Updated: 7-29-06, 3:30 p.m.
JosephGEORGETOWN, Ky. - In what could be a clean sweep of rookies gettintg signed on time, Bengals first-round pick Johnathan Joseph is believed to have agreed in principle to a five-year deal, according to an industry source on Friday night at 10:30 p.m., less than 24 hours before the start of training camp.
Joseph, a cornerback from South Carolina, takes the field with a contract that is reportedly worth $8.2 million and can earn another $2.5 million in escalators. About $5.6 million is guaranteed, mainly through signing bonuses.
Joseph is going to join most, if not all, of his fellow draft picks for the first practice of training camp Saturday night at Georgetown College with
The club has already announced deals for fourth-rounder Domata Peko and seventh-rounders Ethan Kilmer and Bennie Brazell. Separate industry sources outside the club confirmed to Bengals.com Thursday deals for Joseph and sixth-rounder Reggie McNeal. The agent for second-rounder Andrew Whitworth said his client agreed to terms and the agent for third-rounder Ahmad Brooks indicated Friday that he expected a deal in time for camp.
The Bengals don't comment on contracts until signed.
Brooks, the Bengals supplemental pick in the third round out of Virginia, figured to be an easy slot since he shares it with Patriots tight end David Thomas, also the 22nd pick of the third round. Brooks's agent, Greg Williams, said Friday the sides were close. The Thomas deal had been signed earlier in the week with a $640,750 signing bonus with minimum salaries over four years with incentives that can increase the last year's salary to the tender number for that season.
So that leaves only third-rounder Frostee Rucker, a defensive end from USC, unsigned. Fifth-rounder A.J. Nicholson, a linebacker from Florida State, reported to camp.
With middle linebacker Odell Thurman suspended the first four games because of a violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy, he's allowed to practice and play in games before Sept. 4 at the club's discretion. His agent, Safarrah Lawson, had no statement Thursday, saying only his client is ready to put the past behind him and that he's looking forward to practicing this week.
It's up to the discretion of head coach Marvin Lewis.
The agent for Joseph said that Friday is a key day in talks after Jason Chayut agreed to a deal Thursday night. for the 20th pick, Chiefs defensive end Tamba Hali.
The Joseph deal looks to line up right in the slot. ESPN.com reported at No. 23 Bucs guard Davin Joseph agreed to a five-year, $8.2 million deal.
Joseph becomes the Bengals' first top pick to report on time since quarterback Carson Palmer in 2003.
Whitworth, the left tackle from LSU, got a deal sligthly better than the pick before him at No. 55, said agent Steve Colson. Colson wouldn't divulge terms, but said, "There was very little ironing to do."