The waiting game is over for Eli Manning and Robert Gallery. Now, the NFL's top draft picks can strap on the pads and go to work.
No. 1 Manning and No. 2 Gallery signed contracts Thursday, just in time for opening workouts on Friday.
``I was hoping to get it done,'' quarterback Manning said of negotiations with the New York Giants. ``I just wanted to get here on time.''
Gallery, the tackle around whom Oakland hopes to build an offensive line, saw the importance of coming to terms with the Raiders.
``I had to be here on the first day,'' he said.
Manning signed a six-year contract that will guarantee him $20 million. The base package is $45 million. Despite the numbers, he tried to remain focused on football.
``I just left it up to them,'' he said of discussions between the team and agent Tom Condon. ``I just wanted to get here on time. When it came to crunch time, they got it worked out.''
A source familiar with negotiations, who requested anonymity, said Gallery will get as much as $18.5 million in guaranteed money and $60 million over the life of his seven-year deal. The Raiders didn't release details of the contract and wouldn't confirm salary figures.
Gallery was in awe of his new deal.
``Signing your name under those numbers kind of took my breath away,'' he said. ``I've had more debt than I've had transactions in my favor.''
They were the headliners on a day when many draft choices also signed in time for the opening of their training camps.
Tennessee came to terms with cornerbacks Rich Gardner and Michael Waddell.
Gardner, a third-round selection, is a former walk-on at Penn State. Waddell was picked in the fourth round out of North Carolina.
Punter B.J. Sander, offensive lineman Scott Wells and defensive tackle Donnell Washington came to terms with Green Bay.
Wells, a four-year starter at Tennessee, agreed to a three-year deal. The seventh-round draft pick fits the Packers' need for a center-guard combination backup.
Sander, a left-footed punter from Ohio State, and Washington, from Clemson, were taken in the third round. Terms of their contracts were not immediately revealed.
Minnesota signed defensive end Darrion Scott and offensive tackle Nat Dorsey.
Scott, taken in the third round out of Ohio State, played inside and outside for the Buckeyes. Dorsey, a 6-foot-7, 322-pound left tackle from Georgia Tech, was selected in the fourth round.
Detroit signed cornerback Keith Smith and linebacker Alex Lewis.
The Lions selected Smith out of McNeese State in the third round. Lewis, from Wisconsin, was taken in the fifth.
Jacksonville agreed to terms with kicker Josh Scobee, cornerback Chris Thompson, and defensive end Bobby McCray.
Scobee, one of three fifth-round picks, was a three-time All-WAC kicker at Louisiana Tech. Thompson, another fifth-round pick, was drafted out of Nicholls State. McCray was a seventh-round selection from Florida.
Arizona signed guard Nick Leckey, its sixth-round pick out of Kansas State. The Cardinals also came to terms with offensive lineman Everett Lindsay, who has played 136 games with Minnesota, Cleveland and Baltimore since 1993.
Punter Andy Lee and linebacker Richard Seigler agreed to three-year contracts with San Francisco.
Seigler, a fourth-round selection, was a two-time All-Pac-10 linebacker at Oregon State, where he played three seasons for 49ers coach Dennis Erickson.
Lee, a sixth-round draft choice, was a two-time All-Big East punter at Pittsburgh.
Dallas agreed to a six-year deal with running back Julius Jones, its top pick.
The former Notre Dame star, a second-round selection, was expected to be the starter until free agent Eddie George was signed last week. They will compete for the job in training camp.
Dallas also signed cornerback Bruce Thornton, a fourth-round pick from Georgia.
Chad Pennington plans to make the first opening-day start of his career in September _ with or without a new contract from the New York Jets. He said there will be no negotiations after Aug. 31.
``I've made sure it won't be a distraction,'' he said. ``As far as I'm concerned, after today I'm not talking about it.''
Pennington is entering the final season of a five-year deal that will pay him a base salary of $4.57 million in 2004.
Lance Briggs, who started 13 games at outside linebacker for the Bears last season, moved to the middle as the temporary replacement for Pro Bowler Brian Urlacher. Urlacher pulled a hamstring Wednesday, and is expected to be out several weeks.
Marshall Faulk, bothered by injuries for the past few years, is healthy again. But he acknowledges that he doesn't know how long his body, and ultimately his career, will last.
``This is probably the first year I've thought about it like 'Man, if the body isn't acting right, what do I do?''' the 31-year-old St. Louis Rams running back said. ``Do I fight through it or do I not play? That's something I'm going to have to evaluate after the season.''
Baltimore cornerback Dale Carter will miss the season because a blood clot in his lung.
``It's quite serious, very serious to the degree that it was life-threatening,'' coach Brian Billick said.
Carter, a four-time Pro Bowler, is expected to be the Ravens' nickel back this season, his 12th in the NFL. He doesn't feel unfortunate to be missing the season.
``The doctors told me I was the luckiest person in the world right now,'' Carter said. ``I thank God I'm here today.''