Dive deeper into the potential reasons Steelers QB Kenny Beckett is unsigned

If you believe the reports on Wednesday that the New England Patriots have reached an understanding with rookie center Cole String, the team’s first round draft picks this one up. If those reports are correct, it would leave Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett as the only non-signee in the first-round draft in this year’s draft class. So, what’s the drawback with Beckett’s signature? Let’s delve into it.

First, all of these junior contracts are slotted, so waiting with Beckett doesn’t mean he wants more money. The total value of Pickett’s four-year rookie deal should be $14,067,904 and his signing bonus should be $741,203. In addition, Pickett’s full contract will be fully guaranteed. There is no doubt about that.

So, could the offset language be the problem? What are the compensation anyway?

Offsets are basically insurance for a team on guaranteed money if they need to cut a player before the rookie deal expires. Basically, with offset language in contracts, a player who is cut before completing their four-year contract will get the remaining guaranteed money reduced by what he earns with the next team he signs with, if he signs with another team. Without the language of displacement, the player can basically double across his old team and his new team.

Now, compensation usually becomes a huge bargaining point within the top 10 picks of the NFL draft. With Pickett, I suppose his agent might want to treat Pickett’s offset like the first quarterback taken in previous drafts, which usually happens in the first 10 picks, not like the 20th overall pick. Regardless of that speculation, former NFL agent Joel Corey, writing for CBS Sports, told me earlier today that if Beckett insists on offset as part of his four-year contract, he will likely end up with him. It is in the absence of regular season matches. He doesn’t think the Steelers will budge on this part of the negotiations. Corey tells me he suspects reparations are the problem.

So, if the problem with Pickett isn’t the lump sum and money guaranteed and it’s not compensation language, what could be the disruption. Basically, the remaining sticking point will likely be the time frame for Pickett’s signature bonus. Corey talked about signing the bonus payment structure for players that was drafted several weeks ago on his podcast.

“The other sticking point was paying the signing bonus,” Corey said. “Historically, I’ve seen bonus signings in draft deals and in major deals paid out in two to four installments. They don’t get paid a lump sum. But what we’ve been seeing in recent years are first-round picks at the top of the draft, they’re starting to get bonuses. Signature for a lump sum.

“This is a new practice we are starting to see. Last year, the top three picks received their lump sum signing bonuses: Trevor Lawrence, Zack Wilson, Tre Lance. In 2020, the top two picks earned lump sum signing bonuses: Joe Borough, Chase Young. 2019 , Nick Bosa took a signing bonus in a lump sum. 2018, Sam Darnold got a signing bonus in a lump sum. So, that’s going to be a major issue we’re seeing this year among the first-round picks at the top of the draft.”

Well, Beckett isn’t a first-class pick, is it? While that is certainly true, the fact that Beckett was the first midfielder to play this year could cause his side to push hard for the full payment of the signing bonus within 15 days of signing his deal. By the way, Pickett’s agent is Brian Ayrault, and he also represents Burrow and Wilson, both of whom received lump sum signing bonuses after signing junior contracts. This is a reasonable reason to stop. Obviously, the agent wants his client to get their money back as quickly as possible. On the other hand, the team will likely want to try to extend the payment time frame as long as possible.

At least, it’s a good bet that Ayrault wants to fully reward Beckett for signing by the start of the league’s 2023 year in March. However, this is just my guess again.

Now, going beyond compensation and signing bonus payout timing, is there anything else that could be negotiable when it comes to Beckett’s starter deal? This is possible and could be related to year 2 and 3 roster bonuses.

The player drafted before Pickett this year, New Orleans Saints deals with Trevor Benning, and the player drafted right after Pickett, Kansas City cornerstone head Trent McDuffy, both received bonuses in the second and third years as part of their deals, instead. of the basic salary. These list bonuses, as far as I know, are due at the start of bootcamp each year. The roster rewards in Years Two and Three for players selected in the first round appear to have kicked off this year with Treylon Burks’ wide receiver of the Tennessee Titans, his 18th overall pick. It is very likely that Beckett’s agent lobbied for the roster bonuses within a few days of the start of each league year rather than the start of bootcamp. After all, an agent wants their player to get their money back as quickly as possible, right?

As Mike Florio from Pro Football Talk Written a few years ago, Bootcamp menu rewards have become an alternative to removing the offset language from the player’s guaranteed money at the top of the draft. However, many players have language in their contracts that allows list bonuses to not be paid if they are on an NFI (non-football injury) list. Maybe Pickett’s agent is trying to negotiate his client’s expected menu rewards so he doesn’t get lost in the NFI menu? Again, this is just speculation on my part, but it’s something to keep in mind.

In closing, after chatting briefly with Corey, I think the disruption with Pickett may actually be related to the signing bonus payment timeline. Basically, my updated theory now is that Ayrault wants to treat Beckett contractually like the number one quarterback drawn in the draft, as opposed to a non-quarterback who is drafted 20th overall.

So how long do we have to wait for Beckett to sign? I wish I had an answer to this question. The Steelers will likely continue playing hardball with Ayrault and wait for him to collapse. If Beckett were closer to being a top 10 pick, it probably wouldn’t be. If the Steelers are to make any unusual concessions to Beckett this year, it could be used against them in negotiations in the coming years and especially the next time they may pick 20th place in the first round.

It’s only June 22 and that means we have more than a month before the Steelers are scheduled to submit to Latrobe to start their 2022 training camp. Because of that, I’d be surprised if Beckett is still out of a signature by then. However, in the meantime, we may wait a little longer for Beckett to sign his debutante deal and he could end up being the last signed member of the 2022 draft class. We’ll see.