Earlier today, New York Jets Sam Darnold settled on a contract with the team, and ended his camp holdout. He arrived at his first practice of training camp today, and got quite the greeting from the team.
As he ran out onto the field, the Jets welcomed their quarterback of the future with a team-wide slow cap.
According to Daily News Jets reporter Manish Mehta, it was second-year safety Jamal Adams who got things going. Adams was the team's first rounder, taken No. 6 overall, in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Video of Sam Darnold joining the Jets for practice, via the NFL:
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the two sides were expected to come together for a deal just about an hour before the team's 1:50 p.m. practice.
It is unclear what the sticking point in the holdout was, but a number of different possibilities have been raised by various reporters.
Mehta says the issue is "offsets" in Darnold's contract, in a column bashing the young quarterback's agent Jimmy Sexton:
The Jets and Sexton are at an impasse over language in Darnold’s fully guaranteed four-year deal for about $30 million (including a $20 million signing bonus). Holdouts have largely become a thing of the past under the NFL’s new rookie wage scale. Some agents, however, try to squeeze teams over “offsets” and, to a lesser degree, cash flow stemming from bonus payment structures.
Offsets provide teams with protection in case the player is cut within the first three years of the contract. It prevents a player from “double dipping,” or earning two paychecks from two teams after he’s cut by the team that drafted him. An offset allows the drafted team to deduct the player’s new salary from the amount that they were scheduled to pay him.
ESPN's Rich Cimini cites offsets, but also reports that the Jets are trying to include language that would allow them to void the deal for league discipline.
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.
Darnold doesn't exactly scream "guy who will be in trouble with the league" but that seems like a pretty broad definition of what could allow the team to cut him, if he doesn't work out in the first few years and there is an incident.
Michael Silver of NFL Network cited yet another possibility for the holdout: forfeiture language.
Instead, the snag centers around forfeiture language, which is standard in most NFL contracts and a parameter the Jets include in all their deals with players.
Essentially, forfeiture language allows the team to recoup money if a player is injured while engaging in certain activities outside of football, with Silver offering "skiing" and "mountain climbing" as examples.
Whatever the hold-up, it looks like Darnold and Sexton are comfortable with the situation now. He'll be getting around $30 million over four years, with a $20 million signing bonus. ProFootballTalk is now reporting that Darnold is getting that full bonus in the next 15 days. It's a good day for the former USC signal caller.