POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Jul 26, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 9:34 a.m. HST, Jul 26, 2011
The past week, former Hawaii receiver Kealoha Pilares has been working in his father's taro patch.
"It's not easy," Pilares said. "There's mud and all of that stuff."
With the end of the National Football League's lockout, Pilares is ready for paydirt.
Pilares, the Carolina Panthers' fifth-round pick this year, is scheduled to leave Hawaii today, the first day rookies can sign contracts with NFL teams.
"This is what we've been waiting for," said Pilares, who does not anticipate any snags in contract negotiations. "I've been training every day waiting for the call."
Kenny Zuckerman, agent for former UH receiver Greg Salas, also does not expect any delays in reaching an agreement with the St. Louis Rams. Zuckerman said NFL teams likely will begin negotiations first with free agents not selected in the 2011 draft, "then they'll go up the chain."
Zuckerman said he expects Salas, the Cardinals' fourth-round pick, to report no later than Friday.
Running back Alex Green, selected in the third round by the Green Bay Packers, indicated through his Twitter account that he is ready to report.
"Don't have many clothes to pack ... coming from Hawaii to GBay," Green tweeted.
Three undrafted former Warriors — receiver Rodney Bradley, safety Mana Silva and offensive lineman Laupepa Letuli — are expected to accept training-camp invitations as early as today, Letuli with the Dallas Cowboys, Bradley and Silva with the Baltimore Ravens.
Silva turned down offers from the United Football League, which is on hiatus, and the Arena Football League in the hope of receiving an NFL shot.
Under the newly reached collective bargaining agreement, each team's preseason roster has increased by 10, to 90 players.
The new CBA calls for a cap in which a team can spend no more than $75,000 in total signing bonuses to undrafted free agents this year. In return, the minimum annual salaries increased by $55,000.
A rookie will earn a minimum base salary of $375,000 this year. A player with one year's experience will earn a base of $450,000; with two years of experience, the base will be $525,000.
"It's exciting," Pilares said. "I'm not thinking about the money. I'm thinking about playing. I'm ready to start playing."
Correction: UH receiver Greg Salas was drafted by the St. Louis Rams. An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Salas is with the St. Louis Cardinals.