Whispers emerge of collusion over offset language

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Of the teams that used the first 10 picks in the draft, three struck deals without offset language in the fully-guaranteed contracts.  Since then, three teams have negotiated top-10 contracts with offset language.

Four teams are left — the Chiefs at No. 1 (Eric Fisher), the Cardinals at No. 7 (Jonathan Cooper), the Jets at No. 9 (Dee Milliner), and the Titans at No. 10 (Chance Warmack).

Three of them reportedly are pushing for offset language.  The Cardinals, who at last check hadn’t engaged Cooper in serious talks, could be.

Regardless, the situation has caused some to wonder whether there’s coordination among the teams on the offset issue.  And if there’s coordination, it means there’s collusion.

As one league source opined to PFT, “There’s no doubt they are all talking.”

Some mistakenly believe that collusion exists only if all 32 teams get the same memo and act on it the same way.  But collusion doesn’t require unanimity; if two or more teams are comparing notes and coordinating positions, collusion is occurring.

It has seemed at times over the past few years that collusion possibly has occurred, apart from the bizarre decision to penalize the Cowboys and Redskins for not colluding in the uncapped year of 2010.  The restricted free agency market has dried up.  The unrestricted free agency market softened dramatically this year, with only a handful of teams doling out big contracts.

Again, the decision of a few teams like the Dolphins to (over)pay Mike Wallace and the Lions and Rams to gladly omit offset language for first-round rookies doesn’t mean coordination otherwise isn’t occurring.  With the NFLPA willing to file formal collusion charges in the case of the Redskins and Cowboys cap penalties, even though it seemed fairly clear that any potential collusion claims arising from the uncapped year had been waived as part of the new CBA, it’s amazing that the union hasn’t filed other collusion charges.

Then again, it could be that the NFLPA realizes proof will be hard to come by.  Rarely will a smoking gun exist, since team executives are smart enough to not articulate comments showing collusion in text messages or emails.  If it happens, it happens verbally — and only an executive with no desire to ever work for another NFL team would ever be in position to blow the whistle on it.

Even then, it would be the disgruntled executive’s word against everyone else’s.

6 responses to “Whispers emerge of collusion over offset language

  1. I strongly encourage the agents for these 1st round draft choices who are coordinating their joint negotiations and accusing owners of colluding to go live on “60 Minutes” and explain their position (you notice I did not say “positionS” in detail.

    Explain to Joe Sixpack who makes $45,000 a year how some top draft choice who is getting $5 million guaranteed as a 21 year old kid is determined that if he is so bad that his team has to choke the loss and cut him to go away with all the unearned $5 million, he should be able to go to the next place and sign for $1 million, for the same year, on top of what he did n’t deserve at the first place.

    “I want to be paid double in case I fail.”

    Golly, I’m really sympathetic to the NFLPA here……

  2. It’s fairly obvious that this is occurring but good luck proving it

  3. For years we (fans and media) have killed teams like the Redskins and Eagles (Dream Team anyone?) for spending big money on free agents and “winning” the offseason while failing miserably during the regular season. At the same time we praise teams like the Steelers and Patriots (and others) for building teams through the draft and low-priced free agents and generally winning on the field. Is it no surprise that GM’s value their draft picks more than restricted free agents and don’t want to spend big money on unrestricted FA’s?

    I’m not naive enough to think that there is never any collusion going on, but I think the evaporating free agent market is simply a shift in strategy picked up by all, or most, teams.

  4. The Dolphins didn’t over paid Mike, like you aren’t over paid, you are worth what someone will pay you for your service, just because someone else won’t pay the 60 million why should the fish go along and pass on Mike? Bill

  5. Look, the players have ZERO leverage here. If they don’t want to play, don’t play. It’s a fricken GAME that they get paid TONS to play. If they won’t take the millions being thrown there way, another will step in, and we’ll cheer for them just as loudly. We don’t need any of these players because there’s always someone else waiting in the wings. Don’t like the contract being offered to you? Don’t sign, and go get a real job like the rest of us!

  6. You haven’t overpaid for something when others were willing to pay the same or more (which has been established as a fact in regard to Wallace). Of course, no one will see this comment anyway since obviously no one bothered to read the article.

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