Quarterback Drew Lock is on the verge of posturing himself into an inactive third-string clipboard holder.
The Broncos’ players are reporting to Dove Valley Wednesday for training camp, and the team’s first practice is Thursday morning.
Lock might be the sole no-show.
According to a first report by Mike Klis of Denver’s 9News, the Broncos’ air apparent at quarterback is considering the possibility of holding out.
Although Lock firmly believed he would be a (high) first-round pick in the draft, he wasn’t selected by the Broncos until the 42nd overall selection of the second round. Lock was in Nashville for the NFL’s grand event and squirmed in the green room backstage for the entire opening night. Instead of returning for the second day, Lock spent his restless time at the nearby office of Tom Condon, the great and powerful wizard of agents.
Condon’s stance, a league source told me, is that Lock deserves a “quarterback premium’’ contract loftier than the slotted money — right at $7 million for four years, including a bonus of about $3 million and a full guarantee for two seasons. His first-season salary would be $495,000.
A rookie wage scale was originated by the owners in 2011 after the previous two years when quarterbacks Matthew Stafford and Sam Bradford each got six-year deals for in excess of $70 million. Condon represented both.
Cam Newton and Andrew Luck were the first No. 1 draft picks to experience the fallout. Each were reduced to $22 million pacts for four years.
In the latest draft, Daniel Jones was chosen higher than expected, at sixth, by the Giants and would be in the $25.5 mil range for four years, with a fifth-year team option for the franchise.
He hasn’t signed, either.
Because Lock was outside the first round, the Broncos control his rights for only four seasons.
Dwayne Haskins, grabbed by Washington at 15, agreed to a four-year contract for $14.4 million.
The drop-off from 15th to 42nd was substantial (approximately 50 percent) in potential four-year earnings.
Lock lost a lot.
No surprise Condon and his client want a premium payment perk for the third QB chosen.
Yet, another seriously sticky situation existed.
The Broncos drafted offensive lineman Dalton Risner, who also felt he should have been a first-rounder, at No. 41, one spot before Lock. Risner declined to settle on a pact with the Broncos, either, unless he and his representative Andrew Kabat were assured the potential starting left guard would collect a more money than Lock.
Risner, out of the eastern Colorado town of Wiggins, didn’t want to be a holdout, or be left out, for the camp’s beginning. Tuesday he accepted a four-year contract for $7.14 million, which includes a $3.2 mil bonus, with two seasons totally guaranteed, and offseason supplements for 2021-22 of $175,000.
Lock is the last Bronco standing outside the fence.
For comparison, Lamar Jackson was drafted last in the first round a year ago by the Ravens. His four-year deal was for $9.4 mil, with $8 million guaranteed.
Condon, one of the most respected men in sports representation, heads the football division for Creative Artists Agency.
He has a cooperative history with the Broncos. Condon and John Elway, on opposite sides, negotiated the most lucrative contract, then, in franchise history — when Peyton Manning signed in 2012 for five years and $96 million.
The two almost pulled off another major coup. When Manning retired after Super Bowl 50, Condon tried to persuade Elway into trading for Eagles quarterback Bradford, another Condon client. Elway backed off because of Bradford’s salary, injury history and failure to become a Super Bowl-type QB.
Elway and Condon certainly will work out the Lock Mess matter, but when?
If they don’t reach an understanding soon, Lock, who the Broncos are planning to have as a neophyte understudy to Joe Flacco, will fall behind in repetitions and preparations and behind Kevin Logan, scheduled to start the Hall of Fame exhibition, and perhaps undrafted free agent Brett Rypien.
Lock needs camp more than he needs another $250,000, and the Broncos need him in camp even if it costs a few bucks.
Paxton Lynch, who was a first-round choice, signed for four years and $9.5 million.
How did that work out?