The Patriots got 2nd round draft pick Rob Gronkowski under contract yesterday, while linebacker Brandon Spikes is also reportedly getting closer to reaching a deal.  That leaves just first round draft pick Devin McCourty not under contract, and like Spikes he was absent for the team’s first practice yesterday.

The two sides reportedly haven’t been able to reach an agreement yet, and Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston reports that one reason for the slowdown in negotiations seems to be the lack of other first-round signings, as only the Cowboys’ Dez Bryant (24th overall) has signed a deal.  Reiss explains that because of that, agent Andy Simms can’t use other deals as a framework for McCourty’s contract.

The most interesting note came when Reiss reported that one source involved in negotiations with a first-round pick from a different team said the NFLPA has advised him to slow negotiations until some other first-round deals are completed, which would provide a better framework to work from.

It’s interesting that the NFLPA would advise agents to “slow negotiations”, as obviously deals can’t be completed unless others get done.  It seems like a practice that you would believe the league wouldn’t exactly be pleased about, but it appears that this is something that is going on this year – which along with the current labor situation explains why so many first round picks remain unsigned.

Nevertheless it’s an interesting note I thought I’d point out in the event anyone else hadn’t seen it.  Hopefully they’ll get it worked out and we’ll see McCourty under contract in the not too distant future.