Add another player to the list of high first-round picks who’s being squeezed to put offset language in his rookie deal.
Per a league source with knowledge of the negotiations, the Jets and cornerback Dee Milliner, the ninth pick in the 2013 draft, are haggling over offset language.
In the grand scheme of things, it shouldn’t be an issue, since very few top-10 picks fail to spend four years with the team that drafted them. But when the time comes to roll up sleeves and justify existences, teams and agents for players taken at the top of round one have decided to make an issue out of so-called offset language.
For the players in the top 10 of the draft, the entire amount of the contract is guaranteed. With offset language in the deal, the team would receive credit for any money the player earns with another team, if he’s cut during the four years of his rookie deal. Without offset language, the player gets the ability to double dip, keeping the full value of the four-year deal if he’s cut along with any other pay received from another team.
In 2011, the only player in the top 10 who avoided offset language was Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. Last year, the first seven players taken (Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Trent Richardson, Matt Kalil, Justin Blackmon, Morris Claiborne, and Mark Barron) avoided offset language. The Dolphins insisted on, and obtained, offset language for quarterback Ryan Tannehill, the eighth overall selection. The Panthers agreed to remove offset language from linebacker Luke Kuechly’s deal at No. 9.
In 2013, the bag in the top 10 has been more mixed. Luke Joeckel (No. 2), Ziggy Ansah (No. 5), and Tavon Austin (No. 8) have avoided offset language. Dion Jordan (No. 3), Lane Johnson (No. 4), and Barkevious Mingo (No. 6) haven’t. Eric Fisher (No. 1), Milliner, and Chance Warmack (No. 10) and their teams (the Chiefs, Jets, and Titans) are pushing and pulling on the issue.
No, it doesn’t mean much. But in an era where there’s little to debate in top-10 deals, it’s providing fuel for possible holdouts and/or acrimony at the outset of the relationship.