Cowboys Get Early Jump; Sign 3 Seventh-Round Picks

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IRVING, Texas – Remember when the Cowboys would wait until the day before, sometimes even the day of, training camp to sign their draft picks?

Those days are long gone, evident again Thursday when the Cowboys signed three draft picks before their first NFL practice.

On Thursday, the Cowboys signed a trio of seventh-round picks – Stanford defensive end Ben Gardner, Texas Tech linebacker Will Smith and Oregon cornerback Terrance Mitchell.

That's what the new Collective Bargaining Agreement ensured back in 2011, not only lowering the rookie salaries dramatically, but slotting them in a way that takes out a lot of the negotiating power from the player and agent.

The Cowboys will try to get the two other seventh-round picks – safety Ahmad Dixon and defensive [embedded_ad] tackle Ken Bishop – signed this weekend, and perhaps fifth-rounder Devin Street as well.

The higher picks, such as first-rounder Zack Martin will probably have to wait until June 1 to sign. That's when Miles Austin's $5.5 million cap charge officially comes off the books, despite the fact he signed with the Browns on Thursday.

The Cowboys drafted nine players over the weekend and were allotted a rookie pool of nearly $6 million this season to sign them all.

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