Griffin Inks Deal, Though Offset Language An Issue In Top NFL Picks' Contracts
Robert Griffin III, the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft, signed this morning with the Redskins, agreeing a four-year deal that "contains a fifth-year option," according to Maske & Jones of the WASHINGTON POST. It is "expected to be worth about $21 million and to be fully guaranteed, with a signing bonus of $14 million" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 7/18). PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio cites a source saying that the deal "contains no offset language," which means Griffin's "fully-guaranteed contract is fully guaranteed" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 7/18). The Griffin signing leaves seven of the top eight draft picks unsigned, and in DC, Mark Maske cited sources as saying that one of the major “sticking points in the negotiations” is teams’ “desire to insert ‘offset’ language into the players’ contracts.” Such language would “protect teams financially if players are released sometime during their initial four-year contracts, which are likely to be fully guaranteed.” If offset language is included, a team’s “financial obligation would be reduced if the player signs with another team, by the amount he earns from the new team.” Sources said that the players’ agents are “resisting the provision.” Maske noted No. 9 draft pick Luke Kuechly’s contract with the Panthers “contains no offset language.” A source said that CAA, which represents Kuechly, Griffin and two other top eight picks, is unlikely to “bend on the offset-language issue for its other top picks after getting Kuechly a deal without the provision.” Maske wrote, “The new system resulted in many more rookies signing contracts with their teams early this offseason. But as NFL teams prepare to open their training camps, there still is some negotiating left to be done." An agent said that the offset-language issue is a “significant obstacle but he doesn’t foresee it preventing many players from signing and reporting to training camp on time” (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 7/17).