Eagles ink Lane Johnson to four-year deal

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Eagles ink Lane Johnson to four-year deal

July 20, 2013, 10:30 pm

The Eagles and first-round draft pick Lane Johnson agreed late Saturday night to terms on a four-year contract worth nearly $20 million, guaranteeing that Johnson won’t miss any practice time before reporting to training camp.

Johnson, an offensive tackle from Oklahoma, was the fourth player taken in this year’s draft. The Eagles now have all eight of their rookie draft picks under contract heading into training camp, which opens Monday at the NovaCare Complex.

"We're very excited to have all of our draft picks ready to go for the start of training camp," general manager Howie Roseman said.

"I give Lane and his agent, Ken Sarnoff, a lot of credit for their work in getting this deal complete. Both had stated to us how important it was to get this deal signed before the rookies report on Monday and they kept their word. We're all looking forward to watch Lane get his NFL career started."

According to a source familiar with the contract, the deal includes the so-called offset language that protects the Eagles in the extremely unlikely but possible event that they release Johnson before the contract expires.

Without offset language, if Johnson was released and picked up another team, the player would be paid by both franchises. The first would pay the remaining pro-rated portion of his deal, since the contract is fully guaranteed, and the second would assume weekly pro-rated payments of the remaining base salary as well.

Since this deal includes offset language, the Eagles would not have to pay Johnson any remaining money he is owed under original terms of the deal. According to the way the rookie wage scale works under terms of the CBA signed in 2011, the first 18 players taken in this year's draft will have fully guaranteed contracts.

Although Johnson's contract includes offset language, Johnson’s signing bonus is paid in full now. A source said Johnson will get a signing bonus of about $12.82 million as part of a deal worth about $19.85 million. Johnson’s cap hits will range from about $3.6 million this year to about $6.3 million in 2016.

Johnson is projected as the Eagles’ starting right tackle going into training camp. The last rookie to start a season-opener for the Eagles at offensive tackle was John Welbourn, a fourth-round pick in 1998.

He’s the first player the Eagles have drafted with a top-five pick since Donovan McNabb was the second pick 14 years ago. It’s the highest they’ve taken an offensive lineman since 1973, when they made Jerry Sisemore the third pick out of Texas.

The 23-year-old Johnson was a quarterback and tight end at Kilgore College, a junior college in Texas, before transferring to Oklahoma, where he started out as a tight end and defensive end before finally converting to offensive line in time for the 2011 season. He has started only 23 games in his life at offensive line.

Johnson and the other rookies are scheduled to report to the NovaCare Complex on Monday, with practice starting on Tuesday. The first full team practices are slated for Friday. The Eagles’ first practice open to fans is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at the Linc.

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