Oh July panic.
Over the past few days there were headlines wherever headlines can be found stating that Robert Griffin III still hasn’t signed with the Redskins yet, and he’s therefore missing rookie camp after rookies reported on Monday. While there was nothing false about those headlines, they created a very brief sense of panic.
Of course RG3 would be signed in time for the main camp that opens next Thursday. The rookie salary structure makes that a formality, with just a few minor tweaks to negotiate.
Since contract negotiations always come back to basic human instincts and our need to
feel loved with money showers be motivated by deadlines, RG3 had to wait until closer to camp to finalize an agreement. But his deal was completed this morning, an agreement that will have figurative water gushing through figurative gates, and many other literal contracts signed by the remaining unsigned first-round picks.
The signing was initially reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who kindly and bluntly delivers breaking news with your morning Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
I’m not sure if the Scheft has kids, but he surely woke them up the exact same way with his NFL news-delivering routine he goes through every morning. He stood beside the bed, standing perfectly upright in his finely-pressed suit. Then he looked down at the child as he/she struggled to make out the figure looming above in the morning light. Gazing upward with wonderment, the child realized who it was, and that a new day had donned.
“Good morning: Redskins signed Robert Griffin III,” said father, beaming with his loud, proud broadcast voice. After smiling for a moment into an imaginary camera, he then turned abruptly, and left the room. The day could now begin.
The minor stumbling block that kept Griffin out of rookie camp was offset language, and the resulting lack of offset language is what led to the fully guaranteed deal. Offset language is a provision which protects a team if a player is cut during the life of a guaranteed contract. If, for example, there was offset language in this contract and Griffin was released after the second year and signed by a new team, then the Redskins would be off the hook for the remaining two years. Without offset language a player can theoretically double dip and get paid by two teams if he’s cut, a precedent that’s now been set by Griffin’s contract.
Of course, as dazzling and promising as Griffin is, there’s no prospect at the quarterback position who’s an absolute certainty, and comes with zero risk. That’s why contractual items like offset language exist as teams look to financially protect themselves against colossal failure (see: Russell, JaMarcus).
However, although it was surely desired by Redskins management, making offset language a sticking point would have been simply foolish. If Griffin is cut during the life of this contract, the Redskins have far more to worry about than a few million dollars. The state of their franchise would be a good place to start.
Now Griffin can concentrate on the mission assigned to him when he was drafted: turn a franchise around, and become Washington’s first respectable quarterback since Mark Rypien.
No pressure, kid.