The New York Giants have been keeping in close touch with rookie safety Chad Jones, who suffered a serious leg injury in a Friday automobile accident.
Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com reports that Giants director of player development Charles Way has visited Jones in the hospital, and that both coach Tom Coughlin and G.M. Jerry Reese have spoken to him by phone.
With Jones out of critical condition and his agent suggesting that Jones may eventually run again, it’s time to give initial consideration to the potential football and financial impact of the situation.
With 2008 first-rounder Kenny Phillips’ short-term and long-term status still up in the air after missing most of the 2009 season due to a serious knee injury, Jones hardly represented a luxury pick in round three. Even with Antrel Rolle and Deon Grant added via free agency, the Giants need depth — and youth — in their last line of defense. Though Jones could still become a contributor in the future, it would be unrealistic to expect anything from him in 2010.
Though the injury occurred as Jones was ending a detour along streetcar tracks, something Rosenthal (who went to Tulane) explains has become an unfortunate driving hobby in New Orleans, the Giants have no cause to recover any of his $800,000-plus signing bonus, since under the current labor deal signing bonus money can be recovered only in the event of a holdout, a retirement, or a violation of the steroids policy.
But the Giants could, if they so choose, decline to pay Jones his base salary of $320,000 for 2010. Barring a miraculous recovery and rehab, Jones will land on the non-football illness/injury list. For players unable to play due to an injury incurred on their own time, the team can choose to pay the salary — or not to pay it. When Pats linebacker Tedy Bruschi missed time after suffering a stroke, the team paid his salary. When former Chargers linebacker Steve Foley’s career ended after being shot multiple times by an overly aggressive off-duty police officer, the Chargers cut Foley off. (The Chargers also sued Foley for recovery of $416,000 in signing bonus money, a maneuver that was available under the pre-2006 labor agreement.)
We’d be surprised if the Giants don’t pay Jones. Even though he was behaving recklessly, they thought enough of the former two-sport LSU star to make him a third-round pick, and they surely don’t want to poison him against the franchise over a relatively small amount of cash.
Also, we’ve got a feeling that Reese and Coughlin are far more inclined than Chargers G.M. A.J. Smith to show compassion and understanding.