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After the rookie wage scale was added to the new collective bargaining agreement, we all assumed that training camp holdouts from rookies would be, like the first day of high school, a distant, ugly memory.
Things have not quite turned out that way, as two of the top 10 draft picks have yet to report to camp as they wait for new deals (Jonathan Cooper agreed to terms with the Cardinals, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.)
The last two rookies to be signed are cornerback Dee Milliner (Jets) and guard Chance Warmack (Titans). If there is a rookie wage scale in place, then what is taking so long to get these guys under contract? (Update: Dee Milliner has agreed to terms with the Jets, per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News).
The contractual war is being waged over “offset language," which, if in place, would stop players from “double-dipping” if they are released and want to sign with a new team.
In other words, if these players turn out to be total busts and fail to play out their contract, they want to somehow be rewarded for it.
On the surface, this seems like a trivial reason to stage a holdout. However, this is one of the only areas of the contract that players can actually fight for, and teams don’t want to set a precedent by not protecting themselves from bad contracts.
Jonathan Cooper’s deal, signed on Sunday, does include offset language, but it remains to be seen whether or not teams point to that as an excuse for players to cave in.