This year, the team could try to get their seven-rookie class signed sooner. By designating cornerback Terence Newman a June 1 cut in March, they will get $6 million more salary cap space after that date. Some of the money will go toward their rookie pool.
There are a couple of reasons for expediting the talks, if they choose to do so. First, rookie contracts are slotted more than ever under the new collective bargaining agreement. That means there should be less hesitation to set the market for first-round contracts.
Cornerback Morris Claiborne would figure to get a deal in the range of 2011 sixth overall pick Julio Jones' $16 million contract with the Falcons.
Second, teams are now permitted to hold specified workouts with rookies five days before the entire roster reports to training camp. There's more incentive for draft picks to get on the field as soon as possible.