After a couple of years of pushing and pulling, teams drafting in the top 10 have won the back-and-forth regarding offset language. For the most part.
A quick refresher: Under the rookie wage scale implemented in 2011, the top 20 or so players taken receive fully guaranteed contracts. In the first two years, most of the top nine players managed to have the offset language removed from their deals.
This minor tweak allowed players to double dip, in the unlikely event that they are cut during the first four years of their NFL careers. With offset language in the contract, the former team gets a dollar-for-dollar credit as to any other money the player earns elsewhere, if he’s released.
This year, six of the top nine draft picks have agreed to terms. Five of them, including No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney of the Texans, have agreed to the presence of offset language. One of them — Buccaneeers receiver Mike Evans — managed to get the offset language removed for guaranteed roster bonuses payable early in training camp of the 2015, 2016, and 2017 seasons.
It equates to $575,000 being exempt from the offset obligation in 2015, $1.150 million in 2016, and $1.725 million in 2017.
None of it matters if Evans becomes as good as the Bucs think he’ll be. Which means that, if the teams believe in their scouting process and draft-room decisions, they shouldn’t worry about offset language, since the last thing they’ll be doing is cutting the player during the first four years of his contract.