balmer, Chilo Rachal, Reggie Smith and Cody Wallace remain unsigned 9 days before training camp.
Well, we may have somewhat of an explanation, at least in regards to first and second round picks. Tip of the cap to Bleeding Green Nation, for posting a link to John Clayton's blog post about the issue. With only 3 first round picks and 1 second round pick under contract, it is definitely an important issue for the entire league:
On Tuesday, the NFLPA filed a brief seeking a decision of a Special Master. Without getting too complicated, the dispute revolves around the interpretation guaranteed one-time bonuses and the way those guarantees are interpreted within the rookie pool.
Under the rookie pool, base salaries can only increase 25 percent per year, but agents found a loophole in which a draft choice can receive a one-time bonus and guarantee it in the final year of the contract. This particularly affects second-round choices because they sign four-year deals. The problem in this summer's negotiations is that there is no collective bargaining agreement in 2011 so the fourth year of the contract can't be involved in any kind of guarantees.
While it is possible to use the second year as a guarantee, agents don't consider that an option because few teams cut a first- or a second-rounder before that. The NFLPA and the Management Council will present their interpretations and await a decision by the Special Master next week.
The 49ers don't report to camp until the end of next week, so an early week decision should give them time to wrap things up. Clayton specifically mentions the problems would apply mostly to teams like the Redskins who report Sunday the 20th. I'd hope the 49ers have multiple deals in place to be signed that could work in the event of any outcome. I'll definitely keep an eye on this going into next week.