One of the more frequently asked questions around here concerns the contract of Robert Griffin III. Specifically, folks want to know what the holdup is in getting it signed.We had some footage here earlier today about both RG3 and Mike Shanahan being confident that a deal will get done in plenty of time for Griffin to make all of the team activities. The CBA pretty well dictates that the contract will be four years with a team option for a fifth and worth about 20 million. The Redskins will have no problem guaranteeing the whole deal.So, again, whats the holdup?It could be something that wont be a part of this deal and will never effect Griffin, a technicality called offset language.Cowboys COO Stephen Jones told NFL.com that offsets are why none of the top eight picks of the 2012 draft have signed yet. Thats whats probably holding everybody up, because the moneys the money, said Jones. I think everybody wants to be consistent at the end of the day. Thats whats holding everybody up.What the heck are offsets? If you have offset language in your contract, if you are released with guaranteed money on your contract, any money from a new deal with another team will be deducted from what your original club owes you. So, if the Browns release you with 2 million in guaranteed salary left on your deal and you sign with the Rams for 1 million, the Browns only owe you 1 million. So, management wants offset language.If you dont have an offset clause, you collect the 2 million from Cleveland and the other 1 million from St. Louis. Obviously, players and their agents dont want offsets.An offset is not likely to come into play with the Redskins and Griffin if only because there is is zero chance that the Redskins would release Griffin inside of four years. There just is no possibility of him getting money from another team in that time.But its not as simple as that. The Redskins may not want to set a precedent for putting offsets into rookie deals and Ben Dogra, Griffins agent, might not want to roll over in it, either.However, offsets could be holding back a Redskins-Griffin deal because the issue is holding up deals for the other picks around him. Even in the era of contracts where the CBA dictates the vast majority of the terms, agents are very reluctant to sign their clients to deals when no player drafted near them has been signed as they are afraid that a subsequent deal might make theirs look bad.So, as long as Luke Kuechly, the ninth overall pick by the Panthers, remains the highest-picked player to have signed a deal, RG3 will most likely remain unsigned. And until someone gives in on offsets, the chances are that many in the top eight will be unsigned.Its not a big deal yet and the chances are very good that as training camp approaches the logjam will break and the top picks, including RG3, will be signed in plenty of time. But it youre looking for an answer as to why it isnt already done, it could be right there.
In Brandon Scherff, the Redskins have a 27-year-old guard who has delivered on his first-round status, a lineman who has become one of the best in the league at his position and should have many more years of production and defender-mauling left.
Therefore, it's in the Redskins' best interest to extend Scherff this offseason, and the veteran confirmed on Monday there have been talks about getting that done.
But during a discussion on the Redskins Talk podcast, J.I. Halsell, a salary cap expert and former agent, laid out something that could force those negotiations to stall.
"There are some things you have to take into consideration because 2020 is the final year of the collective bargaining agreement, so there are some things you have to work around when structuring the deal," Halsell said.
Not only is that deadline approaching, but another one is, too. In 2021 and 2022, the NFL's TV deals with Monday Night Football, FOX, CBS and NBC expire as well.
So, there's a very real possibility the league's salary cap could look much, much different in a few seasons. And that, according to Halsell, may make Scherff much less willing to accept an extension now.
"If you're Brandon Scherff, in 2021, with a new collective bargaining agreement, the salary cap might be $250 million or something crazy like that, with all the new revenue coming into the league," he explained. "And so why would I take a deal today and preclude myself of taking advantage of a very lucrative and larger revenue pie?"
Essentially, it comes down to whether Scherff wants to take a present risk that could pay off down the line (kind of like how Kirk Cousins did a few years back with the Burgundy and Gold). He could probably lock something in over the next few months — Halsell's projection was an agreement for five years, including $45 million guaranteed and a $14.5 million average per year — or step away from talks now and try to cash in later.
Haslell told Redskins Talk he'd probably advise the lineman to take the second route.
"You would say, 'Look, you're a former first-round pick. You've made a decent amount of money in your career thus far,'" he said. "You have the financial wherewithal to not take the bird in hand today that may not be as lucrative as what is out there in 2021. So, bet on yourself and play out the last year of your rookie deal, force them to tag you in 2020 and then see what this new NFL salary cap world looks like in 2021."
Now, who knows truly how much these factors will play into Scherff's back-and-forth with the 'Skins. Nevertheless, you can see why the Pro Bowler's next contract may not be as much of a no-brainer as previously thought.
"If the kid is willing to bet on himself," Haslell said, "then it could be very lucrative on the back end."
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Bruce Allen identified getting a contract extension done for Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff as one of the Redskins biggest priorities of the 2019 offseason. To this point, however, nothing has happened.
That doesn't seem to have Scherff concerned.
"We've been talking, but I'm not really worried about that," he said after OTAs on Monday. "I'm here for another year, so that's all I'm worried about right now. Everything will take care of itself."
Scherff, the fifth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, has played at an elite level since his rookie season. He's made two Pro Bowl teams in four years, and until last year, had been remarkably durable.
In 2018, Scherff's season started very strong. 'Skins coach Jay Gruden described the former Iowa Hawkeye as the best pulling guard in the NFL and it was well-earned praise. Then, in a Week 8 loss, Scherff went down with a torn pectoral muscle. His season was over.
At OTAs, however, Scherff was a full participant with no brace or apparent encumbrances from the injury.
"I'm feeling really good, just taking it slow and making sure I'm 100 percent," he said.
Expect the free agent market to be quite bullish. Once a lesser-paid position than tackle, guards have recently started pulling in significant cash. Zach Martin's recent contract extension in Dallas pays him more than $14 million per season, and Jacksonville is paying Andrew Norwell more than $13 million this year.
For Scherff, expect top of the market money. He has the talent, pedigree and ability that if Washington won't pay in the neighborhood of Martin and Norwell, he can wait for free agency.
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