Now that the NFL teams have drafted their new crop of 334 players, they have to get down to signing them. Based on what the Dallas Cowboys paid for Russell Maryland, it may be easier than usual.
After Raghib "Rocket" Ismail defected to Canada for a salary averaging $4.6 million a year, Maryland signed for $8.6 million over five years, including a $3 million signing bonus.That's about a third less than last year's first pick, Jeff George, signed for with Indianapolis and sets a standard that had agents wondering what they would do.
"We'll have to start with the second pick," said Bob Woolf, who represents Nos. 4 and 5, linebacker Mike Croel of Nebraska, who went to Atlanta, and cornerback Todd Lyght, who belongs to the Los Angeles Rams.
That may be difficult.
"You like to see a quarterback as No. 1," says Ralph Cindrich. "That reduces it for everybody.
"There's no question that it will have a negative impact on salaries this year. Increases won't be as dramatic. The total compensation will be depressed.
The second pick, UCLA safety Eric Turner (Cleveland) is represented by Leigh Steinberg, who also represents Maryland.
Steinberg now has had three straight No. 1 picks - Troy Aikman of Dallas in 1989 also is his client - as well as Dan McGwire, taken by Seattle with the 16th pick. He was the first quarterback chosen.
"We'll try for a fourpeat next year," quipped Steinberg, who could end up asking more for McGwire than Maryland
Steinberg believes quarterbacks should be removed from the NFL's "slotting system."
The draft wound up at 5:20 p.m. EDT Monday after 17 hours, 17 minutes over two days with the New York Giants making quarterback Larry Wanke of John Carroll the final pick.
Most of Monday was devoted to choosing players who will probably end up in the World League of American Football if they end up anywhere.
Tampa Bay, for example, used a 10th-round pick on backup quarterback Pat O'Hara of Southern California, who spent most of his career either injured or as a holder and threw exactly nine passes in four years.
Ironically, he was chosen over Virginia quarterback Shawn Moore, who led the Cavaliers to the No. 1 ranking for two-thirds of last season but wasn't taken until Denver grabbed him with the sixth pick of the 11th round.
Moore was among the better-known players chosen on the second day.
He sustained a broken hand last season and two of the other name draftees have knee problems - Miami quarterback Craig Erickson, taken by Philadelphia on the fifth round and Michigan safety Tripp Welborne, who went to Minnesota on the seventh.
On the eighth round, Denver chose Nebraska defensive end Kenny Walker, who is deaf. Also drafted were the Cash brothers - tight end Kerry by Indianapolis on Round 5 and wide receiver Keith by Washington on Round 7 - of Texas.
On the ninth round, Indianapolis picked Howard Griffith, a running back from Illinois.