The Redskins have opened the rookie portion of their camp, and yet their most important rookie is not there yet. Robert Griffin III, whose value to the franchise is incalculable based on the investment the team has made in him and the hopes they have levied on him, remains in a contract stalemate with the team. Although rookie contracts typically have been routine under the new CBA, the hangup here is over “offset language” — a tricky development of the new league labor agreement.
In short form, offset language occurs in cases where teams release former first-round players prior to the third year of a four-year deal, with fifth-year options held by the team. With offset language in the contract, the team would be allowed to release the player prior to the end of the contract and get back part of what would have been a fully guaranteed final year of the deal. For instance, if the first-rounder was due to be paid $5 million in the final year but another team signed that player for $3 million, the team that drafted the first-rounder originally only would be on the hook for the difference — $2 million.
In shorter form: The teams want the language in the contracts; the players don’t want to give the teams any easier ways to opt out of their contracts.
This is the stall with Griffin and agent Ben Dogra with the Redskins. It’s expected to be cleared up soon, as sources say they don’t anticipate a long holdout. Griffin said last week he was OK with a contract that included offset language.
The Redskins know they can’t wait too long to sign Griffin and start up the hype train they got rolling when they traded for the second pick of the draft. This team needs him in there to take charge of the huddle, even if veterans don’t report until July 25.