Earlier this week, the San Francisco 49ers came to terms with Eric Reid on his rookie contract, completing their draft class contracts. Reid is signed to a four-year contract that has a club option for the fifth year. The deal is worth approximately $8.48 milion dollars, with a signing bonus of just over $4.5 million. His base salaries for the four years are $405,000, $790,489, $1.175 million and $1.561 million. The option year will be based on averages according to his position.
The most notable part of the contract is that it does not include offset language. National Football Post's Joel Corry (former agent) described offset language:
An offset clause allows a team to reduce the guaranteed money owed to a player when he is released by the amount of his new deal with another team. The player receives his salary from the team that released him in addition to the full salary from his new contract with another club when there isn't an offset. Practically speaking, the offset issue will only come into play in the latter years of rookie deals if the player is a disappointment.
Rookie contracts have more or less settled into place with the new rookie wage scale in the collective bargaining agreement. We no longer have the monstrous deals providing huge amounts of guaranteed money to first round picks, and that means holdouts are no longer much of an issue. The 49ers deal with Reid was the second earliest top pick contract the 49ers negotiated in at least 20 years.
While the contracts are fairly settled in terms of money, offset language is the one area where negotiations can still get at least a little bit contentious. Agents feel the rookies should not have offset language because of the sacrifices made with the rookie wage scale. Naturally, teams want to keep offset language so they can cover their butts to some extent if the player does not work out.
When Eric Reid's deal became official, several folks reported that the deal did not include the offset language. I spoke briefly with Joel Corry about offset language. He said that in 2011, Cam Newton was the only player to have a contract with no offset language. In 2012, there was no offset language in contracts for the top seven picks, as well as picks No. 9, 14 and 23.
Corry was not sure why the 49ers were not able to work in offset language. This is a team that has done a great job securing team friendly contracts. The 49ers are certainly hoping Reid is great and the offset language wouldn't come into play anyway, it is still interesting to see the team appear to lose a negotiation battle. Of course, we don't know what happened in the negotiating room. No offset language is a loss for the 49ers, but we don't know what they got in return, so we're left to speculate.
I would imagine however that this is one reason the deal took a little longer than A.J. Jenkins' deal last year (a little under three weeks longer).