The Holdup with Mingo’s Contract


May 10, 2013; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns linebacker Barkevious Mingo (51) practices during rookie minicamp at the Cleveland Browns Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

As training camp inches closer, there are fans that are increasingly nervous about the contract status of Barkevious Mingo.  The bottom line is no one should be concerned, because there is just no upside to a holdout by either the player or the team with the way the new collective bargaining agreement is structured.  There is only one issue that agents and teams are quibbling over, which is a small issue and ultimately one that both sides hope never has to matter; offset language.

This concept sounds more complicated than it is, since certain members in the local media who shall remain nameless do not seem to understand how it works.  It basically comes down to the agent wanting the fifth year of the contract fully guaranteed.  So, the agent is fighting for the right for his client to be terrible enough to be let go before the fifth year, get paid by the team that drafted them and the new team that signs them.  The team is fighting for the ability to get the amount of money back equal to what that player gets from the new team up to the value of the fifth year of the contract.  Essentially, the agent and the team are fighting over the worst case scenario possible.  The agent wants their client to be able to get paid twice and the team would rather get some money back if they do end up on another team.

For those wondering why Mingo is one of the guys not signed, the reason is that this concept is being fought right around the fifth and sixth picks.  Agents are pushing for these contracts to be fully guaranteed and every year, they are looking to get a little further down the draft order.  The top four picks are fully guaranteed as was Trent Richardson last year.  Naturally, the agents are trying to push the boundary and get the next pick that guaranteed deal, which is where Mingo falls.  Each time they are successful and get the fully guaranteed deal, they go ahead and assume that means that draft slot is now entitled.  The agent for the next pick is then going to push to get it and the cycle just repeats itself.

When push comes to shove, the deal will get done and Mingo will be in camp on time simply because this is not a big enough issue that something will not get worked out in time.  Since the CBA was passed, there have not been any rookie holdouts and the Browns with Mingo are not going to be the first.  Both sides are smart enough to know that he needs to be in camp on time.  The Browns obviously have a lot riding on his development and Mingo has stated his goal is to start.  He is going to need every second of camp if he is hoping to beat out Jabaal Sheard or Paul Kruger.

Certainly, it would be nice to have Mingo already signed and fans could have that warm and fuzzy feeling that everyone is signed and ready to go to camp.  Mingo will be and there is nothing he cannot be doing right now because he is not signed.  There are fans that are more stressed about the situation than Mingo is because he knows what everyone else should know.   This is a small issue that should never come up if Mingo becomes the player the Browns drafted him to be; a franchise pass rusher.  That is ultimately what makes the offset language discussion funny; agents and teams fighting over the contingency for what happens if they were dead wrong and the player is terrible.  There is a little posturing going on, but Mingo will be there the first day of camp ready to go, flying around the field.  Fans can refocus their stress and angst on Mingo tearing up his knee on a stray blade of grass the first play of camp (knock on wood).