FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- It was an unexpectedly difficult contract negotiation that lasted a few days longer than anyone expected. And for a while, it seemed that neither side was particularly happy with the demands of the other.
For Jets GM Mike Maccagnan and agent Jimmy Sexton, that probably seemed like business as usual. They've been through plenty of contract battles before and understand how they work and why.
But what about Sam Darnold, the 21-year-old Jets quarterback who was holed up near the Jets' facility, waiting this out, and experiencing it for the first time? Will there be any hard feelings over how the Jets played a little bit of hardball with him?
Darnold wasn't allowed to speak to the media on Monday after he signed his four-year, $30.25 million contract, so it's hard to gauge how he feels. But Maccagnan sounded confident that his first-round pick is mature enough to understand.
"I would imagine he probably understands it's a process," Maccagnan said. "We'll see how time plays out, but I don't anticipate any hard feelings from that. I think he understands that, unlike college, it's a business now.
"I think with Sam, he's always stayed to the side and let the team deal with his agent. We kind of just worked through our process, and he was sort of off to the side. At least I don't think things were quite that bad that there would be any kind of bad feelings."
There seems to be no reason that there would be, especially since Darnold -- or, more accurately, Darnold's agent -- received some concessions from the Jets. In exchange for allowing "offset language" into the deal, according to a source familiar with the contract, Sexton had the Jets remove a clause that would've allowed the team to void the guarantees in his deal if he was simply fined by the NFL. He also got the Jets to pay his entire $20 million signing bonus up front, the source said, which is unusual in the NFL.
Still, those items sure seemed like things that could've been easily negotiated earlier in the process, considering it's now been more than three months since Darnold was drafted. Maccagnan explained that both sides dug in over issues they believed in, and over precedents for future contracts that they didn't want to set.
"Some of those things, they do set precedents going forward, but there's precedents (that) you feel comfortable with or not," Maccagnan said. "I know there's certain trends in the league right now, trending toward no offset (language). But it's one thing if you kind of stay consistent with what you believe in and what you want to protect.
"Each side has what they feel strongly about and what they're willing to negotiate with. But with every negotiation, it's a process that you go though. I'm sure they wanted Sam to get into training camp so he didn't miss time and we felt the same way. It's a process you go through and we landed in a spot we felt good about."