The Miami Dolphins have inked 3rd round pick DE Kendall Langford. Langford is the 7th of Miami’s 9 draft picks to sign. While contract details are not immediately known, the news is good for a team who is now only 2 picks away from having all rookies signed with 2 weeks until training camp.
While Langford is now under ink, the remaining two, late 2nd rounder Chad Henne and 32nd overall pick DE Phillip Merling are not. The issue does not appear to be money but in actuality a CBA issue.
The players union notified rookie agents to wait on negotiating deals for the 2nd round draft picks across the league. The reason is that the CBA has been rescinded by ownership leaving a possible uncapped year in 2011. That causes a contract problem for 2nd round draft picks who tend to sign 4 year deals with a bonus paid out in year 4…2011. With no cap that money can not be paid out or guaranteed. A specialist hired by the NFL is overseeing a resolve to the issue for this draft class and owners are to discuss it within the next 2 weeks.
A concession by the owners was to give the bonus money, as it is guaranteed, to the player in year 2, but the problem is that in year two, rookies are normally not released whereas in year 4 they could be. That money paid out in year 4 will usually keep the player on an active roster. The agents realize that the rookie will not have that protection in year 2 and therefore are holding off until a decision can be made next week on how to proceed.
While it may seem like a holdout on the part of the player, in reality it is an issue of contractual ability within the state of the now lame duck CBA. To date only one 2nd rounder has been signed, and that was in Chicago.