During the preseason, Jaguars linebacker Mike Lockley was fined $20,000 for an illegal hit. It could take him half the regular season to pay that off.
For players like Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who make a lot more than $20,000 a week, the NFL simply deducts the amount of the fine from the player’s weekly paycheck. Suh was also fined $20,000 during the preseason, and he’ll have $20,000 taken from his Week 1 check and be done with it.
But Lockley is nothing like Suh: Lockley is an undrafted rookie who didn’t make the Jaguars’ 53-man roster but did make the practice squad, which means his salary will be $5,700 a week. According to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, the fine will be deducted from Lockley’s weekly paycheck in eight $2,500 installments.
Lockley still has the opportunity to appeal his fine and argue that it’s excessive because it represents more than 25 percent of his weekly pay, and so the fine may still be reduced. And it should be reduced: It’s ridiculous to fine a player more money for one preseason hit than he makes for three weeks of the regular season.
Suh, who has a $60 million contract, makes more than 100 times as much money per year as a practice squad player like Lockley. It’s dumb of the NFL to fine a guy who makes a practice-squad salary the same amount as a guy who makes a fortune. Lockley shouldn’t be fined so much that he needs to pay it off in an installment plan.