FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- A look at what's happening around the New York Jets:
Bosa was the third overall pick in 2016 -- same draft slot as Darnold -- and it took 31 days from the start of training camp to get a contract from the San Diego Chargers, who demanded offset language and a partial deferment of a $17 million signing bonus. The Bosa camp was agreeable to one, but not both -- and it turned nasty. His situation was an outlier. Under the current system, the negotiating of a rookie contract usually is a layup.
I don't think the Jets/Darnold situation will get that bad because, unlike the notoriously cheap Chargers, the Jets have a good reputation at the negotiating table. Sure, there was Darrelle Revis and his contract dramas, but he was an aberration.
Darnold's impasse might be slightly different from the Bosa saga because it also involves guaranteed money -- specifically, language that protects the player from having his guarantees voided. From Darnold's perspective, this might be a bigger sticking point than the much-publicized offset clause.
I know some folks are wondering about the significance of the offset issue. Basically, an offset allows the team to recoup monies owed to the player if he's released and signs with another team.
Example: Darnold's contract with will be four years, $30.2 million, fully guaranteed, based on the rookie wage scale. If the Jets release him before his fourth season, they still owe him the fourth-year salary ($4.6 million) because of the guarantee. If he signs with another team for, say, $1 million, the Jets are on the hook for only $3.6 million. That's what an offset does; it gives the team some protection.
Without an offset, he'd make $5.6 million -- his full take from the Jets, plus his new salary. It's called double-dipping. Historically, the only teams that do deal with no offsets are the Jacksonville Jaguars and Los Angeles Rams. The Jets have always included offsets in their rookie deals, and they don't want to start what they believe would be a dangerous precedent by making an exception for Darnold. Two other quarterbacks drafted in the top seven, Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen, accepted the offset clause.
Let's be realistic, shall we? Unless Darnold turns into Christian Hackenberg, he won't be cut before his contract expires. He should show some confidence in himself, take the Jets' offer, get into camp and show everyone he can be their franchise quarterback. The organization expects him to compete for the starting job, but his chances will fade if he misses preseason action.
There's one caveat: What we don't know is the Jets' proposal on the structure of the signing bonus ($20 million). If the Jets are trying to pull a San Diego -- i.e., deferring a big chunk of the bonus to 2019 -- it makes Darnold's stance more understandable. We also don't know the specifics of the voidable language.
These things usually get worked out with a compromise: The player agrees to the offset in exchange for a bigger up-front payout. That's how the Bosa situation got resolved. He wound up being an all-rookie player, but it's easier for a defensive end than a quarterback to overcome a long contract standoff. A 31-day dispute could ruin Darnold's rookie season. The Jets can't afford that. Neither can Darnold.
2. Leo ain't lyin': Interesting observation/admission from Leonard Williams. Looking back on 2017, he said his disappointing sack production (two) can be attributed, in part, to fatigue.
"I'm a tall guy, so sometimes near the third or fourth quarter, when I start to get tired -- you know, I get a lot of snaps, I'm not going to use that as an excuse -- but when I start to get tired, I start to stand up a little bit and stuff like that," he said. "It's just small details like that, staying low throughout the whole game and fighting through when you're tired and always hustling to the ball."
Let's unpack that statement.
He's right; he had no sacks in the third and fourth quarter (both came in the second quarter), but I don't think it was a matter of him being overworked. Williams played 78 percent of the defensive snaps, 12th in the league among defensive linemen, per Football Outsiders. That's not an outrageous play-time percentage.
Reading between the lines, Williams was really saying he needs to be in better shape. When a player is gassed, his pad level rises -- and that's not good. This is a pivotal year for the former first-round pick, who will be in line for a long-term contract extension after the season. He's signed through 2019. Ideally, the Jets would like to lock him before he plays on his fifth-year option next season.
3. Four! They were the Jets' version of the Core Four -- D'Brickashaw Ferguson, David Harris, Nick Mangold and Revis. Ferguson and Mangold were drafted in 2006, Harris and Revis in 2007. They played a combined total of 39 seasons and 586 games in the green and white. With Revis' retirement, it means the four are no more.
No, the Jets never reached a Super Bowl with their Core Fore, but they've discovered how hard it can be to replace good players. Consider the four cases:
Ferguson, left tackle: Former Pro Bowl tackle Ryan Clady was acquired in a trade as soon as Ferguson retired, but he was a bust. Ben Ijalana finished out the 2016 season, and now they're on to Kelvin Beachum.
Harris, middle linebacker: The Jets re-acquired Demario Davis last season before releasing Harris. Davis did solid work, but he didn't get a free-agent offer to return. Instead, they signed Avery Williamson, whom they believe is an upgrade.
Mangold, center: His understudy, Wesley Johnson, was handed the job last season, but it didn't work out. Once again, they resorted to free agency, signing Spencer Long.
Revis, cornerback: Morris Claiborne replaced Revis as the No. 1 cornerback last season, with modest success. The Jets decided to upgrade in a big way, giving Trumaine Johnson one of the richest free-agent contracts in team history.
4. Blasts from past: Three former players will serve as coaching interns in camp, including former Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie. The others are Derrick Alexander (wide receivers) and Randy Starks (defensive line). Yes, that Randy Starks. As a member of the Miami Dolphins, the 315-pound tackle intercepted two passes by Mark Sanchez in the 2011 finale -- aka the Santonio Holmes Meltdown Game.
On a side note, Cromartie is assisting the linebackers, not the defensive backs. Coach Todd Bowles said Cromartie will be a better coach if he expands his base of knowledge.
5. End of an era: In a surprising move, the Jets last month dismissed longtime employee Clay Hampton, the senior director of team operations since 2006. Hampton, 50, grew up with the Jets, as his father, the late Bill Hampton, was the equipment manager from 1964 to 2000. Clay started as a ball boy and worked his way up to an executive position. This marks the first time in more than a half-century that no one from the Hampton family is working for the Jets. A team spokesman declined to comment.
6. Farewell to a friend: Bowles was deeply affected by the sudden death of Minnesota Vikings assistant Tony Sparano. They spent seven years together on the staffs of the Dallas Cowboys and Dolphins. Bowles had planned to fly to Minneapolis for the funeral, but his flight was canceled on Thursday.
"Words can't describe what happened," Bowles said. "That one will stick with me forever. A very good friend, a very good friend. A tough deal to swallow."