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Browns plan to void Bess guarantee

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cleveland Browns Getty Images

After trading last year with the Dolphins for receiver Davone Bess, the Browns gave Bess a new contract.  It included $3.067 million in guaranteed base salary for 2014.

Per a league source, the team plans to take the position that the guarantee has voided.

While the salary is guaranteed for skill, injury, or cap, Bess landed last season on the non-football illness list.  While the Browns exercised their discretion to pay his salary for the rest of 2013, the team believes (we’re told) that the guarantees evaporated as a result of his inability to play in 2013.

Bess would have the right to challenge the voiding of his guarantee, and the final determination will hinge on the language of the contract between Bess and the Dolphins.  Under Article 4, Section 9(g) of the labor deal, teams and players may negotiate the circumstances under which future salary guarantees will void.

During his introductory press conference, new G.M. Ray Farmer didn’t specify the team’s plans for Bess.

“We are in communication,” Farmer said.  “I can’t comment too much about where the circumstance is.  Just understand that we are concerned for Davone, and I think that’s the biggest thing, is to make sure that he gets the help that he needs. . . .  The biggest thing is that Davone’s care and his concern is our biggest thing right now.  The dates are inconsequential.  Moving forward, we’ll make the decision that we need to make for our franchise, as well as making sure that he’s going to get the care and the things that he needs in the process.”

If Bess can’t play, and if his inability to play is unrelated to an injury, there’s no reason for the Browns to pay him.  But voiding the guarantee doesn’t mean he’ll be cut; there’s a chance the Browns will give him time to recover, and an opportunity to earn his non-guaranteed salary.

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19 Responses to “Browns plan to void Bess guarantee”
  1. kwjsb says: Feb 13, 2014 8:09 PM

    Bess avoided catching the ball, we should be able to avoid the guarantees….

    Bess personally cost the Browns the KC game.

  2. oldcracker says: Feb 13, 2014 8:24 PM

    The NFL is a business, and the Browns are just a player in that business. So, it makes sense.

    My concern is that Bess gets the help he needs, gets healed and if he can work it back, good for him. Get well, Devone.

  3. craniator says: Feb 13, 2014 8:48 PM

    At least the news stories saying , “Miami fleeced the Browns . . .” have died down somewhat ; trading sixth round picks to move move from the 155th pick to the 149th (or thereabouts) is hardly “fleecing”.

  4. dynastyposeiden says: Feb 13, 2014 8:49 PM

    there is no way in hell they should be able to prevent guys from renegotiating before the end of their 3rd year in the league and void guaranteed money also… they cannot have it both ways
    of course since this is negative the sackless wonders that are mouthpieces for goodell will delete this comment as per usual

  5. htowntexan says: Feb 13, 2014 8:50 PM

    I can’t imagine a more inside-baseball post. What is wrong with this guy?

    And for what it is worth, a guarantee is a guarantee. Granted in the crazy law-exempt NFL, nothing is certain when money is on the table.

  6. drfeelyouup says: Feb 13, 2014 9:04 PM

    Keep off the bath salts Bess.

  7. getyourownname says: Feb 13, 2014 9:14 PM

    “And for what it is worth, a guarantee is a guarantee.”

    Um, no. A guarantee is merely a contract, and only good to the extent of its contract terms. Frequently there are specific exceptions carved out.

  8. kosarsmyidol says: Feb 13, 2014 9:19 PM

    If it ends up that they are going to be on the hook for his salary, they might as well see how he progresses. If he can get his life back together and get his production back to where it was in Miami (while avoiding significant league discipline), he’d be worth a roster spot. In any event, I hope that he continues to get the help he needs.

  9. heymister24 says: Feb 13, 2014 9:20 PM

    The browns should guarantee that davone bess never plays for the browns again, and davone should guarantee Chud a piece of his salary for his continued playing him.

  10. campcouch says: Feb 13, 2014 9:39 PM

    I’m pretty sure being addicted to weed is a contract nullifying item. It’s not legal yet in the OH.

  11. bensstinkyfingers says: Feb 13, 2014 9:52 PM

    That may end up being some of the most expensive weed ever purchased, if they void his contract. Never like to see another human deal with misfortune, but Bess got himself in this mess, and only he will get himself out.

  12. sammadison says: Feb 13, 2014 10:07 PM

    Get well get well soon we hope you do get well! Get well get well soon we hope you do get well!

  13. sfm073 says: Feb 13, 2014 10:16 PM

    Has the word guaranteed change meanings without me knowing?

  14. diehardclevelander88 says: Feb 14, 2014 12:03 AM

    A guarantee is just what it is! If a guy goes crazy the only thing he has is that guaranteed contract! Pay the man what you owe him!

  15. scalfor3 says: Feb 14, 2014 12:15 AM

    So the Browns don’t have to pay Bess, but the Pats have to pay Aaron Hernandez…

  16. jc327 says: Feb 14, 2014 1:02 AM

    Bess was a premium slot receiver and first-down machine with the Fins. What the hell happened?

  17. patbetw says: Feb 14, 2014 11:31 AM

    If not being able to play is grounds for voiding contracts then that entire team should not be played.

  18. patbetw says: Feb 14, 2014 11:32 AM

    paid, oops. I shouldn’t be paid either.

  19. oldcracker says: Feb 15, 2014 5:25 PM

    sfm073 says:
    Feb 13, 2014 10:16 PM
    Has the word guaranteed change meanings without me knowing?

    ———————————————————————

    It’s like “minimum wage.” Now, they have “sub-minimum wage.” Does that make any sense? How can you have anything less than minimum???

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