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New Rule For Unsigned Draft Picks

In years past, the biggest question mark leading up to the start of free agency has been the chances of getting all draft picks signed and into camp on time.

Now, it seems to be a little anticlimactic.

Not only is veteran free agency dominating the talks right now, but new CBA rules this year will allow the unsigned rookies to start practicing when camp begins. Under the same guidelines that allowed draft picks to participate in mini-camps and OTA's, they will be covered under enough insurance to practice.

However, don't expect the Cowboys to wait too long to sign these players, including first-round pick Tyron Smith, who might be the starting left tackle when camp starts on Thursday, if Doug Free has not re-signed with the Cowboys by then.

And then think about a guy like Bruce Carter, the second-round pick who was drafted with an ACL injury from last November. It's likely Carter and his agent will want him under contract before he returns to the field. Don't expect Carter to start practicing with the club right away, especially since he hasn't even worked much with the athletic training staff. Carter will probably work his way into practice over the next couple of weeks, if not longer.

But with everything else going a million times a minute this week, at least the pressure to sign them all isn't exactly the same. Then again, that might just be the exact reason it gets done quicker than usual.    

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