Not much has happened in the past week regarding the Ted Wells investigation, likely due to the Thanksgiving holiday. But as the situation heads to its second month, the man who has faced the worst of the allegations continues to project confidence.
Already, the Dolphins have agreed to pay Richie Incognito for two of the four games of his otherwise unpaid suspension, and to pay him for two more games in order to delay by two more weeks the decision whether to reinstate him or to cut him.
That’s four game checks for Incognito — at more than $235,000 each.
Those facts standing alone suggest that Incognito has reason to be confident. The Dolphins swiftly suspended him four weeks ago today, after Jonathan Martin’s camp shared evidence of communications directed by Incognito to Martin. By reducing the unpaid nature of the suspension to two weeks and paying Incognito for at least four, it looks like the Dolphins have decided that they may have overreacted.
Those two game checks Incognito has lost also could be restored. His grievance, we’re told, remains pending, and it could proceed with a full-blown hearing after Wells concludes his investigation.
The sense seems to be that Incognito feels very good about the situation, that the investigation could vindicate him, and that the Dolphins will continue to tiptoe through a minefield of options that make it impossible to strike a balance that allows everyone to save face.
That’s the ultimate problem here. It will be difficult if not impossible for Ted Wells, the Dolphins, and the NFL to harmonize these facts in a way that makes everyone happy.
For now, though, Incognito has reason to be very happy. He’s getting paid to not play, and the Dolphins will have to decide in two weeks whether to bring him back or to release him.
Barring another agreement to pay him not to play.