Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Offset fight continues for Vikings, Matt Kalil
By Kevin Seifert
Tuesday's SportsNation chat brought a number of questions about the Minnesota Vikings' negotiations with first-round draft choice Matt Kalil, and whether there was any chance of a holdout in an era of what are supposed to be cookie-cutter rookie contracts. We discussed the general parameters of the unresolved "offset clause" issue last month, but Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com offers a far more detailed analysis of why the Vikings haven't yet surrendered in a fight most teams have lost.
The disagreement is significant enough, Pelissero writes, that "for the first time, there appears to be a real chance this issue may not be resolved before players report to training camp on Thursday afternoon."
Deadlines have a way of working out contract issues, as we learned earlier this month with the Chicago Bears and tailback Matt Forte. But as of this moment, Kalil is one of only four unsigned players among the top 19 picks in the draft. It's worth looking at why.
To review, an "offset clause" allows a team to avoid paying a portion of guaranteed money if the player is released and signs elsewhere. The team would not have to pay the difference between the remaining guarantee and the player's salary with the new team.
This summer, most teams have abandoned attempts to insert an offset clause, leaving the player in position to "double dip" and be paid by two teams in the unlikely event he is released during the span of the contract. The Vikings have held firm by citing an organizational policy of offset clauses in all contracts, according to Pelissero. But Kalil's agents have protested on the grounds that the Vikings actually used them with some of their 2011 rookies. The Vikings consider that instance to be an anomaly caused by the transition from one collective bargaining agreement (CBA) to another.
Pelissero offers more detail for those interested. But in the big picture, the Vikings and Kalil are enmeshed in a more significant dispute than we could have expected from a rookie negotiation in 2012. A deal will eventually be reached, but time is running short if Kalil is to report on time Thursday. Stay tuned.