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GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers got some important work done early.

They became the first team in the NFL to sign a first-round draft choice Thursday, inking safety Darnell Savage, the No. 21 pick overall, to a four-year contract with a fifth-year club option.

ESPN reported the completion of the deal first.

Terms were not available, but with the NFL’s rookie wage scale, which attaches a salary-cap number to each slot in the draft, negotiations aren’t very complicated. The two sides usually are working with a non-debatable percentage increase from the previous year, so the negotiations can go quickly.

Packers rookies report for orientation this weekend and several draft picks were expected to have their deals completed before they arrive. On Friday there were multiple reports that the Packers had signed sixth-round cornerback Ka-dar Hollman, sixth-round running back Dexter Williams and seventh-round linebacker Ty Summers.

Any draft pick that doesn’t have his deal done signs a waiver that would protect him financially if he were injured.

The Packers made eight draft picks this year, including two in the first round. Rashan Gary, their first pick at No. 12, will eat up more rookie-cap space than any other pick, but his deal should be done well before training camp starts July 25.

DOUGHERTY: Packers' draft success depends on Darnell Savage

DRAFT BIODarnell Savage Jr.

Typically, third-round picks take the longest because there is room for negotiations. First- and second-round picks get guaranteed salary in addition to a signing bonus, but third-rounders typically just get a signing bonus and there’s flexibility to negotiate over the structure.

The Packers have not had trouble getting their rookies signed before the start of training camp since the rookie wage scale was added in 2011.


Jim Owczarski, Olivia Reiner and Ryan Wood take a step back and examine the needs addressed in the Packers' 2019 NFL Draft. Packers News

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