In 2008, Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams decided to fight his four-game StarCaps suspension. He successfully delayed the suspension for three years. In the end, however, he’ll serve a two-game suspension and give up another two games checks.
Per Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com, it means that Williams will lose 4/17ths of his $6 million base salary, which amounts to $1.41 million. If, as Pelissero points out, Williams would have accepted the suspension in 2008, he would have lost less.
A lot less.
Williams’ base salary was $1 million in 2008. A four-game suspension would have cost Williams $235,294. The difference? $1.176 million.
And so Williams understandably isn’t happy. “Two games, of course, is better than four, but to still get a four-game fine is unbelievable,” Williams told Pelissero. “I can’t believe it. We were offered that deal [by the NFL] before and we turned it down.”
On top of the extra $1.176 million in lost game checks, Williams and former Vikings defensive tackle Pat Williams forked over a bunch of money in legal fees. “I’m not even sure [of the figure],” Williams said. “I can’t even remember how much we paid to be exact. . . . But it was worth the fight, because it’s going to help future guys out in a similar situations.”
Williams got the official word from the league office on Saturday, when he received the letter via FedEx. “At the end of the day, you can say from the outside that they cut us a break, but you look close, they’re not putting that out there for the public to see that we’re still going to get fined four games,” Williams said. “Who wants to work for free?”
The amount of the lost pay should be determined by the lesser of the salary earned in the year the infraction occurred and the salary at the time the suspension is finalized. The current approach serves as a deterrent for star players like Williams to fight a suspension, knowing that delaying the suspension could eventually make the final bill much more expensive.
The same dynamic affects Saints defensive end Will Smith, who like Kevin Williams will receive a base salary of $6 million in 2011 — and thus lose $1.41 million of it. If the four-game suspension had been enforced in 2008, when Smith’s base salary was only $700,000, he would have lost only $164,000.
Thus, Smith will lose even more money, even though his legal challenge ended in 2009, and the league decided not to suspend him while the Williams case was still pending in Minnesota.
That said, Pat Williams potentially won big. If his career is over, he’ll never have to pay a dime to the NFL.