Quarterback Sam Darnold is officially signed. The Jets and the third overall pick put an end to a distracting holdout today, and Darnold got onto the practice field for the first time in training camp.
Here are some of the key points of the deal.
What Darnold gave to the Jets:
One of the biggest reported sticking points in the negotiation dealt with offsets. If the Jets cut Darnold before the contract ends, would they be able to recoup money he got from signing with a new team. In the end, Darnold’s camp relented and allowed offsets into the deal.
What the Jets gave to Darnold:
The other reported big ticket issue was the circumstances under which guaranteed money could be voided in the deal. In this instance, the Jets gave Darnold what he wanted. The Jets cannot void guarantees for the quarterback being fined. Cimini noted this type of language has Jets policy for all of their contracts (although not necessarily common in the league) so it is a rather striking concession.
In addition, Darnold’s full signing bonus will be paid up front. Normally some of the signing bonus payment is delayed.
Finally, Darnold will receive roster bonus payments even if he is on the NFI (non-football injury) list at the start of the future training camp.
So who won the negotiation?
If you have followed what I have been saying over the past few days, you know that is a bit of a trick question. I don’t believe this negotiation was a zero sum game where one side won at the expense of the other.
Some people wanted Mike Maccagnan to dig in and not give an inch in these negotiations. Had Maccagnan not been willing to compromise the deal still probably wouldn’t have been done, and Darnold would not be in camp. Everybody loses in that scenario.
Even though the Jets did make concessions, they were on minor matters. They and Darnold both win because he is now in camp.
I don’t know why it took so long to get to this place, but we finally can turn the page and look forward with excitement and optimism to a new era of Jets football.