The AFC East is still waiting for the Patriots to finally begin to crumble, and the best team in the AFC South may have the worst QB in the division.

There is an interesting battle brewing over the reason why the New York Jets and rookie quarterback Sam Darnold have not agreed to terms on his contract.

According to ESPN, while offsets remain an issue, the Jets contract proposal will give the team the option to void guaranteed money in Darnold’s deal if he faces fines from the NFL for disciplinary issues on or off the field. ESPN notes that Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, selected No. 1 overall, and Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen, selected No. 7, have guarantee voids in their contracts only with potential suspensions, not fines.

Finally, ESPN reported that it’s believed no top-3 draft pick over the last 10 years has had void language in his contract tied to fines.

More: How much is Darnold’s holdout hurting his chances to start?

More: The strange reason the Bears’ first-round pick is holding out

More: Cowboys players apparently unable and unwilling to challenge Jerry Jones

This is significant because NFL players can be fined for numerous infractions, ranging from conduct on and off the field to personal foul penalties and uniform violations. While in many contracts this might not be an issue, for Darnold, whom the Jets selected No. 3 overall, the guaranteed money is expected to be around $30 million.

After the 2011 collective bargaining agreement was ratified, rookie contracts have become mostly formalities, due to salary and length of deals determined by draft position.

Typically, offset language, which helps teams recoup some money when cutting a player, is the main reason for rookie holdouts in the current CBA.

“It is part of the business,” Jets coach Todd Bowles said Saturday when asked about Darnold’s holdout. “We deal with something every year. I am not disappointed. I have a bunch of guys right here to coach to get ready for the season, and that is what we are doing.”

The only other unsigned first-round rookie is linebacker Roquan Smith, selected No. 8 overall by the Chicago Bears.

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Lorenzo Reyes on Twitter @LorenzoGReyes.


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