The Kansas City Chiefs may hold the rights to Dontari Poe, but until the rookie signs a contract he won’t officially be a Kansas City Chiefs.
Chiefs GM Scott Pioli has three days.
The Chiefs will begin arriving at training camp on Thursday and it would be ideal for Poe to have a contract before then so he can get in on time. The first organized team practice will take place on Friday morning.
It is a little but surprising that Poe doesn’t have a deal done yet. The draft picks directly in front of and behind him have been signed for a while now.
Still, there are a handful of first-round players who have yet to ink their deals, though more and more are getting something done as camps get closer. The Cleveland Browns managed to ink second overall pick Trent Richardson yesterday and they are reportedly close to signing QB Brandon Weeden.
Chances are the Chiefs and Poe will get something done before camp so there is no reason to panic yet. Rookie signings have been much swifter this offseason thanks to the perimeters of the new CBA.
The holdup here might not have as much to do with actual dollar amounts as it does with a clause in the contracts called “offset language.” Basically what that means is that the Chiefs would get some relief should they cut Poe before his contract is up. For instance, say Poe is a huge bust and the Chiefs cut him after two years. Let’s say Poe is due $2 million in the third year of his contract. The Chiefs would still owe Poe that $2 million even if they cut him, even if he signed with another team. If offset language is in the contract and Poe signs elsewhere, the Chiefs will only be on the hook for the difference, if the difference is less than what Poe is owed by the Chiefs. So if Poe is due $2 million in year three and he signs a one-year contract worth $1 million with another team, the Chiefs would only owe Poe $1 million.
There hasn’t been any proof that this is what is holding up the Chiefs and Poe but there have been rumors in NFL circles that this issue is the main problem in most negotiations. The players want all their money even if they get cut and the teams want protection should the player bust.
Whatever the holdup, the Chiefs and Poe had better get a move on. The clock is ticking.