The Cowboys waited until June to start signing draft picks, and they now may have to wait until August to get the last member of the incoming class signed.
Cornerback Morris Claiborne, the sixth overall pick in the 2012 draft, has yet to agree to terms. Agent Bus Cook tells Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com that Cook doesn’t know whether a deal will be done before training camp opens on July 25.
“I have no idea, don’t know,” Cook said. “I don’t know. We’ll see.”
Cook declined to delve into the specifics. It widely is believed that, for most if not all of the first eight picks (none of whom are signed), the question of whether their fully-guaranteed contracts will include offset language provides the primary stumbling block.
Last month, Cowboys executive V.P. Stephen Jones acknowledged that the offset language is the culprit. That’s probably what is holding everybody up, because the money is the money,” Jones said, via Watkins. “I think everyone wants to be consistent at the end of the day. I think that is what is holding everything up, see what is going to be the flavor of the day.”
The teams believe that, if the player is cut before his four-year deal expires, and if he gets another job elsewhere, anything he makes with a new team should reduce what he’s owed under his fully-guaranteed contract. The players (or, more accurately, their agents) believe that the compensation has changed so dramatically at the top of the draft under the new labor deal that the teams should be willing to assume the entire financial risk arising from what ultimately would be an admission that they made a mistake by taking the player at the top of the draft.
It’s a given that the first 16 players taken will receive fully-guaranteed four-year deals. Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly, the ninth overall pick, avoided the offset language. The eight players taken before him want that same term — especially since four of them are represented by CAA, the same firm that represents Kuechly.
As to the non-CAA players in the top eight, like Claiborne, there’s a very good chance that the agents are waiting to see what happens with the quartet of CAA clients.