Sam Darnold deal holdup hinges on forfeiture language

As Jets camp wages on, rookie quarterback Sam Darnold is nowhere to be seen. What gives?

NFL Network's Michael Silver reported Sunday that the contract holdup between Gang Green and Darnold's camp isn't based around "offsets or money payouts," per sources close to the negotiation.

Instead, the snag centers around forfeiture language, which is standard in most NFL contracts and a parameter the Jets include in all their deals with players.

Essentially, forfeiture language allows the team to recoup money if a player is injured while engaging in certain activities outside of football, with Silver offering "skiing" and "mountain climbing" as examples.

While the Bears are at odds with fellow first-rounder Roquan Smith over the league's new lowering-of-the-helmet rule -- and the financial protections in Smith's deal should the linebacker be suspended for such a hit -- Darnold's delay is based around language most fans would deem exceedingly nebulous.

Darnold's cadre, though, feels otherwise and continues to battle for the best pact possible. As Silver noted, "forfeiture language seems like a strange hill for his agents to die on but ... that's the way it's playing out."

With Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater on the roster, days missed by Darnold genuinely impact his chance to win the job.

McCown was a mostly reliable veteran starter for the Jets a year ago, while Silver reported Bridgewater, two years removed from a severe knee injury, "looks very impressive."

We largely ignored Darnold's absence a week ago, but his contract status is now officially on the radar as the Jets mine their way into August.

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