Contract holdouts for NFL rookies appeared to be a thing of the past with the adoption of the league’s new collective bargaining agreement two seasons ago. The new CBA puts a cap on rookie spending and more adequately slots players drafted into a specific range of salary.
However, “offset language” demands from teams drafting players at the top of the draft have become the newest battle that could keep first-round picks from sitting out the start of training camp. According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, the fight for offset language in the contract of Browns’ linebacker Barkevious Mingo continues as Cleveland prepares for rookies to report for the start of camp on Friday.
Mingo is one of three members of the Browns’ draft class that remains unsigned. Third-round pick Leon McFadden and seventh-rounder Armonty Bryant also remain without deals.
Per Cabot, the Browns believe all three will be signed on time. However, with Mingo that could mean the start of camp itself when the full team can take the field on July 25.
Offset language keeps a contract from being fully guaranteed. If a player were to be released prior to their initial four-year contract expiring, the team would only owe the difference between the money remaining on the contract and the amount the player will make for a new team. Players – Mingo included – want the full contract guaranteed.
As we previously reported, the Browns are trying to wait out the process to see what the Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles do with the contracts of Dion Jordan and Lane Johnson.
Offset language remains one of the few items that are negotiable for rookie contracts and they appear to still be a sticking point as many top picks remain unsigned.