Of the thirty-two first round picks from April's NFL draft, nine remain unsigned. All but one of those rookies is amongst the top twelve picks, making life difficult for teams who were hoping the draft would add a much needed boost after a difficult 2008. For the Seattle Seahawks, breaking the stalemate may not be easy.
The situation is clear. Agents and teams like to use the pick either side of their rookie (in Seattle's case, Tyson Jackson and Mark Sanchez) to set a precedent. The Kansas City Chiefs have been unable to agree terms with Jackson, the third overall choice, and appear to be waiting to see what contract Curry signs.
The Curry camp are trying to use Mark Sanchez's contract ($28m guaranteed) as a benchmark, a sum the Seahawks are reportedly unwilling to pay because they don't see a quarterbacks salary as comparable to that of a linebacker. It doesn't help either that Baltimore's Terrell Suggs just recently signed a deal to make him the highest paid linebacker in the NFL.
The two other defensive players taken in the top ten (Jackson and B.J. Raji) also remain unsigned, further restricting negotiations between both parties. Having missed the first four days of training camp, the Seahawks will be anxious to get Curry involved as soon as possible.
But how can they solve this problem? For starters, they might have to accept the situation they find themselves in.
It's obvious to everyone that the NFL must do something to cap rookie spending. The top picks each year earn ridiculous amounts considering they've never taken a snap in the pro's, making what should be a solution for struggling franchises an extra burden. But until something is done about this teams picking at the top of the draft are left to pay the big bucks.
Seattle may have a point that a QB's salary is not comparable to that of a linebacker, but they have few options if they want Curry in camp as soon as possible. The $28m Mark Sanchez earned from the Jets is similar to the deal signed by Chris Long (2nd overall 2008, $29m guaranteed). Last year's fourth overall pick, Darren McFadden, agreed a deal with Oakland to get $26m guaranteed.
It could be that the St Louis Rams have helped out the Seahawks by getting Jason Smith signed to a deal worth $33m in guarantees. Simply put, it places a cap on what Seattle has to pay. They can enter negotiations with a ceiling at that amount and Curry can't expect to get much more than the $28m signed by Sanchez.
It's certainly not outrageous for Curry's agent to demand a contract in the same ball park.
Here's the reality - Aaron Curry is going to get a deal similar to that signed by Chris Long... minimum. We don't know what Curry's agent is demanding and whether it's ridiculously high demands on his part or Seattle dragging their heels that is causing the stalemate. However, it would suit all parties concerned to sit down, get a deal for $29-$30m guarantees signed and get Curry on the field.
If they can't agree terms soon, it's hard to see how this stalemate will be broken. The Chiefs are waiting tight, Sanchez's contract isn't going to get any smaller. Let's hope for both parties' sake that the Seahawks front office can get Curry signed up as soon as possible.