Whenever someone says that the NFL doesn’t have fully-guaranteed contracts, remember that indeed the NFL does, at the top of each draft. In recent years, the range of fully-guaranteed contracts for first-round draft picks has grown.
NFL Media reports that the contract given by the Raiders to first-round running back Josh Jacobs has four fully-guaranteed years. The deal expands the number of fully-guaranteed first-round rookie contracts to 24.
As PFT explained when a report emerged from Vic Tafur of TheAthletic.com that Jacobs could be a training-camp holdout, the disagreement (if any) likely centered on whether Jacobs would get a fully-guaranteed deal or, similar to the 24th pick a year ago, have roughly $200,000 or so in non-guaranteed fourth-year salary.
Of course, the organization now claims, via Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, that there was no concern Jacobs would miss time, which is true if the organization had planned all along to blink on the issue of whether the contract will be fully guaranteed.
Four years ago, only the first 19 players taken received fully-guaranteed contracts, with Eagles receiver Nelson Agholor the first (at No. 2) to have only $1.1 million of his $1.7 million fourth-year pay not fully guaranteed. Now, the rubber band has been stretched all the way to No. 24 — and the question for next year becomes whether that will continue through 25, 26, and perhaps eventually all the way to the end of the first round.
It’s an easy argument for the agents to make; as the number of players taken in round one not getting fully-guaranteed contracts shrinks, the gap between the full salary and the fully-guaranteed salary for the remainder first-round picks will shrink, too. Ultimately, it’s not a big issue for the teams to just fully guaratee the whole deal. Also, given that first-round picks can be kept for a fifth year (unlike players taken in other rounds), it seems only fair that the first four years for all first-rounders be fully guaranteed.
With Josh Jacobs getting a fully-guaranteed contract, the players are now officially 75 percent of the way to making it happen.