One of the three deadline deals done by the Jets in recent days was signed by first-round rookie Darron Lee. The former Ohio State linebacker, who left his college coach hanging not once but twice on a failed high five attempt after being selected, had left his team hanging because the Jets weren’t willing to fully guarantee the four-year deal.
Ultimately, they did. Per a source with knowledge of the deal, Lee will make $10.22 million over four years, fully and completely guaranteed. It wasn’t easy to get a full guarantee; in 2014 and 2015, the fully-guaranteed rookie deals ended at pick No. 19. Lee, by waiting, pulled the full guarantee down to pick No. 20.
In return, the Jets got nothing more than what every team gets under first-round rookie contracts: Standard language that voids the remaining guarantees in the event of certain types of conduct. Someone seems to be pushing to the media the idea that the Jets actually obtained a term that isn’t standard, with at least one report suggesting that CAA agents Todd France and Brian Ayrault had never previously agreed to this type of term in a first-round contract.
That’s simply not accurate. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, CAA (and every other agency) has agreed to language potentially voiding guarantees in all first-round deals since the language became a standard part of guarantee clauses in rookie deals.
The language in the Lee deal is no different than the language in all other first-round contracts and all other relevant Jets rookie and Jets veteran contracts, including players like Muhammad Wilkerson and Darrelle Revis. So while the Jets apparently are trying to create the impression that they someone finagled a win in return fully guaranteeing all four years of the contract, they didn’t. They got what they always get in contracts containing guaranteed money.