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Why the NY Jets haven't signed Zach Wilson to his rookie contract yet

NY Jets, Zach Wilson
NY Jets, Zach Wilson / Chris Pedota, NorthJersey.com via Imagn
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Zach Wilson remains one of two unsigned first-round picks and is on the verge of missing the first practice of NY Jets training camp. But why? What could possibly be the hold-up?

The Jets and Wilson's representatives remain at odds over a relatively insignificant clause in the rookie quarterback's contract. But the Jets aren't alone in this.

The San Francisco 49ers are currently embroiled in a similar situation with their rookie quarterback, Trey Lance, for seemingly similar reasons.

'But rookie contracts are slotted,' you say. 'What could be preventing the two sides from reaching an agreement?' The simple answer is "offset language."

But what the hell is "offset language"?

Why the NY Jets and Zach Wilson haven't reached a deal yet.

In the simplest terms, offset language allows a team to avoid paying out any guaranteed money if a player is released and is paid a salary by another team.

This only ever really comes into play if a player is in that sweet spot of "bad enough to get released, but not bad enough to never play again." It's an uncommon situation and Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap broke down just how rare it is.

Of the 71 players drafted in the top-10 since 2011 that have already reached their rookie contract outcome, just one player has ever had this offset language come into play. That being former NY Giants draft bust Ereck Flowers.

And even in that case, the amount of money the Giants saved was pennies compared to the $14.3 million contract he signed. I don't have the exact figure, but it was likely less than $1 million.

Is it really worth it to risk your rookie quarterback missing valuable practice time for something like this? A situation that has a 1.4 percent chance of occurring given the data Fitzgerald accumulated.

The short answer really should be no. But here we are.

As is always the case with contract negotiations, the real issue comes down to the precedent that has been set. The Jets are one of 30 NFL teams that typically include offset language in their contracts, so this isn't out of the ordinary for them or the NFL.

However, both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Chicago Bears didn't include offset language for their rookie quarterbacks, Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields. The real death knell was Fields who was selected nine picks after Wilson.

How can the Jets justify Wilson having offset language when Fields didn't receive any? You also have the fact that both the Jets and 49ers are likely waiting on the other to make a deal first.

After all, it's all about obeying prior precedent. If the Jets give in to Wilson, Lance's reps will have yet another bargaining chip at their disposal. But if Wilson doesn't get his way, it's unlikely that Lance will either.

This is, of course, true for the inverse as well.

Ultimately, none of this means much. Zach Wilson will eventually sign his rookie contract and we'll all likely forget about this by the first preseason game.

Next. NY Jets: 4 surprise cuts the team could make this summer. dark

But this entire situation is avoidable and unnecessary. And that's what makes it so annoying.

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