As Mariota, Titans haggle over offsets, history says it’s a non-issue


The Titans and first-round draft pick Marcus Mariota haven’t come to terms because they haven’t agreed on whether his rookie contract will include offset language. Which is an odd issue to become a stumbling block, because history says it will almost certainly be a non-issue.

Offsets only come into play if a player gets cut by the team that drafts him and then signs on with a new team. Although first-round picks’ contracts are guaranteed, if there are offsets in his contract, the team that drafted the player can deduct whatever he makes with his new team from the money the team that drafted him has to pay. In other words, if Mariota’s rookie contract calls for him to make a base salary of $615,000 in 2017, he’s guaranteed to get paid that money even if the Titans cut him after the 2016 season. But if some other team signs Mariota and pays him $615,000 in 2017, the Titans don’t have to pay it to him. If there are no offsets in the contract, Mariota can “double dip” and collect $615,000 from both the Titans and his new team.

Here’s why it doesn’t matter: Mariota would have to be so bad that the Titans cut him in the next four years, but not so bad that some other team wouldn’t sign him. and that almost never happens. In the 21st Century, only one quarterback has been drafted in the first round, cut in his first four years, and then signed with another team. That quarterback was Brandon Weeden, who lasted two years in Cleveland and then signed in Dallas after the Browns cut him.

Other first-round quarterbacks have been cut in the first four years but not signed anywhere else (JaMarcus Russell), or been traded away by the teams that drafted them (Blaine Gabbert, Tim Tebow). But only Weeden has been cut and then signed elsewhere, which means Weeden is the only first-round quarterback for whom offsets have been an issue.

The Browns did convince Weeden to agree to offsets in his rookie contract, which meant they were allowed to deduct the league-minimum salary he earned from the Cowboys last year from the amount Cleveland still owed him on his rookie deal. The Titans want Mariota to agree to offsets so that if they cut him and he’s playing for some other team in 2017, they can also deduct his salary with his new team from the amount he gets paid by Tennessee.

But if Mariota is as bad for the Titans as Weeden was for the Browns, the Titans will have bigger problems than saving a few hundred thousand dollars.

38 responses to “As Mariota, Titans haggle over offsets, history says it’s a non-issue

  1. I hope he sits out all year and re-enters the draft, just because it would be a hilarious waste of a first round pick.

  2. Sad
    trying to save some pennies will cost them if he actually ends up being a franchise QB.
    He will remember this when its time for his second contract

  3. This deal is sure to get done before training camp, the Titans are being pennywise pound foolish they’ll get over it

  4. Seems like Mariota doesn’t have faith in himself. If being paid twice is such an important issue, that he is willing to miss training camp, he must really think he will be cut and that he can collect two paychecks. Either that, or the agent is really the one driving this thing, so he can use it as a win to attract new clients.

  5. Mariota won’t be ready for years, this was the basketball equivalent of drafting a euro player who already is committed overseas. The kid has a ton of athletic ability, but that is not necessarily what you need in an NFL QB. You need accuracy, pocket presence, leadership and intelligence. Unfortunately, mariota doesn’t really have any of these tools. He ran a system that had essentially the same play called but w 4 or 5 options out of it, 40% of the time. He wasn’t asked to do anything but be athletic and run what the coaches told him and run it fast. I’m doubtful he’s anything but a mediocre backup QB at the nfl level.

  6. The Titans just might be the cheapest team in sports. They didn’t waste a minute selling an extra 10,000 season tickets, and a couple hundred thousand jerseys on their web site right after drafting Mariota.

  7. I hate this team management. Get this kid signed already.

    And when any of these commenters starts talking about what college system he ran I just roll my eyes. Dude, are you a talent evaluator? No? Me either. That’s why I’m not sitting here commenting on PFT whether or not he’s a project. It’s ridiculously dumb. He may be great, he may be a bust. You have no idea which it is, & neither do I. Stop pretending to be Kiper.

  8. Hard to believe that players think they have the right to potentially collect two salaries when working for one employer.

    They have every right to collect from both, that is what a guaranteed contract is, the team guarantees x amount of dollars for x amount of yrs if they no longer want your services they can cut you but they must pay you your money, regardless of who may employ you next and for how much….why should the owners get to not honor non guarantee contracts and then off set guaranteed contracts?? this is just greed on their part, the NFLPA needs to get the owners in check they are out of control with greed…..

  9. Somethingcool82 said:

    “You need accuracy, pocket presence, leadership and intelligence. Unfortunately, mariota doesn’t really have any of these tools.”

    Apparently, Somethingcool82, you don’t follow college football … at all.

  10. This is about the dumbest thing that’s going on in the NFL right now. The Titans are dumb to be haggling over this, again, and Marriota’s agents are dumb for making it an issue when unless he gets hurt or is some secret codeine addictor something harder (I’m pretty sure he hits the weed, just look at those eyes, lol), they’re not going to cut him before the contract reaches the option year. You have to be Brandon Weeden or Jamarcus Russell bad with off field problems in Russell’s case to get cut that quickly.

  11. georgeexley says:
    Jul 6, 2015 9:52 AM

    Hard to believe that players think they have the right to potentially collect two salaries when working for one employer.

    You have the right to whatever you can negotiate in your contract.

  12. Teams sign players with an expected performance level. If a player is decent there is never a problem. If not, why should the team pay for services not rendered? If you hire a contractor to renovate your house and then had to fire them halfway through for doing a poor job, would you still want to pay them the rest anyway? I doubt it.

  13. In Teddy We Trust says:
    Jul 6, 2015 9:48 AM
    Sounds like neither the team nor the quarterback has much faith in the quarterback lasting four years without getting cut.
    When NFL teams can cut players for any reason at any point in the contract no player should base anything off of faith…only contractual guarantees.

  14. The Titans overplayed their hand on draft night, hoping (and praying) another team would give them a king’s ransom for #2. The Titans don’t have plans for Mariota and now want protection for “if” they DO cut him.

    2014’s #2 AND #3 pick have guaranteed contracts AND no offsets… why should Mariota settle? Either commit to the kid or trade him to a team that will.

  15. With the Titans and Whiz’ miserable track record (especially without Kurt Warner to bail him out), isn’t obvious that the Titans are adroitly positioning themselves for next year’s number 1 draft pick and to be bought out by new ownership?

    Unfortunately for the Titans, there are no miracle Kurt Warner player waiting in the wings to save them.

  16. I think this is more about the agent positioning himself for the next contract. He’s showing Mariota how valuable his services are or will be as there is very little to negotiate in rookie contracts these days.

  17. But if Mariota is as bad for the Titans as Weeden was for the Browns, the Titans will have bigger problems than saving a few hundred thousand dollars.

    you media types never look at the big picture always ready to label someone a bust…. the Browns had a lot to do with it….

  18. Dumb on both parties. I can agree to that only. I wish I could evaluate the talent of football players as well as those on this site. Many of you must work for ESPN or the NFL.

  19. Sam Bradford’s rookie deal was for $78 million with a $18 million dollar bonus.

    The NFL and NFLPA agreed to a new labor deal that reduced and limited rookie contracts that also include a club 5th year option.

    The Colts have exercised Andrew Lucks option and it is for $16 million and his 1st 4 years was for $22 million.

    Some of you think that the NFL franchises should also have offsets available? Do you even see the problem here with that train of thought? The Titans might be sold, they have no real owner in place currently and maybe in 3 years a new owner comes in a says “I don’t think Mariotta has done enough so cut him.”

    If I was an agent for any NFL draftee they would never sign a contract with offset.

  20. We have to understand everything that agents and organizations haggle over is about leverage. The offset language is designed so players have leverage SO THEY DON’T GET CUT. Why would a team pay a player if they cut them (especially a 1st round QB)…hence the ‘insurance policy’ for the player. These articles highlight the truth of every player negotiation: What am I setting a precedent for in the future? This isn’t about a few $100K now… its about the extension 3 or 4 years from now. It’s about agents and teams puffing chests for the upcoming big contract.

  21. If Mariota truly wanted to play somewhere else, he would agree to the offset language because it would increase the likelihood of getting cut before the contract expires. If he wants to play for Chip Kelly, all he has to do is be a terrible player and act a bit rowdy off the field (nothing illegal.) Chip would take this kid anytime, anywhere, unless there were serious criminal issues.

    The fact that Mariota is refusing offset language and he’s continuing to be a choir boy off the field means that he wants to play for the Titans long-term. I don’t think anyone could say the same for any other player on their roster.

  22. More and more teams are insistent on the offset language in their contracts. Ultimately, all teams will insist on it because there should not be double dipping for the players who fail and are given a second opportunity. Tannehill signed with the offset language 4 years ago and all 1st round Dolphins have done the same in recent years. Marcus should sign the contract. His agent is giving him very poor advice.

  23. This isn’t about offset language or any other negiotiating point; this is all about the Titans organization delaying negotiations for as long as possible before paying Mariota his signing bonus.

    Even if the offset language was settled today, they’d just find some other silly, meaningless line item to quibble over as a means of holding onto their money for as long as possible.

  24. Just to confirm. If he is signs the off-set and then gets cut, he still gets paid his full amount if he does not get signed by another team? All the offset does is deduct the amount that he is getting paid from a new team against the salary from his old team. Its like he got traded but gets to pick the location he goes to? If he sucks and does not have the offset, the team will probably just park him on the bench or choose were to trade him to, neither option is very good for the QB. He would be better off getting his walking papers and the ability to convince another team he is worth a try-out while still getting paid by his old team.

  25. Lol Jags fans talking trash when they went 3-13. At least they got Dante Fowler and he will help lead Jacksonville to their first AFC title since Before Christ….oh wait

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