By GEOFF HOBSON
Warrick Talks Smooth:
If the first talks between the Bengals and Peter Warrick are any indication, the club will have their first-round pick signed in time for the July 21 start of training camp. After agents Jim Gould and Norm Nixon spoke for about 30 minutes today via conference call with Bengals executive vice president Katie Blackburn and chief financial officer Bill Scanlon, Gould was upbeat.
"For a first time it went quite well," Gould said. "Judging by that, yes, it should get done in time. They were good, preliminary talks."
Blackburn, Gould's fellow Indian Hill resident she knows from previous negotiations, said she had the same impression.
"We talked framework and ground rules," Blackburn said. "We've worked with Jim before and it was good to get him and Norm on the phone to get it going. They seem committed in getting something done and we're encouraged."
Neither side would divulge specific numbers, but the conversation appeared to touch on three general areas: The makeup of the rookie salary pool, the Deion Sanders rule that covers the 2004 and 2005 seasons that don't have a salary cap yet, and incentives.
The Bengals noted they're not prepared to work off the seven-year, $49 million deal signed by Colts running back Edgerrin James, last year's fourth pick. They argue the Colts were able to give a disproportionate amount of their cap to James because of the death of third-round pick Brandon Burlsworth.
"We don't have an opinion on that, but we see where they're coming from," Gould said.
Nixon joined Gould at Gould's Beverly Hills hotel room in Los Angeles for the discussions. Gould said the sides plan to speak over the phone again next week, but there could be other talks.
"It doesn't always have to be both of us," Gould said. "Norm and I have a great relationship that flows. One of us can also raise some issues and talk."
Gould said the six-year, $36 million deal signed by No. 1 pick Courtney Brown, the Cleveland Browns' defensive end, has virtually no impact.
"We're not looking at other deals," Gould said. "That's why we're not waiting for others to sign. We just want to do what's best for our client."
The agent for right tackle Willie Anderson plans to send a proposal to the Bengals Wednesday morning as well as set up another face-to-face meeting for later in the week. Terry Bolar would like Blackburn to come to Atlanta, but she would prefer to talk with Anderson and Bolar at Spinney Field.
"Terry sounded like he might be willing to come up here," Blackburn said. "We'd like to get it done and move on."