It appears that when the Miami Dolphins report to training camp on July 20th, they will not have signed their first round pick defensive end Dion Jordan from Oregon. Normally this would be bigger news around Dolphins camp, but the signings of high profile free agents such as wide receiver Mike Wallace and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe this offseason have overshadowed his absence.
Camp is almost upon us so the question is: should we be concerned?
As with everything there are two sides to every story. On the one hand the Miami Dolphins are playing hardball and trying to get offset language into Jordan’s contract. For us non contract law aficionados, no offset language means that in the event that a player is cut during their rookie contract and passes through waivers, the player hopes to keep the full value of the contract in addition to their salary with a new team.
Last season the Dolphins were able to get quarterback Ryan Tannehill to agree to offset language, making him the only player in the top nine with such an agreement.
That being said Tannehill was taken with the eighth overall pick and the Dolphins traded up to select Jordan No. 3 overall. Since the new CBA rookie scale rules players taken that high are typically given fully guaranteed contracts, but Miami has continued to push to change that. The Dolphins aren’t the only ones doing that, however, seven of the top ten picks from this year’s draft have yet to sign because other teams are trying to get the same language into their contracts.
The Jacksonville Jaguars signed offensive tackle Luke Joeckel, who was taken second overall, to a four-year, rookie contract worth $21.2 million that is fully guaranteed with no offset language. The Detroit Lions signed defensive end Ziggy Ansah, who was the fifth overall pick, to a five year deal that also doesn’t contain offset language. This sets the stage for the Dolphins to sign Jordan to a deal roughly around the $20 million mark.
As for Jordan, he missed mini camps and OTA’s (though he did attend rookie mini camp) because his class schedule clashed with the dates and his absence was excused. Unfortunately, however, Jordan has three days to get a contract done in order for him to report to camp on time. As a rookie, missing time is not ideal, but it’s not time to panic.
There’s no question Jordan will be behind the first few times he hits the field, but both sides are working to get him to camp as soon as possible. Jordan also has the luxury of learning from veteran pro-bowler Cameron Wake. NFL.com recently ranked Wake as the third best edge rusher in the NFL only behind Von Miller and Clay Matthews, so Miami’s rookie will be learning from one of the best.
Last year’s transition to the 4-3 defense helped Wake thrive and the addition of Jordan should make the pass rush extremely dynamic. Hopefully GM Jeff Ireland and Jordan’s agent are working around the clock to get a deal done so that we can see the duo of Wake and Jordan sacking the quarterback as soon as possible.