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After suspension, Chiefs can't send L.J. home with pay

Many of you have asked us whether, upon the conclusion of his two-week suspension, the Chiefs will tell running back Larry Johnson to take the rest of the year off, with pay.

The Chiefs might prefer to do that, but they can’t.

The Eagles’ decision to suspend receiver Terrell Owens without pay for four games in 2005 followed by a paid suspension for the balance of the year caused the NFLPA to slip through the owners’ collective five hole a CBA term prohibiting such measures moving forward. 

So, as of March 2006, a team can suspend a player without pay for up to four games at a time for conduct detrimental to the team.  But a team cannot suspend a player with pay.

Of course, if the player agrees to go home with pay, it’s not an issue.  But since Johnson is a vested veteran, he’d get the balance of his $4.55 million salary if he’s released.  He’d then be able to climb aboard the bandwagon of a playoff contender with a record far better than 1-6, and he’d be able to collect a salary from his new team — and to keep the full amount of his termination pay from the Chiefs.

As a result, look for the Chiefs to try to find a way to keep Johnson, but possibly to marginalize him.  And if he chooses to be disruptive in the hopes of getting cut, they’ll probably suspend him again.

At the end of the day, the Chiefs would at worst be required to pay Johnson if they lose the inevitable grievances.  But if they cut him, they’ll pay him, too.  So why not come up with a way to pay him and keep him from getting to the playoffs — and possibly winning a Super Bowl — with a team that would be able to provide him with the kind of blocking that would allow Johnson to make good use of the remaining tread on his tires?

The possibility that Johnson decided to act up now in the hopes of getting cut will likely make the Chiefs even less inclined to give L.J. his way.  The only question is whether and to what extent the Chiefs are willing to tolerate the distraction.
 
Since there’s no concern that any distraction will keep them from qualifying for the postseason, look for the Chiefs to dig in their heels, if necessary.
 

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12 Responses to “After suspension, Chiefs can't send L.J. home with pay”
  1. DT-58 says: Oct 29, 2009 9:13 AM

    At the end of the day, the Chiefs would at worst be required to pay Johnson if they lose the inevitable grievances. But if they cut him, they’ll pay him, too. So why not come up with a way to pay him and keep him from getting to the playoffs — and possibly winning a Super Bowl — with a team that would be able to provide him with the kind of blocking that would allow Johnson to make good use of the remaining tread on his tires?
    Very true,
    especially since the people who want him cut now because of his bad behavior are the first ones who want him on their teams roster. So cutting him would be pretty dumb imo since it would only help a team like the patriots or the eagles who have no problems with having thugs on their roster.

  2. chapnasty says: Oct 29, 2009 9:27 AM

    @ DT-58
    Good point, although the problem is Johnson is the only person who thinks he is a thug. I think he is from an upper-class family and was raised by his 2 parents. He doesn’t know what it is like to be a thug but wants to act like one. It’s embarassing.

  3. firesnake says: Oct 29, 2009 9:40 AM

    They can simply cut him afterwards. He’ll get his money, but why should the Chiefs (as opposed to the Eagles) try to prohibit LJ from joining another team? He’ll need to pass through waivers, but … c’mon, 4.5 Mio?
    And if you are talking about the Patriots (who lost a 3.5 Mio overpaid veteran RB) … who the h#|| is currently the GM of the Chiefs?
    Why didn’t they suspend him for four games?

  4. leatherneck says: Oct 29, 2009 10:05 AM

    The Chiefs should tell Johnson he has to become the team’s backup kicker. Get workin’ on it!

  5. rockotica says: Oct 29, 2009 10:31 AM

    the problem w that analysis is that even w a line lj wont perform. i watch every chiefs game, have seen every carry; he doesnt have anything left. sure, he busted 3 or 4 runs of about 10 yards that would get you excited [thats 3 or 4 runs ALL YEAR, not one game], but then he comes right out of the game and then reverts to his 1 and 2 yard half speed bumbles. no tread left!!

  6. Len Dawson says: Oct 29, 2009 10:39 AM

    So player contracts have no way to terminate a player for cause or for conduct detrimental to the team? That is pretty unfortunate.
    To me it doesn’t make any sense to keep him and dig in your heels. He is a distraction and has been for several years now. Take your loss, cut him, and continue your rebuilding project with people who are on board with the program. There is zero value in keeping him just so he can’t go to another team. You have to pay him either way and its not like he is actually helping the Chiefs. Just the opposite.
    Come on Pioli, this is what you get paid for, to make the hard decisions. Cut him loose and lets move on.

  7. Asswipe Johnson (Pronounced Az-Wee-Pay) says: Oct 29, 2009 10:41 AM

    Kansas City should have suspended Johnson for two games.
    Let Johnson come back just in time for the Steelers game…send a certified letter to the Steelers defense from Johnson calling them all fags and making fun of Polamalu’s hairstyle…then run him 40 times in the game so he gets banged around by an angry Polamalu, Farrior, Woodley, Hampton and crew.
    The following week after Johnson starts dogging it in practice while he licks his wounds…put Johnson on the practice squad for the rest of the year.

  8. bloodystupidjohnson says: Oct 29, 2009 11:00 AM

    Johnson should have said that his remarks where really directed to white conservatives. Then he probably would have been given some sort of award from the media and others.

  9. Ray Cornwall says: Oct 29, 2009 11:07 AM

    So KC can either keep him on the team, unhappy and pouting, and pay him, or they can get rid of his attitude and 2.7 yeard per carry- and pay him.
    Is this that hard? Cut him, pay him, move on, and see if another back catches fire.

  10. gooboy6 says: Oct 29, 2009 11:42 AM

    So lets see…. Carl Peterson chose to keep Larry Johnson and pay him $20 mill guaranteed and get rid of Jared Allen. Nice move OMAR ( old man at risk)

  11. texasPHINSfan says: Oct 29, 2009 11:47 AM

    don’t suspend him. just make him suit up and don’t give him any carries. that seems to make these type of athletes mad. ;)

  12. obamasdaddy says: Oct 29, 2009 5:23 PM

    The sad part of the whole L.J. fiasco, it is undeserving for an owner like Clark Hunt.
    It is hard to find an owner that stays off the screen but runs one heck of an organization with the utmost respect inherited from his father.
    Hats off for Mr. hunt in taking the high road as usual.
    Would be nice to see other owners with his style and class.
    BHO

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