With the 2012 off-season practices now in the rear-view mirror, several are asking why Pittsburgh Steelers first round draft pick David DeCastro still hasn\'t been signed. The short answer is minor details and the long answer likely has something to do with whether the guaranteed amounts in the contract are "offset", per Andrew Brandt on Twitter.
Basically offsets mean that if a player is released and goes and plays for another team, whatever money he makes from the other team is offset against what he was scheduled to receive from his prior team, per Brandt via a chat on ESPN.com.
Brandt used quarterback Jake Delhomme as an example of offsets from a few years ago. Delhomme received $12.6 million in guarantees in his last extension from the Carolina Panthers in 2009. When he was signed by the Cleveland Browns following his release from the Panthers, his new contract was above and beyond his owed guarantees. Essentially his guaranteed money in Carolina had no offset and thus no cap relief for the Panthers.
The first hold up, which I covered earlier this off-season, was whether or not the fourth year of the contract with DeCastro would be fully guaranteed or not. Agents were waiting to see how far down round one that they could bargain for this. The line in sand seems to have been drawn by the New England Patriots when they signed Chandler Jones to a four-year, $8.173 million contract. That deal contained $7.42 million guaranteed, of which $4.384 million was a signing bonus. The first three years of base salaries were fully guaranteed along with $752,284 of his fourth-year $1.504 million base salary.
There still might be a little squabbling about how much of the fourth year is guaranteed with DeCastro, but the overall value of the contract is likely pretty much set thanks to the slotting system in the new CBA. The minor details with the offsets should be squared away soon.
Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden and Detroit Lions tackle Riley Reiff also remain unsigned right now, so DeCastro and his agent are likely waiting for those two deals to get done, as to not leave any money on the table. Weeden told the media recently that it was just nitpicking stuff holding up his rookie deal and that he expects to be under contract by the time the Browns start training camp. I fully expect DeCastro will be as well.