Kraft says quick rookie deals are 'business as usual'

May 27, 2010 - 10:01 am

FOXBORO '€” Despite the looming labor uncertainty, Patriots owner Robert Kraft sounded optimistic Thursday afternoon all 12 of the teams'€™ draft choices will be signed by training camp. While holdouts in New England are few and far between '€” in 2004, Benjamin Watson held out until mid-August before coming to terms with the Patriots '€” New England has appeared to get a jump on other teams this spring. It'€™s not even Memorial Day, and they'€™ve already signed two of their picks (third-rounder Taylor Price and sixth-rounder Ted Larsen). Last year, they didn'€™t get their first rookie contract done until June 16. But Kraft says the earlier signings aren'€™t because of the labor situation. '€œNo, we'€™re just trying to do our business,'€ Kraft said of his team. '€œWe'€™re doing business as usual. We'€™re trying to put our team in the best position to be able to compete year-in, year-out. And with the facts we have, we'€™re going about our business in a normal manner. I'€™ll be surprised if we don'€™t have all our players in here for training camp.'€ (For what it'€™s worth: When Kraft was quizzed about the two rookies who have signed, he smiled and said '€œTwo or three?'€ He was stopped by reporters, who asked '€œDo you know something we don'€™t?'€) Kraft's point was echoed by Patriots coach Bill Belichick. "We've always contacted the players and the agents after the draft process is over, about this time, when they start coming to camp," Belichick said. "Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. I don't think I'd read too much into it. I think Floyd [Reese] and Scott [Pioli] in the past have always done that. Sometimes it comes together, sometimes it's a process that takes a little longer and people want to wait to see what everybody else is doing."