Now that free-agent receiver Chad Johnson has pleaded no contest to charges of domestic violence, Johnson is subject to discipline under the personal-conduct policy.
But a source with knowledge of the procedure explains to PFT that Johnson likely won’t be disciplined until he returns to the NFL.
That said, if a team is interested in signing him and wants to know if he is facing a suspension, a decision could be made prior to Johnson signing a contract.
If Johnson had been issued a suspension before he was cut by the Dolphins, he could have served the suspension while unemployed. Not that he’s unemployed but has yet to be officially suspended, the league apparently isn’t inclined to suspend him until he has a team.
Regardless of how it all plays out, the current posture could make it harder for Johnson to get a job with another NFL team. Since he’s still a member of the union, he should push the league to issue a punishment regardless of whether he’s on a team, so that if he’s suspended he can serve it before, not after, he signs a contract.
That said, it’s not clear Johnson would even be suspended. The policy primarily is aimed at addressing repeat offenders. Johnson is a first-time offender. Given the nature of the offense, however, the NFL could decide to take action.
Either way, it would be fair to Johnson to make the decision as soon as possible, so that he and any interested teams will know his status.