Mitch Marner has signed his contract and, barring injury, will be with the Toronto Maple Leafs to start the season. That doesn’t mean that this whole saga is over. Even though we have a player under contract long-term and games on the horizon, there’s still going to be plenty of conversation around everything that transpired over the past few months.
Marner’s agent, Darren Ferris, probably even more so than Marner himself, has really been the face of this contract saga. Ferris’ “Playbook” relies a lot on floating narratives into the mainstream media. Things like Marner speaking to other teams on July 1 and considering playing overseas in Switzerland were a couple of Ferris tactics to generate panic that the restricted free agent had considerable leverage in contract negotiations.
Even though pen has been put to paper and Marner has his money, Ferris’ job isn’t over. There’s a damage control left to be done on behalf of his client after what was a messy, frustrating, and emotionally-draining summer full of public negotiations. While Ferris’ tactics likely helped Marner in securing more cash, it came at the cost of losing admiration from much of the fanbase.
Today on TSN’s First Up, Ferris claimed that Marner had two offer sheets presented to him from unnamed teams.
— First Up (@FirstUp1050) September 16, 2019
Ferris said here that Marner had two offer sheets this off-season, he declined both of them, and he told his agent that he wanted to be a Leaf. He also said that Kyle Dubas was aware of the offer sheets presented and he went on to add that more offer sheets would likely be on the way once the regular season started.
Earlier in the summer, the Columbus Blue Jackets reportedly talked to Marner’s camp about an offer sheet, so there’s a fair chance they were one of these two teams. Maybe the other one was the Ottawa Senators. I mean, if Eugene Melnyk had actually won big at the casino, he could have given Marner that massive one-year offer sheet just to screw with the Leafs, but lady luck wasn’t on his side.
Any offer that came in over $10,568,590 annually would have resulted in the other team giving up four first-round picks. Honestly, I can’t imagine a team in the salary cap world is comfortable with doing that kind of a thing. With that in mind, it’s really hard to imagine that any offer sheet was better than Dubas’ offer of $11 million annual deal from earlier in the summer.
At the end of the day, this is fairly meaningless unless we know what the details of the offers were. The purpose of the story here is that Ferris is in damage control mode. Over the next few weeks and into the season, we’ll hear this kind of thing from Ferris which aims to prove how Marner never had any intention of signing elsewhere and leaving Toronto.
Regardless, Marner is a Toronto Maple Leaf. Let’s get the season going so we can put this behind us and never hear Ferris’ name again.