Mosher's Mailbag: Lane Johnson's contract

Mosher's Mailbag: Lane Johnson's contract

July 14, 2013, 9:00 am
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The Eagles selected Lane Johnson with the fourth pick in the 2013 NFL draft. (AP)

Have a question for Eagles insider Geoff Mosher? Submit it via twitter (@GeoffMosherCSN) or e-mail (gmosher@comcastsportsnet.com).

Q. “What’s the story on [Lane] Johnson’s contact?”

- PhillyDon (@dwr8810)

A. Offset language. It’s the only real haggling point for agents and general managers under the CBA negotiated during the 2011 lockout. Contracts for top-end draft picks are fully guaranteed. Therefore, if Lane Johnson -- the fourth-overall pick -- were to be released before the end of his fourth year and pass through waivers, he’d be able to sign with another team and collect another salary on top of the money already owed to him by the Eagles. Offset language would take the Eagles off the hook dollar-for-dollar for whatever salary Johnson made as a free agent. (In most cases, it’s an argument over a couple hundred thousand).

The hunch here is that Johnson’s agent is waiting to see how talks transpire between No. 3 pick Dion Jordan and the Dolphins, who last year were able to work offset language into the contract of No. 9 overall pick Ryan Tannehill and are expected to demand the same for Jordan. Could it result in a holdout? Potentially. Tannehill missed a few days of camp last year. But I wouldn’t be too worried about Johnson doing the same.

Q. “Geoff, do you think Chip Kelly secretly has a QB already picked?”

- Andrew Svrcek

A. Honestly, I don’t. So far, Chip hasn’t given any reason to doubt him when he says that his competition is open and the best performer will win. Kelly might secretly hope that Foles or Matt Barkley outperform Vick in camp to give him a foundation to build on and not be stuck in the same place at this time next year, but Kelly has no idea how any of his QBs will execute his offense in pads under the intense spotlight. Those are important traits that will factor into his decision. I’m sure Kelly is curious to see if his system can masquerade Vick’s weaknesses and capitalize on his best attributes, which are mobility and arm strength. If Vick can demonstrate improvement in ball security and release time, he could easily win the job and enable Kelly to incorporate more read-option into the playbook.

Q. “What do you see as the biggest strength for the Eagles' D? Talent on the line is still there but does the change in scheme negate talent?

- Joshua Muckelston

A. The scheme changes throw several futures into question, especially those of Trent Cole and Brandon Graham. Neither has played the outside linebacker role in a 3-4 alignment, and the idea of those guys dropping into coverage -- even just to patrol a small area -- against the experienced, veteran QBs of the NFL make me uneasy about their transitions. On the flip side, the scheme change should benefit Fletcher Cox and Mychal Kendricks, two young and very promising building blocks on the defense. Cox should have no problems adjusting to defensive end on first downs and providing interior pass rush on passing downs. He has Pro Bowl and superstar potential. Kendricks, who was miscast last year as a strong-side linebacker, has the ideal quickness and instincts to play inside. He needs to improve against the run, but he bulked up in the offseason to be more prepared for the grind. He also doesn’t have to play behind a wide-nine defensive front that welcomed offensive linemen into the second level. That’s a big bonus.

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