Jaguars hold all the cards in standoff with Branden Albert

AP

When left tackle Branden Albert decided to abruptly retire from the Jaguars, there’s a good chance he didn’t realize that he’d owe $3.4 million to a team that hadn’t paid him a penny. But that’s how the rules work, illogical as that may seem.

The Dolphins paid Albert a signing bonus of $8.5 million on a five-year deal. It wasn’t free money; it was an advance payment for future services, earned at the rate of $1.7 million per year. When the Dolphins traded Albert to the Jaguars with two years left on the contract, the Jaguars inherited Miami’s rights — including the right to recover signing bonus money in the event of retirement.

So with Albert retiring, the Jaguars can seek the money. Which likely had something to do with the decision to unretire.

Here’s where it gets interesting. As reported by NFL Media, the Jaguars have now shifted Albert from the reserve/left squad list to the reserve/retired list. By rule, he can unretire at any time, and the team would have to decide whether to reinstate him to the active roster, trade him, or cut him. There’s a prevailing view that, if the Jaguars cut Albert, they would forfeit their right to pursue the recovery of signing bonus money.

That may not be the case, based on the language of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Article 4, Section 9(a)(vi) allows teams to recover unearned signing bonus money in the event of retirement. Here’s the key language: “If the player returns to play for the Club in the subsequent season, then the Club must either (a) take the player back under his existing contract with no forfeiture of the remaining Forfeitable Salary Allocations, or (b) release the player and seek repayment of any remaining Forfeitable Salary Allocations for future League Years.”

The problem with that clause flows from the fact that it doesn’t expressly encompass a return from retirement happening in the same year the player retired. Regardless, the last portion of that sentence would support an argument that, if/when the player returns, the team can cut the player and recover his bonus money.

However it plays out, the first step will be to lock in Albert’s retirement. That’s what the Jaguars have done, blocking his ability to return and wipe the slate clean.

In hindsight, Albert shouldn’t have told the team he wants to come back. He should have just shown up. If he had returned before the team moved him to the reserve/retired list, he arguably wouldn’t owe them a dime.

As it now stands, he owes them $3.4 million. If/when he shows up, the Jaguars will have a persuasive argument to make that he still owes the money, unless they reinstate him to the active roster. Which, based on the decision to put him on the reserve/retired list, they don’t seem to be inclined to do.

40 responses to “Jaguars hold all the cards in standoff with Branden Albert

  1. Did he not consult with his agent? Is his agent incompetent? Same issue for Calvin Johnson and the Detroit Lions, he misplayed his cards and it cost him millions of dollars.

  2. “Just go in Monday. Make like it never happened. They won’t remember.”
    “You mean, just show up, Jerry?”

  3. Good old NFL ‘contracts’. They mean whatever the owners want them to mean.

    Words to live by:

    “Never let go of something until you have a firm hold on something else.”

  4. This guy has a real stench about him. The Jags should recover every penny of that money. They signed this guy and planned for him to be a starter in a very important position all off season. Then he pulls his lame retirement bs thinking he can walk away leaving the team with no starting LT long after all the good FAs have been signed and screwing the team over in a big way.

    And given the only reason he likely wants to come back is to avoid paying that money back, does anyone think he will put in anything more than the tiniest effort imaginable? His only goal will be to get cut so he can keep the money and not have to play.

  5. “The problem with that clause flows from the fact that it doesn’t expressly encompass a return from retirement happening in the same year the player retired.”

    It could be argued the use of the word ‘subsequent’ specifically excludes the provision being applied to the current year.

  6. NFL team = plantation
    =====

    NFL salary minimums;

    0 – $465k
    1 – 540
    2 – 615
    3 – 690
    4-6 – 775

    If slave owners paid as well as NFL owners do, what was everyone complaining about?

  7. If a contract is considered to be ambiguous, that ambiguity usually favors the party that did not draft the contract. A judge might conclude that because every team had lawyers, Owners, and General Managers consult on the CBA they were in fact a direct party to the drafting of the CBA.

    Branden Albert may have been represented by the NFLPA when the CBA was drafted but he had no direct input into any of the terms of language.

  8. I don’t understand how this deal simply doesn’t get voided with contract returning to the Dolphins? So Miami loses out on the seventh round pick and the jags get 3.4 mil of BA signing bonus that Miami paid him, great deal for the Jags.

  9. Finfan362 says:
    August 8, 2017 at 12:06 pm
    I don’t understand how this deal simply doesn’t get voided with contract returning to the Dolphins? So Miami loses out on the seventh round pick and the jags get 3.4 mil of BA signing bonus that Miami paid him, great deal for the Jags.

    I was thinking this very same thing — Why would Jacksonville get the $3.4 million bonus? Did Jacksonville pay Miami the $3.4million bonus dollars with the trade? If yes, then they are entitled to that money, but if no, I agree with FinFann362, the trade should be voided, Miami loses the draft pick and the player returns “unused” signing bonus to Miami.

  10. aarons444 says:
    August 8, 2017 at 12:03 pm
    NFL team = plantation
    =====

    NFL salary minimums;

    0 – $465k
    1 – 540
    2 – 615
    3 – 690
    4-6 – 775

    If slave owners paid as well as NFL owners do, what was everyone complaining about?
    ——————————————————————————————
    You make a great point about NFL salaries, but please recognize that pay wasn’t the primary complaint about slavery.

  11. “I don’t understand how this deal simply doesn’t get voided with contract returning to the Dolphins? So Miami loses out on the seventh round pick and the jags get 3.4 mil of BA signing bonus that Miami paid him, great deal for the Jags.”

    Why do you think its a great deal for the Jags to suddenly be without a starting LT just a few weeks before the season starts when there are none to be had at this point?

  12. aarons444 says:
    August 8, 2017 at 12:03 pm
    NFL team = plantation
    =====

    NFL salary minimums;

    0 – $465k
    1 – 540
    2 – 615
    3 – 690
    4-6 – 775

    If slave owners paid as well as NFL owners do, what was everyone complaining about?
    ——————————————————————————————
    You make a great point about NFL salaries, but please recognize that pay wasn’t the primary complaint about slavery.

    There is NO FKN comparison between slavery and an NFL player. Only an azzhole would make it.

  13. Finfan362 says:
    August 8, 2017 at 12:06 pm
    I don’t understand how this deal simply doesn’t get voided with contract returning to the Dolphins? So Miami loses out on the seventh round pick and the jags get 3.4 mil of BA signing bonus that Miami paid him, great deal for the Jags.

    When you trade for a player you also trade for all the rights of their contract. Even though the Jaguars haven’t paid a penny to Albert they hold the contractual right to recover his signing bonus. A similar situation happened years ago when Jake Plummer was traded from the Broncos to the Buccaneers. Plummer chose to retire rather than play for Tampa but the Bucs went after him for $6 million of his signing bonus and the sides eventually settled with Plummer paying back $3.5 million.

  14. Don’t feel sorry for the guy one bit. All he did was be a pain in the butt since the Jags acquired him. He pouted and wanted a new contract but didn’t get it so he figured he’d just retire, not realizing he was now going to owe them money. Well played you idiot. Now I hope the Jags go after every penny of that money simply because he was such a jerk the entire time.

  15. Well, the language says “…seek repayment.” Doesn’t say they automatically get it. So the team goes to Albert and says, “Pay us that cool 3.4 mil, boss.” Albert sayz, “Step off G!” Then they go to court about it I would assume. Big ol’ lawyerin’ white talk goes on. Maybe them Jags get a bit of the scratch back, but not all of it. Would it be worth all the time and effort to get maybe half of that cheddah back? Probably cost them more in legal fees and time to do that.

    If they bring him back maybe he can help that line, yo. Maybe he just needed to check himself and see if he were really done. Decided he weren’t goin’ out like that..like Cypress Hill sez. If not, they set the man free, he become the best LT option on the market and surely some team come sniffin ’round dat stuff.

  16. razzlejag says:
    August 8, 2017 at 11:34 am
    “Just go in Monday. Make like it never happened. They won’t remember.”
    “You mean, just show up, Jerry?”

    ———————–

    I feel really sorry for the 2 people who disliked this. Bad parenting.

  17. patsfan4lifesbchamps says:

    August 8, 2017 at 11:46 am

    NFL team = plantation

    _________________________________________

    Yeah except for you know the millions of dollars players make and the whole being able to quit whenever you want to.

    I mean God forbid they be held accountable for there choices at there job just like the rest of us.

  18. aarons444 says:
    August 8, 2017 at 11:33 am
    He’d look pretty good @ LG in Green Bay…
    >>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
    No he wouldn't !! Why would you want a quitter ? WHY ?
    He never lived up to his potential and didn't care.

  19. Anybody who feels sorry for this clown is an idiot! And the one who stated NFL = Plantation really??? I don’t consider $8.5 million and 9.5 million plantation wages. Even if he only lasted 5 years in the league if you save your money you are still better off then 80% of the people in this country. I don’t begrudge them wanting to get all they can but when they do sign STICK TO THE CONTRACT!!!

  20. Jags didn’t pay him any money. Albert saw Blake’s crap play and asked himself do I want to be here? Answer was no. Jags asked signing bonus money back and Albert said what? Ok I’ll come back. Management being petty and incompetent per usual.

    Jags fan and 10 year season ticket holder.

  21. Why would you want a quitter ? WHY ?
    He never lived up to his potential and didn’t care.
    =====

    Branden Albert V LANE TAYLOR

    ‘Retired’ to get out of Jacksonville, just like Marshawn Lynch “retired”

    Opt-out in the contract after 2017

    No cap hit if it doesn’t work out

    There are a few reasons…….

  22. NFL = Plantation???

    Please…

    Whether these men are being paid $1 or $1 million dollars to play football, the fact is they chose to do so. With the rules and the conditions in place. And in Albert’s case he chose to get paid in advance. With choices come consequences.

  23. Doesn’t seem illogical to me at all. If you quit on the team you pay back the remaining money. If that’s not logical then maybe Earth is about to spin off it’s axis.

  24. Watch Coughlin put a target on him and try to make an example out of him.
    “You want to jump ship? You don’t like being early to be on time? You think you don’t have to answer to me? Buckle up son, because I’m gonna make you pay one way or another. And the next guy that thinks he can just walk out is gonna think long and hard about it first!”

  25. I’m reading the comments and as usual, it is always negative comments towards the players. No one seem to have a problem with Jacksonville being able to pocket $1.7M from a bonus they did not pay. That’s like my mom buying something, me returning it, and keeping the money.

  26. protozoa5 says:
    August 8, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    Yeah except for you know the millions of dollars players make and the whole being able to quit whenever you want to.

    I mean God forbid they be held accountable for there choices at there job just like the rest of us.

    —————————————-

    You were so close to a 100% up vote on this comment. Just not quite their.

  27. balbert should have known that it’s ok to think about quitting on your team like earl thomas and barf roslinbuger, but when you actually do it things can get fubar.

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