Why Top First-Round Picks Are Taking the Wrong Position in Contract Battles

Sigmund BloomNFL Draft Lead WriterJuly 18, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 26:  Andrew Luck (L) of Stanford (#1 overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts) and Robert Griffin III (R) of Baylor (#2 overall pick by the Washington Redskins) look on as they 2012 NFL draft class is intrduced during the 2012 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 26, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

With the news that Robert Griffin III has signed his contract, we should see the rest of the top eight picks that have remained unsigned get their deals done very quickly.

The main obstacle was apparently a disagreement over "offset language," which would allow a team to recoup guaranteed money in the amount that the draft pick got paid by another team if he is released before the term of his contract is over.

Griffin's deal contained no offset language, per a source of Mike Florio from Pro Football Talk, and the previous earliest pick signed, No. 9 overall pick Luke Kuechly, also signed a deal with no offset language.

This makes it very easy for the agents of the remaining unsigned picks to push for deals with no offset language.

Perhaps this is just a reaction to the new collective bargaining agreement having little wiggle room, which means that offset language is one of the few points either side can "win" in negotiations. It is still an odd point to be preoccupied with at such an early juncture in a player's career.

Why should high draft picks be so concerned about what they will get paid if they are released in the first four years of their contract? Obviously, this will mean that the player was an unmitigated bust. Even Griffin's $21.1 million deal represents a bargain for any starting quarterback—even one of the poorest in the league. 

What is concerning is that a player and his agent would be thinking about covering themselves in case of failure at the moment of signing a contract. This would be akin to a bride or groom hesitating to say "I do" at the altar while they decide if the terms of the prenuptial agreement are favorable to them in the event of divorce.

Earlier this month, I criticized teams for focusing on the "what if" of failure in the puzzling holdup in the signing of early third-round picks. The top picks in the 2012 NFL draft deserve the same criticism.

Success is built on positivity and envisioning triumph, not failure. 

If a top eight pick ends up not lasting four years with his team, whether he makes an extra one or two million with his second team should be the furthest thing from his mind. He should be thinking about exactly how he was able to fall so short of such high expectations.