Lost in the question of whether the Seahawks face fines for future player suspensions is the reality that, based on the policy created by the NFL in 2008, they likely paid more than $60,000 for suspensions that happened in 2012.
The NFL has declined comment on the question of whether and to what extent the Seahawks have been fined for past suspensions, explaining that this information isn’t disclosed for any team. But the league office has confirmed that the formula developed in 2008 still applies, and it’s public knowledge that three Seahawks were suspended during the 2012 season: offensive lineman Allen Barbre, safety Winston Guy, and cornerback Brandon Browner.
Barbre came first, suspended the first four games of the season under the performance-enhancing drugs policy. He was cut after the suspension ended in October.
Under the league’s policy, the Seahawks faced fines for the second suspension (Guy) and the third (Browner). Based on their salaries for 2012, Guy lost $97,500 in salary during his four-week suspension. The policy converts 25 percent of that into a fine, which equates to $24,375.
Next up was Browner, who served a four-game suspension and forfeited $109,411 in base salary. Since Browner’s suspension was the third of the year, one third of his lost salary became a fine. That’s $36,470.
The total of the two fines is $60,845.
This year, the Seahawks will be fined if there’s another suspension under the substance-abuse policy, the policy regarding steroids and related substances, or the personal-conduct policy, given that defensive end Bruce Irvin already will miss the first four games of the year after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
It’s unclear whether fines will make teams more careful about acquiring players who carry the red flag of a possible violations. Former Chiefs G.M. Scott Pioli said on Tuesday’s PFT Live that the league has discussed the possibility of stripping draft picks as an alternative to fines.
That could be the best way to handle the situation. Team’s view fines as a cost of doing business; losing draft picks impacts competitive interests, and thus are more likely to get the franchise’s attention.