Patriots: Why haven’t top draft picks signed their rookie contracts yet?

Patriots QB Mac Jones and OC Josh McDaniels (Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports)
Patriots QB Mac Jones and OC Josh McDaniels (Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports) /

The New England Patriots seemingly struck gold in the 2021 draft, as they nabbed tremendous value with at least their first three selections.

Of course, they netted Mac Jones, who might have the safest floor of any of the incoming rookie quarterbacks, at No. 15 overall after pre-draft rumors pegged the Patriots as a candidate to jump up several picks in order to draft him or another prospect.

No complaints there. On Day 2, their good fortune continued when they traded up for Chrisitan Barmore, who might just be the best DT in this year’s class.

In the third round, the Patriots landed edge rusher Ronnie Perkins, who registered 98 tackles (32 for loss) and 16.5 sacks over three years at Oklahoma.

It remains to be seen what role this trio will play as rookies, but fans are starting to grow concerned that none of them have signed their rookie deals yet.

So, why is this process being dragged out longer than anticipated?

Why haven’t the Patriots’ top draft picks signed their rookie deals yet?

It’d be easy to press the panic button, but let’s hold off on that for now, Patriots fans. After all, if ESPN insider Mike Reiss is as cool as a cucumber, you should be too.

In his weekly “Quick-hit thoughts” column, here’s what Reiss had to say about why the Patriots’ top draft picks have yet to sign their rookie contracts.

"“First-round pick Mac Jones has yet to sign his rookie deal, and in fact, defensive tackle Christian Barmore (second round) and defensive end Ronnie Perkins (third round) also remain unsigned. A cause for concern? Hardly. Sometimes agents prefer to wait to see more contracts finalized before moving forward, and those close to the situation relay that’s the current dynamic in play.”"

As far as Reiss is concerned, Patriots fans should just have a little more patience and understand that these contracts don’t have to be signed and sealed right away.

Depending on how Jones’, Barmore’s and Perkins’ agents operate, it’s quite possible they’re attempting to gauge the market for other rookies at the same positions.

Want another reason to be optimistic? This year’s top four selections — Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance and Kyle Pitts — still haven’t inked their rookie deals. A total of eight first-round picks are waiting to sign their first NFL contract.

To shed some light on the market for second-round players, none of the first six picks (Barmore was the sixth) have signed their deals yet. In terms of third-round picks, 27 (!) players are still waiting to agree to terms with their new teams.

In other words, Patriots fans should relax. These deals will get done in due time.