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Dray First Draftee To Sign

Picks should start to ink deals; Williams talks underway


Tight end Jim Dray, the team's seventh-round pick, signed a four-year contract Thursday.

The Cardinals have finally begun to sign draft picks, in a process that should have most if not all of the seven choices to Flagstaff when training camp practices begin July 31.

Seventh-round pick Jim Dray, a tight end, was the first to sign his deal and the first lower-round pick to get a four-year contract now that the Cardinals have lengthened their later-round agreements by a year.

Terms were not announced, but's Adam Caplan reported it was worth $1.84 million, with a signing bonus of $49,000.

Dray is among a large contingent of tight ends fighting to make the roster. Veterans Anthony Becht, Stephen Spach, Dominique Byrd and Ben Patrick are also trying to find spots at a position the Cards figure to keep only three at most.

With the signing, the Cards don't have to make any roster moves yet, but they will have to start releasing players off the roster beginning with the next draft pick signing to remain at the official 80-man limit. Drafted players do not count against the roster until signed, but the Cards have 86 total players right now.

The other lower picks are also expected to sign soon.

General manager Rod Graves said earlier in the week the Cardinals would now be doing four-year contracts for draft picks in the third through seventh rounds, as opposed to the three-year deals they once completed, because that was the trend in the NFL.

Graves also said discussions are underway with first-round draft pick Dan Williams, although they are in the early stages. Williams said he isn't concerned.

"That's a part I am not in control of," Williams said. "All I can do is make sure I am in the best shape possible. I want to be in camp. My plan is to be here July 29 (when rookies report to Tempe), but hey, I am fine. I want to show coach (Ken) Whisenhunt and (defensive line) coach (Ron) Aiken they made a good investment."

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