On Monday, MDS pointed out that the Seahawks currently are taking a wait-and-see approach regarding linebacker Leroy Hill, who was arrested for domestic violence not long after being placed on probation for a marijuana-related offense. Coach Pete Carroll has acknowledged that the team specifically is “waiting for word from the league office” regarding a likely suspension of Hill, from the marijuana plea or the domestic incident, or both.
In the interim, Hill has been asked to stay away from offseason workouts.
But even if Hill is suspended for two or even four games, why would the Seahawks not want him to be at practice? And if the Seahawks are sufficiently offended by what he did, why wouldn’t they simply just cut him?
Here’s the answer. Per a league source, Hill’s $6 million base salary is guaranteed for skill and injury. And we’re told that the relevant addendum contains language that permits the team to void the guaranteed salary if, among other things, he is suspended.
It’s a permissible procedure, validated by the outcome of the Larry Johnson grievance last year. To make it work, the Seahawks need to keep Hill until he’s suspended. Then, they would invoke their ability to void the guarantee. And then they’d cut him.
They’ve asked him to stay away from offseason workouts for one simple reason. If he shows up and suffers a season-long injury, they’ll owe him the full $6 million.
Hill and his agent could fight the team’s effort to keep him away from offseason workouts, under the precedent set by Steve McNair’s 2006 grievance against the Titans. But Hill could be holding out hope that the Seahawks eventually will decide to keep him around; if Hill fights them now, the chance that he’ll be on the team later will likely drop dramatically.