Negotiations between the Patriots and first-round draft choice Devin McCourty have been slower than anticipated, with the sides unable to strike a deal by Sunday's reporting date for rookies.
The Patriots and McCourty's representatives would not comment on the status of negotiations Sunday night.
One reason for the slowdown seems to be the lack of other first-round signings, as only the Cowboys' Dez Bryant (24th overall) has signed a deal. Because of that, agent Andy Simms can't use other deals as a framework for McCourty's pact.
That factor, coupled with what some agents of high draft choices have said is significant oversight from the NFL Players Association as a result of the looming labor war between owners and players, presumably are the main reasons McCourty, the 27th overall pick, didn't report to Gillette Stadium on Sunday with the team's other rookies.
One source involved in negotiations with a first-round pick from a different team said the NFLPA has advised him to slow negotiations until some other first-round deals are completed, which would provide a better framework to work from.
McCourty and inside linebacker Brandon Spikes (second round) are the Patriots' only unsigned picks.