Indefinite paid suspensions are a bad idea in the NFL, in part because in plenty of cases the teams will decide to convert those indefinite paid suspensions into permanent unpaid suspensions.
That’s precisely what the Giants have done to kicker Josh Brown. Faced with the prospect of paying him $72,058 per week until the NFL’s reopened investigation of Brown becomes a final, appealed suspension, the Giants have severed ties with Brown.
Sure, there’s a chance that the move was aimed at giving the team a sliver of moral high ground after nearly a weekly of gutter-level optics. Regardless of the specific reason(s) for the move, Brown has now been cut — which means that his NFL cash pipeline has been cut off, likely for good. No one will sign him until the outcome of the NFL’s reopened investigation is known, at the earliest. Even then, there’s a strong chance Brown eventually will become the new Ray Rice: Free and clear to play in the NFL, but shunned by all 32 teams.
Against that background, Brown must decide whether to pursue the balance of his 2016 salary from the Giants. While he’s a vested veteran, which ordinarily would give him the right to receive the rest of his 2016 salary as termination pay, he wasn’t on the 53-man roster as of Week One, due to his suspension.
With 10 weeks left in the season, the Giants owed Brown another $720,480 before cutting him. Brown can file a grievance, like Rice did, arguing that he already has been punished by the NFL for the May 2015 incident of domestic violence, that the league already has commenced the process of disciplining him for any other incidents of domestic violence (blocking the Giants from taking action), and that the Giants already knew or should have known about any and all of his alleged indiscretions before signing him to a two-year, $4 million deal earlier this year.
There’s a chance the Giants wouldn’t fight it, or that they’d do so half-heartedly, honoring their commitment to Brown but making the roster move in order to restore some sense of honor to an organization that typically exudes a sense that it peers down its nose at the team with which it shares stadium, along with the rest of the league.
Either way, Brown has rights. The league may eventually violate those rights. By cutting Brown for reasons clearly unrelated to his football abilities or to any new evidence of misconduct that wasn’t already available to the team, the Giants arguably already have.