What would the Cleveland Browns be if they did not have some off the field drama unfolding? The days are getting closer to the opening of Training Camp,1 but Jabrill Peppers remains one of the seven unsigned first-round draft picks. The Browns other two first-round picks, Myles Garrett (No. 1) and David Njoku (No. 29), have signed their rookie contracts.
The other unsigned first-round picks are Mitchell Trubisky (No. 2, Chicago Bears), Solomon Thomas (No. 3, San Francisco 49ers), Corey Davis (No. 5, Tennessee Titans), Jamal Adams (No. 6, New York Jets), Patrick Mahomes (No. 10, Kansas City Chiefs), and Gareon Conley (No. 24, Oakland Raiders) making Peppers (No. 25) the lowest selection remaining unsigned.
Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk noted league sources told him more information on the reasons Peppers has yet to sign.
The reason for Conley’s lack of a contract is obvious; he’s the subject of an unresolved sexual assault investigation in Ohio. So why is Peppers the only first-round pick beyond the top 10 other than Conley who isn’t signed?
Per a league source with knowledge of the situation, the amount of the guaranteed money is one of the primary terms holding up the deal.
Jabrill Peppers did not mention Florio or ProFootballTalk specifically, but he was not having it.
The contract kerfuffle innuendo was not the first time Peppers has taken the time to voice displeasure with Florio. ProFootballTalk was not shy in throwing Peppers under the bus with a pure, wild, unsourced speculation about why he didn’t immediately sign his participation agreement.
no testing occurs (either substance-abuse or PED) until a player signs his rookie deal or inks a participation agreement that promises he’ll receive the contract he would have gotten if he suffers a serious injury during offseason workouts. Regardless of whether Peppers didn’t sign a participation agreement with the specific purpose of avoiding drug testing, that’s the practical result.
Peppers signed the participation agreement after missing a single day of the rookie mini-camp. After failing a drug test at the NFL Combine due to a diluted sample (Peppers claims it was due to over-hyrdration from participating both as a defensive back and a linebacker), Peppers was protective of that narrative developing. Here is what he had to say about any inferences he did not sign due to being worried about failing another drug test.
— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) May 13, 2017
That isn’t to say there isn’t some concern about Peppers remaining unsigned. His agency is the same Tom Condon led Creative Artists Agency that was employed by Joey Bosa of the San Diego Chargers who became one of the rare rookies under the new NFL CBA to hold out. Bosa’s hold out centered around offset language, a signing bonus payment schedule, and the contract phrasing that allowed the voiding of guaranteed monies if a player is fined. Given the brutal nature of the game, the agency has taken the stance that it is important for players to obtain as much guaranteed as they can.
Even so, Browns fans should not fret. Peppers is merely using the only have leverage NFL rookies are afforded before they sign their contract. Once the ink is dry, they are stuck with the agreement. There are still a couple weeks before Training Camp opens for the team, and Peppers has noted on several occasions he desires to start on time. If he is delayed a bit though, it’s not like missing a few early practices hurt Bosa’s rookie season.
- If only WFNY had their very own tracker to help us know how many days are left. Oh wait… [↩]