For a while there last week, it seemed your Eagletarian might have to spend the first few days of this week explaining and re-explaining the concept of "offset language" in NFL contracts.
Credit the Miami Dolphins for averting that tragedy.
When the weekend began, only three of the top 10 picks in the April draft had signed. But there was considerable speculation that Miami and No. 3 overall pick Dion Jordan were under some pressure to come to agreement, since Jordan had missed all the Dolphins' spring work following shoulder surgery.
Jordan really couldn't afford to miss much camp time, and Miami couldn't afford for Jordan to miss much camp time, even though the Dolphins were known as sticklers for the offset language, which basically means if you get cut and resigned somewhere else, the team that cut you can deduct what your new team pays you from what it owes you. So Saturday afternoon, the Dolphins and Jordan agreed to a deal that included the offset - something agents oppose, for obvious reasons - but provided for Jordan's entire signing bonus to be paid in 15 days, instead of being partially deferred, as is common.
Hours later, the Eagles announced their deal with Johnson, which included the same compromise. Johnson has the offset, which almost certainly is a moot point, but he gets his entire $12.818 million signing bonus within 15 days. Maybe he can upgrade his wardrobe; the celebratory photo tweeted by agent Ken Sarnoff showed Johnson wearing shorts and a plain white undershirt.
Johnson is scheduled to make $19.853 million total. He is scheduled to report with the rest of the Eagles' rookies and some selectted vets -- including the quarterbacks -- Monday afternoon. That group will practice Tuesday and Wednesday before veterans report Thursday.
Johnson was the last Eagles' draftee who hadn't signed. The 2011 collective bargaining agreement certainly has nearly eliminated rookie contract disputes that drag on well into camp, which is a good thing for teams and players, but as agents will tell you privately, the deal is not working out well overall for the players. In 2011, they thought the money saved by the rookie salary cap would go to signing veterans. That hasn't happened; the money is going into the owners' pockets, as the salary cap stays flat.
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said in a statement released by the team that Johnson and Sarnoff "had stated to us how important it was to get this deal signed before the rookies reported on Monday, and they kept their word."
Unlike Jordan, Johnson was able to attend all the spring work, and is expected to open camp as the starting right offensive tackle. But he only played tackle two years in college, at the end of a long journey that began with Johnson as an oversized high school and junior college quarterback. Johnson needs plenty of technique work and could hardly afford to miss prep time.