This may provide some clarity on the Sam Darnold standoff: While the offset clause remains an issue, the major sticking point, as I understand it, is default language pertaining to guaranteed money. Under the Jets' proposal, Darnold's entire guarantee will void if he's fined by the league for discipline or conduct on/off the field. This is different from the Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen contracts. In their cases, their guarantee voids with a suspension, not a fine. Big difference. The Jets' approach is unusual based on recent history. It's believed that, in the last 10 drafts, no top-3 pick had voidables tied to league fines. This may sound petty, but Darnold has a $30 million guarantee over the life of the proposed contract.
My Nemesis, I'm A Jet Fan
I knew things were rolling too well. Baker Mayfield signed his contract! Josh Allen (represented by the same agency-different agents as Sam Darnold) signed his contract! The dominos were falling in the right direction. The Jets were getting ready for two practices without pads before Sunday’s first real practice with pads. Then the momentum came to a screeching halt! Sam Darnold still had yet to sign his contract. I had thought I read a Manish Mehta ( NY Daily News) tweet saying the contract is being signed. But no such luck. I waited and waited. Thursday night was a horrid night for me. As most normal people worry about everyday issues, car and mortgage payments, food on the table, I was waking up every hour checking NFL.com and Cimini, Mehta and Costello’s twitter posts waiting to see “Darnold Signs” but nothing. Friday night was just as bad. No sleep! I was driving my wife crazy. Why is this happening? Still checking, reading, trying to get the word. Filling in the cracks I learned what “offset” language is. I learned a lot of about Jimmy Sexton, Sam Darnold’s agent who coincidently is Bill Parcells agent. I remember how after the draft Sexton did a good thing setting up a meeting with Parcells, Sam Darnold and Josh Allen (Darnold’s new best friend) in Jupiter Florida for an afternoon just to talk football. The last good deed Sexton ever did in my book. Then RB Elijah McGuire breaks his foot in a conditioning drill. Bad luck for McGuire. Jet luck! Saturday I had conversations with Green Rewind contributor’s Ralph Sharaga and Ray Clifford who both tried to talk me off the ledge. They took my threats seriously from the new Tappan Zee bridge (sorry Andrew) and both had the same logic that the silver lining is when he signs he’ll sit, which is what we all want in his first year. Still not signed. I remember when Blair Thomas (who was a bust) held out his rookie year. I was disappointed but nothing like this. What in the world of Matt Robinson is going on here? Why can’t things go smoothly for the Jets ever? Now I know this isn’t like Don Shula leaving the tarp off the field the night before a playoff game or Joe Namath going 14-40 against the KC Chiefs in the playoff game the year after the Super Bowl, but every minute that passes with Darnold unsigned is bad. It is bad for Darnold, bad for the Jets, bad for Jet fans and bad for my sleep. Hopefully by the time you read this something will be done. But this is bad luck. Jet luck. All Jet fans can do is hope right now that Josh McCown can get some kind of Fountain of Youth extension and that Teddy Bridgewater is really 100% healed. Football season is here! Just as Kermit The Frog says, “It’s Not Easy Being Green.”
What The Jet Scribes Are Saying
Rich Cimini, ESPN
A few non-quarterback takeaways from the Jets' first practice: RB Eli McGuire left with a foot injury. No word on the severity ... WR Terrelle Pryor and S Marcus Maye sat out as they recover from old ankle injuries. Doug Middleton replaced Maye with the first team. The coaches really like Middleton ... Overall, a sloppy practice. Too many penalties. Sound familiar? ... Good day for the tight ends. Maybe there's more there than we think. Rookie Chris Herndon can stretch the seam ... CB Rashard Robinson, facing a suspension, sloppy with technique ... WR Quincy Enunwa looked good. Josh McCown said Enunwa reminds him of Anquan Boldin. Lofty praise.
A few takeaways from yesterday: Nice day for DE Leonard Williams, who was unblockable at times ... CB Derrick Jones was around the ball a couple of times, intercepting Josh McCown once in a 7-on-7 period ... Rookie DE Nathan Shepherd had another strong practice. He blew by G James Carpenter in a pass-rush drill. Curious to see how he does in pads ... WR Jermaine Kearse had a Jackie Smith moment, butchering a wide-open pass in the end zone. At least it was practice, not a Super Bowl ... Penalties continue to be an issue on both sides of the ball. Well, at least they're getting stronger, thanks to the penalty pushups.
Manish Mehta, NY Daily News
Agent is holding out Sam Darnold on the pretext he's protecting his client. The truth: Agent is leveraging player to strengthen his own recruiting position. Now he's attempting to shift "real reason" for impasse in attempt to score points w/public. Meanwhile, player & team suffer
Jets aren't always right, but they're absolutely right in this case. Sam Darnold probably should have taken similar tack as Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen & Josh Rosen, who all made it clear missing any practice simply wasn't an option. But this is mostly about one agent's ego.
Brian Costello, NY Post
The two sides are at odds over language in the contract. The main issue is offsets. The team wants offsets in the deal. Darnold and his agent do not. Offsets protect a team if a player is cut and then signs with another team. It allows them to deduct the salary the player receives from a new team from what they owe him. Players want to collect full salaries from both teams.
Darnold and Bears linebacker Roquan Smith are the only remaining unsigned rookies. Both Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen, the other top quarterbacks taken, signed contracts this week that included offsets.There is no dispute about what Darnold will be paid because rookie contracts are slotted under the current CBA. Darnold is scheduled to make around $30 million guaranteed over four years with a $20 million signing bonus. The team also holds a fifth-year option for all first-round picks.
See Sam Pass! See Sam Run! See Sam Win!
Is there a better gift this year?
Around The AFC East
…..Patriots Troy Niklas was released after just two days of training camp, which is a bit of a surprise. The big tight end was in competition to get one of the backup slots. The team signed WR Paul Turner who spent four games with the Eagles in 2016. In other moves this week, the team signed safety Eddie Pleasant, guard Nate Theaker and WR Devin Lucien while releasing safety David Jones…..The Buffalo Bills have three QBs vying for reps in training camp and into the preseason this summer and it’ll bear watching this summer. Top draft choice Josh Allen signed his contract and is in camp, the team traded for A.J. McCarron with the Bengals and have veteran Nathan Peterman who was thrown into a disastrous first start last year but bounced back nicely after that.McCarron led Alabama to a national title but this is his first opportunity to start. He’ll try to hold off Peterman and the rookie Allen. Allen is their QB of the future, but Bills coach Sean McDermott has made it clear, that the team won’t push their future QB into game action before he’s ready. That’s why they brought in McCarron. When it comes to arm strength, Allen is head and shoulders above the other two, but as we’ve seen, playing QB in the NFL is much more than that or else Jeff George would be in the Hall of Fame…..The Miami Dolphins are trying to work Danny Amendola in the slot where he was so valuable for the Patriots the past few years. And QB Ryan Tannehill, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL is working hard to build his chemistry with the tough but diminutive wide receiver.But not everyone is happy with the work being turned in by the Dolphins QB. Dolphins beat writer, Omar Kelly who is known for his over the top tweets was writing that Tannehill is leading Amendola into a huge collision. “Every single media member has CRINGED watching some of the passes Tannehill throws Amendola. If the action were live Reshad Jones and T.J. McDonald would break his ribs, or give him a concussion. Ball placement is a very important trait a QB needs, ask Dustin Keller.” Kelly added, “And for the record, I predict Reshad Jones and T.J. McDonald will be head hunters (sic) in this defense….if the refs allow it. Both make great jumps on plays and bring the sledge hammer. Problem is, the NFL doesn’t want those hits in the game anymore. We’ll see.”…..Pro Football Weekly’s Bob LeGere and Hub Arkush think that Patriots RB Sony Michel will have the biggest impact in the AFC East…..
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Around the NFL
…..The Browns are in training camp. Receiver Josh Gordon, who missed more than two full seasons due to a substance-abuse policy suspension, currently isn’t, for reasons that still haven’t been made entirely clear. And when owner Jimmy Haslam spoke to reporters on Saturday, he tried to say as little as possible about Gordon…..The Jets are going to be without running back Elijah McGuire for a while due to a foot injury and they took a look at some potential replacements on Saturday.That group included Alfred Morris along with former Giant Orleans Darkwa. Darkwa, who led the Giants in rushing last season, also worked out for the Bills recently as he tries to land a job after spending part of the offseason recovering from surgery to remove a plate from his leg. Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com reports that he’s set to visit the Colts as well. Raanan’s colleague Rich Cimini reports that Tion Green also worked out for the Jets on Saturday…..Da'Ron Payne will miss the next few weeks of his first NFL training camp due to an ankle injury. Washington coach Jay Gruden said that Payne had his left ankle stepped on during practice on Friday. Payne will wear a boot to protect the ankle for the next week and is expected to be off the field for two or three weeks overall, but Gruden said he didn’t see the injury as a big setback for the rookie….. The NFL’s new rule against initiating contact by lowering the helmet has directly contributed to the lengthy contract dispute between the Bears and their first-round draft pick, linebacker Roquan Smith. Pro Football Talk previously explained that Smith could be concerned that if he’s suspended under the new rule, the Bears could void the guarantees in his contract, and Smith and his agents are seeking protections against that…..Panthers offensive tackle Daryl Williams has been diagnosed with a dislocated patella and torn MCL in his right knee after being injured during Saturday's training camp practice, the team announced. “Daryl Williams dislocated his right patella and tore the medial collateral ligament in his right knee in this morning’s practice,” head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion said Saturday in a statement. …..Steelers starting left guard Ramon Foster was carted off from practice after his right leg got caught underneath defensive end Stephon Tuitt, Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports……Duane Brown has a new deal. The Seahawks on Saturday announced they have agreed to terms on a multi-year contract extension with the veteran offensive tackle. According to NFL Insider Ian Rapoport, the deal is for three years and worth $36.5 million…..Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones has agreed to a revised deal that will not only net him an additional $2.9 million in 2018, but also comes with an assurance of negotiating a long-term deal before the 2019 season, ESPN.com reported Friday morning, citing unidentified sources……