The Indianapolis Colts took a chance on Bjoern Werner, taking him with the No. 24 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft.
Unfortunately for the team, the former defensive end out of Florida State has yet to sign with the team, and there is a possibility that he could miss the beginning of training camp.
Rookies must officially be signed to a deal with a team before being allowed to attend training camp in the NFL. Since Werner has yet to sign, he's in jeopardy of being unable to practice with the team and make the transition to a 3-4 outside linebacker.
Strangely enough, Werner is just one of a large number of first-rounders that have yet to be signed at this point. At the time of writing this piece, 17 players have yet to sign with their team, including Eric Fisher, Lane Johnson, Barkevious Mingo and DeAndre Hopkins (you can keep track of who has signed where here thanks to NFL.com).
I talked with George Bremer from The Herald Bulletin as to why Werner has yet to be signed at this point in time. This was what he had to say:
My guess would be that it has to do with offset language. That's the usual hangup these days.
My other guess is that he'll be signed by Tuesday, if not before.
"Offset language" has been the issue with a number of rookie contracts this year, but what exactly does it mean?
Supposedly this is an issue about being released with time remaining on a contract. For rookies that signed to a four-year deal and are then released after their third season, it is a matter of whether or not they will be paid the money from the fourth year that the team agreed to give them. Does he get paid for the fourth year with his old team on top of a deal with a new team, or does the money from the new team get deducted from what the old team owes him.
Supposedly, that's where offset language comes into play.
For those worrying about Werner not yet being signed, remember that offset language was an issue for both Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III last season, and both made it to training camp.
The Colts understand that Werner is a developing prospect in the NFL, and that he needs as much time to be with the team as possible in order to become an intimidating pass-rusher.
The team made the decision to release Dwight Freeney, and although they don't expect Werner to be as good as him in the 2013 season, they certainly need someone to get pressure on the opposing quarterback besides Robert Mathis.
Don't worry, Colts fans. Chances are, we will be seeing Werner fully participating in training camp as soon as it starts on July 28th.