One benefit of the lockout and the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and its aftermath is that for 2011, at least, there aren’t any protracted holdouts when it comes to signing contracts. The Kansas City Chiefs signed their #1 draft choice, wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin, and ten other veteran players on Friday as they opened up training camp in St. Joseph, MO.
Baldwin, out of the University of Pittsburgh, signed a four-year contract with an option year added, as laid out by the new CBA. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Baldwin joined his teammates on the practice field Friday afternoon for the team’s first workout.
Baldwin’s signing leaves only third-round pick, LB Justin Houston, unsigned.
In other news, the club also announced on Friday that they signed eight unrestricted free agents: RB Jackie Battle, WR Steve Breaston, WR Terrance Copper, CB Travis Daniels, S Jon McGraw, T Ryan O’Callaghan, TE Leonard Pope and C Casey Wiegmann.
In addition, FB Mike Cox signed his restricted free agent tender and S Reshard Langford signed his exclusive rights free agent tender.
Under the terms of the new CBA (a phrase you’ll hear a lot this summer), none of the veteran signees will be allowed to practice with the club until the new league calendar year begins on August 4th.
Training Camp Opens
The weirdest off-season in memory came to an end Friday afternoon for the Chiefs when they marched out to the practice field for the first time and took the first step of their 2011 defense of their AFC West title.
Well, the fact that the Chiefs only had 61 players at practice – none of them free agents – means that maybe the weird off-season will carry on for another week? Coaches who are used to hitting the ground running (literally) with pads, helmets and hard practices in the past have to change their mindset now.
Clubs can’t practice twice a day now and they can’t put full pads on players until Sunday. For coaches like Chiefs Head Coach, Todd Haley, who is famous for his demand that players stay in shape and who won’t let them touch the practice field until they pass his conditioning test, it’s been a little strange so far.
“This is a different situation than anybody has ever been through,” Haley told reporters on Friday. “We’re just trying to get it right and there is going to be a little heavier emphasis on the lifting and conditioning aspect of this with our team right now, but with evaluations going on at all times. When we feel comfortable about adding football to it, that’s what we’re going to do.”
The Chiefs will continue camp on Saturday, but announced that practice time has been moved up one-half hour and will begin at 3:00 p.m. The practice is scheduled to be held outdoors and is open to the public. For updated information, the club suggests you check training camp information on their web site here.
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