Mark Barron and the rest of the Tampa Bay Buccaneer rookies report for training camp in five days. However, the 2012 NFL draft's seventh overall pick is the only one of the 22 Buc rookies who hasn't signed a contract.
It's not supposed to be this way. The new CBA pretty much sets what Barron will make. The catch here is this item called "off-set language." Here's where it gets fairly ridiculous.
This "off-set" clause means that if a team cuts the apple of its eye, and that player—whom they spent a year scouting to make sure he's the right guy, the right fit, the potential All-Pro player—signs with another team for a decent chunk of change, then the team that botched the pick wants satisfaction.
Say the Bucs found out Barron was a flop and cut him after three seasons. For the sake of discussion, let's say Barron was due $4.5 million the fourth year, but the Washington Redskins sign him for $3.5 million. The Bucs want to compensate the difference between $4.5 million and $3.5 million, which, according to our superior math skills is—drum roll please—$1 million.
Without the off-set language, the Bucs would owe the full $4.5 million, while Barron would get $3.5 million from the Redskins. Total: $8 million.
While these teams fret over that, the Carolina Panthers did what seems pretty reasonable. They signed linebacker Luke Kuechly, the ninth overall pick, WITHOUT the off-set language. Good for them. There's a team willing to bet that they selected the right guy. Off-set language be damned.
So really, Tampa Bay, is Barron a future All-Pro? Then sign him. Be like the Panthers and forget the "off-set." As a matter of fact, if they screwed up that bad and the guy turned out to be a bust, then they should have to pay up for their mistakes.
Five days until camp. Pay the man—off-set, schmoff-set.
Take some advice from Larry The Cable Guy: "Git-r-done!"
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