SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- While his San Francisco 49ers teammates reported for training camp Thursday afternoon, No. 3 overall pick Solomon Thomas continued his long-running game of hurry-up-and-wait as his representatives continue to hammer out a contract.
Thomas missed the entire offseason program save for the rookie minicamp because of league rules that don't allow rookies to join their teams until their respective schools have finished their academic year. Because Stanford didn't finish until mid-June, Thomas was unable to participate in organized team activities and the final full-squad minicamp.
There are no such restrictions on Thomas now, and his absence at this point is solely a function of the business side of the NFL.
On Thursday, 49ers general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan both expressed optimism that a deal will get done before the team's first practice Friday, but Lynch also offered a bit of frustration.
"I'm concerned right now," Lynch said. "I wish this were done. I think it should be done, you know? I'm disappointed with myself in a certain way that it's not."
Rookie holdouts have become less common under the new salary scale that came with the new collective bargaining agreement in 2011. But they do happen, usually with quibbling over offset language in the contract or, in the case of San Diego Chargers' Joey Bosa last year, a combination of offset language and the time of payment for the signing bonus.
Bosa, who like Thomas was the No. 3 pick in his draft, held out for about a month last year before finally signing on Aug. 29. For their part, the 49ers aren't expecting this to turn into some sort of lengthy holdout. While Thomas was not at Levi's Stadium for reporting day Thursday and missed the team's conditioning test, he hasn't yet missed a practice.
"We're still working on that," Lynch said. "There's been a lot of productive conversations here in the last couple days. Just left some of those and we're hopeful that we can get this done in the necessary time. I'm aware from experience as a player and we all are in the business of football that deadlines typically get things done. We're drawing close to that and hopeful that we can continue to make progress and tie this thing up so Solomon can be here with his teammates."
CAA Football, the same company that handled Bosa's negotiations and represents Niners guard Joshua Garnett, represents Thomas. Garnett also went to Stanford and was a first-round pick a year ago. He signed on the eve of training camp and missed no practice time.
As it stands, Thomas is one of three first-round picks yet to sign a rookie contract. Tennessee Titans receiver Corey Davis and Oakland Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley are also awaiting deals. Under the league's slotted system, Thomas is in line for a four-year contract worth a little more than $28 million with a signing bonus of around $18.6 million.
While a missed practice or two might not seem like a big deal, that Thomas had to miss so much time in the spring makes getting him in the fold sooner than later even more of a priority. That's especially true for a defense that figures to count on Thomas to make an impact right away given his draft position.
"It all adds up each day," Shanahan said. "You want him there right away. I'm pretty confident that we will get it done but it is part of the business. It's something that you have got to deal with a little bit every year. It doesn't always happen, but I think everyone who has been in the business has been through it and we totally understand it. I think Solomon wants to be here as bad as anyone, I know we want him here as bad as anyone and I'm confident we'll get it done. We can't worry about it too much. I think it will end up being all right."