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“Offset” language could be an issue for top eight contracts

Luke Kuechly AP

The new rookie wage scale leaves teams and agents for draft picks few topics about which to haggle.  In 2011, teams made up for the overall lack of money paid out at the top of the draft by giving the first 16 players taken (plus the 20th) fully-guaranteed four-year deals.

While the top 16 players likely will get full guarantees in 2012, a new wrinkle has emerged, according to Len Pasquarelli of the Sports Xchange.  Teams now want to include so-called “offset” language.

Here’s how it works.  If a player has a guaranteed salary of $1 million with offset language and he’s released and signs with a new team for a base salary of $1 million, the first team is off the hook.  With no offset language, the player gets $1 million from the first team and $1 million from the new team.

In other words, he gets to double dip.

None of the first eight players taken in the 2012 draft have signed.  Pasquarelli writes that “dickering over the offset language is believed to be a factor in all eight cases.”

Working against the teams’ arguments as to the top eight is the fact, as a league source tells PFT, the Panthers gave the ninth pick in the draft — linebacker Luke Kuechly (pictured) — a fully-guaranteed contract with no offset language.  So if that’s good enough for No. 9, it should be good enough for the eight taken in front of him.  (Of course, the presence of offset language may be the least of Justin Blackmon’s financial worries as the fifth overall pick, given his alleged 0.24-percent blood alcohol concentration.)

Based on information provided to PFT, the 2012 dividing line between the lack of offset language and the presence of it appears to be the ninth and 10th pick.  Kuechly’s deal lacks offset language; the contract given by the Bills to cornerback Stephon Gilmore appears to contain it.

And so, while the process has gotten considerably easier after the execution of the new CBA, it’s still not as automatic as some would believe — especially at the top of the draft.

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9 Responses to ““Offset” language could be an issue for top eight contracts”
  1. covercorner says: Jun 3, 2012 8:11 PM

    The owners have a new way to gyp the players out of money.

  2. pftstory says: Jun 3, 2012 8:12 PM

    I still dont get this. In the NFL, if one team makes a bad deal with a draft pick every team that picked before them has to suffer with worse terms than that deal. (works the other way too, player makes the bad deal, the other players suffer.)

    If the Panthers are not conderned with the offset, or feel they got something in return for excluding it, why can’t the eight teams before them come to their own conclusions?

  3. DCBlueStar says: Jun 3, 2012 8:17 PM

    Well… I don’t think that’s the case for the Cowboys and Claiborne. Being a Cowboy fan, you know I check in on the news every once in a while.

    The Cowboys have always taken their time to sign their players, and this season they were waiting for Newmans “June 1st” designation cap space to clear up.

    Our draft picks will probably signed by mid June.

  4. ranadicus says: Jun 3, 2012 9:39 PM

    I wonder how long it will take for the players to realize how badly they got hosed in the new CBA and thereafter to dump the clearly inept Demaurice Smith. Then again it’s their own fault to begin with. This is what you get when you vote for the guy who shouts the loudest.

  5. thegreatgabbert says: Jun 3, 2012 9:51 PM

    The extra $1 million is to “offset” moving expenses.

  6. applecool1981 says: Jun 3, 2012 11:38 PM

    This is ridiculous. I understand the whole rookie wage scale as no players should come from college and make as much as Tom Brady without even stepping on the NFL field yet. However, the teams are getting these guys dirt cheap and are actually able to cut them plus in some circumstances be off the hook for the signing bonus if said player decides to continue his career and earn a living with another team. When the shoe is on the other foot, and a player is being underpaid by their rookie contract in comparison to their production, the team will be getting off basically scot-free there too and worse that their moronic fans will be telling the player to honor their contract despite the fact that teams are trying to haggle their way out of them now before the player has even signed.

  7. piemasteruk says: Jun 4, 2012 2:28 AM

    Is it me or are the agents and NFL lawyers just trying to create work for themselves to justify their existence in what should now be a very straightforward process?

  8. soundslikehail says: Jun 4, 2012 3:36 AM

    Yep. I’m now going to manufacture some outrage based on whether I associate more with a nfl owner, or an athelete. My preference will have a political aire, and I will imply that the people onthe other side (of this preposterous argument) are stupid. This is in contrast to my strident, yet equally absurd, emotional reaction to my “side”. A side I have, and never will be on. I am, after all, an avid consumer of football. I will pay for any jersey, ticket, or sports package. I just want my nothing life to have some greater purpose: posting meaningless, unheard comments regarding subject I neither have stake in nor fully understand. I do so with confidence. Anyone need life insurance?

  9. makeham98 says: Jun 4, 2012 8:57 AM

    The rookie pay scale was created through collective bargaining. The veterans wanted more of the money being paid to rookies as much as the owners wanted to end the ridiculous contracts that were out there.

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