Rookie contract disputes are uncommon because the deals are slotted. In Darnold’s case, his four-year deal will be worth a fully guaranteed $30.2 million, including a $20 million signing bonus, but the two sides are at odds over offset language, sources said.
Darnold’s agent is seeking a contract with no offsets, which would allow him to receive his Jets salary and get paid by another team if the Jets cut him. It’s called “double dipping.” The Jets want an offset because it would provide some financial protection.
The Jets’ case is bolstered by the fact that the quarterback drafted ahead of Darnold (Baker Mayfield) and the first quarterback picked after him (Josh Allen) both have contracts that include offsets. In fact, Allen and Darnold have the same agent, Jimmy Sexton of CAA.
Darnold, drafted third overall out of USC, is expected to compete for the starting quarterback job in training camp. His competition will be incumbent Josh McCown and former Minnesota Vikings starter Teddy Bridgewater.
The Jets have big expectations for Darnold. In an interview in May, CEO Christopher Johnson said the drafting of Darnold will be a turning point for the franchise.
“[People] are going to look back 20 years from now and say this is the moment the Jets shifted into a new gear, that they became a great team,” he said.