Fight expected over offsets in Dion Jordan deal


At a time when few impediments exist to negotiating rookie contracts, the Dolphins are expected to once again dig in their heels at the top of round one.

Last year, the Dolphins stubbornly refused to drop offset language from the contract eventually signed by quarterback Ryan Tannenhill, the eighth overall pick in the draft.  Miami won the stare down even though the next player taken, Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly at No. 9, got a fully-guaranteed rookie contract without offset language.

This year, the Dolphins traded up from No. 12 to No. 3, selecting defensive end Dion Jordan.  At No. 12, insisting on offset language would have been a no-brainer; at No. 3, it’s presumed that the player will get the full amount of his rookie deal even if he’s cut and signs with another team.

But the Dolphins have shown no inclination to let a player double dip.  The contract given to free-agent receiver Mike Wallace, for example, includes offset language for his guaranteed money.  Even though Wallace had all the leverage in the negotiations aimed at making the Dolphins better, selling tickets, and erasing the perception that players choose not to go to Miami.

Still, it’s far more common for veteran players to have offset language in their deals.  At No. 3, it’s hard to argue that the guaranteed money on a contract made dramatically lower as a result of the 2011 rookie wage scale should be reduced if the player is released and gets a job elsewhere.

The Dolphins likely will dig in because they can.  And it’s hard for a player, who in the months after being selected can’t comprehend the possibility of being a bust, insisting on a term that will provide him with protection only if he is.  It’s highly unlikely that the Dolphins would cut Jordan before his four-year deal expires; from Jordan’s perspective, the possibility is nearly inconceivable.

If that ends up being the last issue keeping Jordan from agreeing to terms and Jordan wants to get to training camp so that his potential can start to become production, look for Jordan to do at No. 3 the same thing Tannehill did in 2012 at No. 8.

49 responses to “Fight expected over offsets in Dion Jordan deal

  1. How does it work again if I don’t sign and enter the draft next year? Oh that’s right, what does it matter to you cause I won’t be playing for your team in that scenario. How much do you want to push for that to happen?

  2. They don’t have to give in now. He can’t even attend OTAs because of him still being at Oregon, and he’s not ready to practice because of the shoulder surgery. Miami will hold their ground, and they should.

  3. obviously, they don’t trust their own judgement. If he refuses to sign, I think he becomes a free agent and can sign with anybody and the dolphins have punted a 1st round, #3 draft pick for very little money because if he is a bust, how much are others going to pay him that will get offset???

  4. I’ve still yet to hear a compelling argument as to why a player should be paid twice. If that player signs with another team for less money the original team would still pay the difference. If signed for more, why should the original team owe anything? (alimony stops after remarriage most places, right?)

  5. Agents will fight this just to show they’re doing something to earn their money. In reality, it doesn’t cost the player anything…just ensures they don’t essentially get rewarded if they bust and get cut, but another team gives them a chance.

    Miami is wise to pursue this course. It just makes sense. But, again, agents want any fight they can find to prove they are “needed” by the players.

  6. Trivial! The rookie salaries aren’t outrageous anymore. For Miami ‘ to love their guy’ and trade up only to be prunes ensuring that they can recoup pennies (for them) if he doesn’t work out just exemplifies why they are always behind NE for the East division.

  7. If you refuse to sign with my team you lose 1 year of salary you’re never going to get back. I don’t care how good you are or think you’re going to be, that’s a few million you can’t make up. If you care to re-enter the draft..good luck. You can’t go back to school, and you’re a year from playing competitive football and no one knows what physical shape you’re in. Add to that every team in the league thinks you’re a petulant diva, you’re going undrafted. No one is that dumb to not sign eventually…except thestrategyexpert.

  8. The player is not going to lose a year’s income in a profession that isn’t that long to begin with. The player will sign. If his agent is too stupid to advise the player to sign, the player’s parents will see the light.

    The player has nothing to lose – unless they know they can’t play in the NFL…

  9. That’s right because going back to school when you could have possibly been a high draft pick always works out for the player. Look at Matt Barkley, and Leinart…. Oh wait.

  10. If the Dolphins are wrong with the 3rd pick, they deserve to suffer the consequences. And of they are so worried about the offset language, that doesn’t say much bout their confidence in their picks.

  11. Dolphins can dig their heels in & outlast the rookie b/c unless he comes from a well off family he’s going to likely be living off his mom & dad until he signs. Plus now w/the new CBA once mandatory training camp starts he’ll be fined something like $38K per day that he misses. Until he signs that’s a lot of money

  12. The Miami Dolphins will include offset language in their contract offer to Dion Jordan because it is the smart thing to do.

    Dion Jordan and his agent will sign said contract because it is the smart thing to do.

  13. This is about Dawn Aponte trying to make a name for herself as a hardline negotiator as she is seen by many as a candidate as the first female GM in the NFL and that’s it. End of story! NEXT!

  14. Having no Offset makes the decision to cut a player harder. Any agent worth anything would insist their contracts include no offset language. Any NFL management team worth anything will insist contracts contain offset….in short it’s just two groups trying to protect their business interest in a business negotiation….Not sure why people are on here calling either side greedy.

  15. This has nothing to do with their confidence in their ability to evaluate players. It’s called insurance. I have confidence in my ability to drive…. i’m still getting car insurance.

  16. I have a “compelling” reason for ya. players are required to bide by their contracts and follow team rules and conditions and yet they can be cut. at any time. for any reason. not just for lack of performance. if a gm is an idiot and overpays…. screws his cap, players become casualties, even when their performance doesn’t deserve getting cut.

    am I supposed to care about the billionaires old boy club or the players that put their lives, yes lives, on the line to entertain us.

    A players career can end on any given play. Every single year, there are players that suffer career ending injuries. the list of players on the concussion lawsuit is ridiculous. thaat shouldn’t make us lose sight of the fact that there are plenty who can barely maintain Normal lives.

    name me another profession, where you are signed to a contract with annual terms, that you have no legal ability to change during term, but the company can flat fire you, with absolutely no reason. you can’t.

    even MLB and NBA contracts are guaranteed.

    if the Phins are so enamored with Jordan that they move UP to number three to get him, then minimally give him what the slotting is for a number three pick. As someone else pointed out, if he is so bad that they are going to cut him in his four year guarantee term, the reality is, any team that signs him isn’t going to do it for much more than the minimum anyways.

    Which means that the Phins are willing to cause friction with a new player, appear cheap to other players and risk not having the first round pick for a full training camp over a few hundred thousand.

    how’s that for compelling?

  17. I wouldn’t sign until the last second if they wanna play hard ball and lets see who blinks first and trust me the dolphins will fold. They spent a good deal on that pick. They could not afford to let that to happen and the fans will get annoyed they are being cheap to a top five pick who isn’t getting 30 million up front anymore so its not like they are risking their future cap down the road compared to years past.

  18. From what I’ve read, Jordan will get a $13.3M signing bonus up front. That’s around $10M more in salary than I made during my working life and I’m living pretty well.

    Dawn Aponte plays hardball. That’s why the Dolphins have been able to turn the Parcells era cap nightmare around.

  19. esracerx46:

    Ok you have sold me, you really drove a hard bargain and I got super pissed that you were trying to take advantage of me but ok sign me up however you want. Maybe I’ll just secretly try to get cut ASAP and then let some other team pick me up on the Wire. That should make my new team stronger since they can have me without giving up a pick, so that’s better for me and I’ll have the satisfaction of really sticking it to the Man that wanted so bad to get his way. I can’t wait to get on the new team that loves me and takes me seriously. But Miami is just not the place for me. Ok where does my signature go now?

  20. This shows you just how little faith Dawn Aponte has in Jeff Ireland’s ability to pick quality starters. Maybe she should be GM. She couldn’t do any worse.

  21. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m entirely against offset clauses in rookie contracts, and it has nothing to do with protecting the rookie. It has everything to do with not separating risky behavior and the potential costs of those risks. The new rookie wage structure already dramatically reduces the financial risk of picking a questionable player too high. Because of that, we see more players with red flags going higher in the draft than they typically would.

    Including offset language in the contracts reduces the cost of bad choices even more. More unmotivated players and players that just can’t stay out of trouble are getting drafted, and drafted much higher than they otherwise would be. Players with less hype and less perceived upside (but with much better work ethics and characters) get drafted lower or not at all…which makes it much harder for them to make a roster. If an undrafted/low-round pick is seen as being even remotely the same as someone drafted higher, coaches will almost always go with the higher drafted player. They do so because the higher drafted player has more guaranteed money and because they don’t want to admit (to others or themselves) that they got their picks so wrong.

    The result: we’re likely to end up with more Vernon Gholstons and fewer Wes Welkers. That means the quality of the league will be decreased, and we’ll keep being charged more and get less in return.

    Just like any other business, the only way to ensure the best possible outcome is to force people or companies to pay the price for their mistakes. You want to draft a player with a bunch of red flags and a lot of perceived upside? Go for it, but if you’re wrong it’ll cost you.

  22. Every team already has protection from their picks being a bust. It’s called the rookie wage scale. The reason for the wage scale was to not have so much money tied up in unproven players that could be a bust. Talk about double dipping. The dolphins are the ones double dipping to protect from their pick. 5 years ago, his signing bonus alone would have been more than his entire contract today. It’s been reduced to a rookie wage scale and now the dolphins want it even lower off he’s not as good as they thought. Baseball and NBA players make way more than football players AND their contracts are guaranteed. NFL owners have a great thing going…for themselves.

  23. I bet these same posters decrying the Dolphins wise business stance as trivial penny pinching, are the same ones who say they “they spent to much in free agent pick ups”.

    I suggest you concern yourself with your own favorite teams lack of good business sense if they’re not doing offset language. Maybe that’s why they’re unable to spend anything on free agents to improve their sorry team.

    It seems it’s only troll fans of other teams that seem to have issue with it.

  24. It’s happened with Michael Crabtree. He held out on his rookie deal for like 8 games.when training camp starts, there is a drop dead date that the Fins can no longer trade his rights. Then if he holds out into week 10, he loses a NFL credit year and no money. If he hold out all season, he can renter the draft. This is why the Dolphins suck. From top down. Their owner flew out to get Harbaugh, and young Jed out bid him. Have a nice flight home by your self with your saved money. Loser

  25. So, if Jordan is a bust, Ross is going to use some of the money he saved from the offset language to improve his stadium with his own money instead of trying to rake taxpayers over the coals, right?

  26. There’s two ways to look at it. The first is, Jordan was picked much higher than projected, and he should just take the extra eight million that he gets by going third instead of eighth or later.

    The second is, the Dolphins gave up a first and second for him, so if Jordan starts having talks with, say, the Montreal Alouettes, that might get the Dolphins to see the light.

    Yeah, I don’t see #2 as very realistic, either….

  27. Smart move by the Dolphins to include offset language. This keeps a young player in check to work hard and perform. It grooms discipline and commitment.

    Miami has all the leverage here due to Jordan’s previous injury. Offset language for a rookie contract is something the NFL should make mandatory anyway.

  28. If players demand guarenteed money than teams have the right for offset language, its a two way street that they both have to play on…..

  29. Nobody expected Jordan to go as high as #3. He should just take the windfall of the extra $8 million or so that comes with the three slot instead of where he was projected to go (eighth or later).

  30. He better sign.

    If you get drafted by the Dolphins expect very shrewd negotiations.

    When Jake Long was signed first overall it was the first time in a long time that the first overall pick didn’t sign for more than last years first overall pick. With Tannehill they avoided offset language when the next player got it.

    The Dolphins aren’t interested in bending to agents.

    Dion Jordan has to understand that there will be no offset language in his contract. That is a fact.

  31. The new rookie wage scale is still in its infancy. Yet the mouth breathers who comment on this site dance in jubilee at the prospect of a single player getting squeezed by a billionaire without fully comprehending the details of the new rookie terrain.

    This is called living in The Bubble. An affliction unique to the uneducated, mostly white, lower middle class poor who weigh in on dozens of issues in our society they know little to nothing about.

  32. They traded up to the 3rd overall pick and their concern is him getting extra money from a team when they cut him? It may be hard for some younger people to believe, but this actually used to be a respectable franchise.

  33. thestrategyexpert says:

    Ok you have sold me, you really drove a hard bargain and I got super pissed that you were trying to take advantage of me but ok sign me up however you want. Maybe I’ll just secretly try to get cut ASAP and then let some other team pick me up on the Wire. That should make my new team stronger since they can have me without giving up a pick, so that’s better for me and I’ll have the satisfaction of really sticking it to the Man that wanted so bad to get his way. I can’t wait to get on the new team that loves me and takes me seriously. But Miami is just not the place for me. Ok where does my signature go now?


    What does this even mean? I don’t see how this is relevant to anything here. As they say in Billy Madison, “At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points.”

    Do you really think one player- a rookie for that sake- can outlast an NFL team in a holdout? Enlighten me as to when this has EVER happened with a rookie or non-rookie. Crabtree? No. JaMarcus Russell? Nope. T.O.? No way/ MJD? No even close. The list goes on and on.

  34. @spideysdog,
    Not even close. You gave reasons that have nothing to do with “why a player should be paid twice”. Your last paragraph lists a PR reason to just pay him but not why any player DESERVES to be paid TWICE. It’s not about getting cut early or not getting paid at all. What we are talking about is money paid. If cut, the player still gets that money whether he signs with a new team or not (or the offset argument would not exist). If he signs with a team for a lesser amount, the original team would still pay the difference (with offset) so he would not be out any money. If a team signs him for more than he would have made under the old contract he is better off financially so why does the original team need to keep paying him?

  35. rondayn33 and esracerx46:

    Pardon me, but I made a VERY important post immediately after my first post that NEITHER of you guys saw because it was deleted. It was integral to my point. I represented that I was speaking in a mock way, I’m not the player and I’m not talking to the team, I’m playing for pretend from the perspective of a disgruntled player to simply illustrate what could happen if you use this tactic on the the wrong guy!

    I stipulated that this guy that I’m playing the role of declares to the team in advance that he does NOT care about money over principles and he is well aware he will lose more money and you didn’t get to see that and it’s unfair for you to think my concept case doesn’t hold water. You didn’t listen to my case because you weren’t allowed to hear it!

    And the point is, if you followed the logic of the negotiating strategy, the result is going to be the team caving, that was the brilliance behind my chosen tactics in this hypothetical!! And I nailed it!

  36. I would laugh hard if Jordan sat out the year, re-entered the draft again, and was selected again by Miami.

  37. thestrategyexpert says: May 27, 2013 7:45 PM

    How does it work again if I don’t sign and enter the draft next year?
    It works out that you lose a year of being paid, you’re one year further from becoming a FA, and the odds are against you’re being picked as highly as you were the year before and, subsequently, the team picking you having as much money allocated for your slot to sign you. On top of that, you’ll probably lose any chance you would get offset language included.

    @spideysdog: Far from compelling. It’s not like the players can’t afford insurance if they’re worried about getting injured on their job.

    @vltrophy14: IIRC, a player can’t be fined unless they’re under contract.

  38. thestrategyexpert says: May 28, 2013 12:41 PM

    …I stipulated that this guy that I’m playing the role of declares to the team in advance that he does NOT care about money over principles and he is well aware he will lose more money….
    Possible, but what exactly is the principle the player is supposedly fighting for? The right to be paid regardless of whether or not he produces on the field?

  39. Not guaranteeing a rookie contract requires players to keep fit and get their noses in the playbook see Russell, JeMarcus.

  40. If he plays well he will be paid well. If he gets to Tom Brady he will be paid exceptionally well.

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