Zach Wilson was the most notable rookie absent from his team’s first day of training camp Thursday, as the New York Jets quarterback has not yet signed his rookie contract.
Despite the structured nature of rookie contracts, Wilson and the Jets were unable to come to an agreement prior to Tuesday. That meant the No. 2 overall pick was absent, with “multiple roadblocks” reportedly holding up a deal.
According to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk, the primary issues surrounding Wilson’s contract are tied to cash flow and offset language. The Jets are seeking to defer signing bonus money to 2022, which would be unusual among recent top picks. Wilson is also seeking to have offset language removed from the contract in order to ensure that Wilson’s deal is fully guaranteed even if the Jets trade or release him before it expires.
Wilson’s stance is driven by the fact that he has leverage, as James Morgan and Mike White are the only other quarterbacks on the Jets’ roster. So far, however, neither side has blinked on the two key issues.
Prior to the draft, Wilson was hit with the dreaded “character concerns” label, which the Jets obviously weren’t put off by. Maybe this sort of thing is what the critics meant. That said, negotiations go both ways, and a contract dispute won’t be a big deal unless it drags on and Wilson starts missing practice reps. If this ends up being the most drama Wilson causes for the Jets, they’ll probably be perfectly okay with that.