Since the NFL players and owners came to terms on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2011, rookie holdouts have become almost nonexistent. Rookie contracts don’t have much to be negotiated anymore, which is why 252 of the 256 players drafted this year have already signed.
But of the four draft picks who haven’t signed their rookie deals, the highest-drafted says he’s not sure if it’s going to happen any time soon.
Browns rookie cornerback Justin Gilbert, the eighth overall pick in this year’s draft, was asked if he will be signed by the start of training camp in late July and answered, “I have no idea,” according to FOX Sports Ohio.
Gilbert said all he knows is that his agent and the Browns are talking.
“They’re still working on it,” he said.
Gilbert didn’t say what issues they’re working on, but when a rookie doesn’t sign promptly under the current CBA, it’s usually about whether or not the contract will include offset language that allows the team to reduce the player’s fully guaranteed pay if the player gets released by the team that drafted him and then signed by another team. Players usually agree to the offset language, but the player drafted immediately before Gilbert, Bucs receiver Mike Evans, was able to partially get around the offset language, and it’s possible that Gilbert is looking for the same deal.
Whatever issues have prevented Gilbert from signing so far, they’ll probably be resolved before camp opens. That’s just how things tend to work out in the world of the new CBA, where training camp holdouts hardly ever happen.