Multiple suspensions in a given year won’t simply cause a team to lose the services of a player. The teams also are required, under certain circumstances, to forfeit to the league office a portion of the salary that some players won’t be paid during the suspension.
It’s a rule the league passed back in 2008, and first applied to the Cowboys following a suspension to Pacman Jones.
The policy applies once a team has a second suspension in a given league year. For the first suspension that triggers a fine (i.e., the second suspension in a given league year), the penalty is 25 percent of the player’s base salary for the duration of the suspension. For the next suspension in a given league year, the fine is one third of the player’s base salary for the term of the suspension, not to exceed $350,000. For the next suspension drawing a fine in a given league year, the penalty is half the player’s base salary for the term of the suspension, not to exceed $500,000.
For 2013, the Seahawks are in the clear, because the policy applies only to multiple suspensions in the same league year. In the current league year, the Seahawks have had only one suspension, so far. For the next suspension arising under the substance-abuse policy, the personal-conduct policy, or the policy regarding steroids and related substances, the fines will begin to accumulate.
That likely won’t apply to quarterback Josh Portis, who recently was arrested for DUI. The standard penalty for a first offense is a fine in the amount of two game checks, not a suspension.
For the Seahawks, the more pertinent question isn’t whether they’ll be fined in the wake of the Bruce Irvin suspension in the 2013 league year, but whether and to what extent the Seahawks have been fined for the four prior suspensions occurring since 2011.
In 2011, the NFL expanded the program to encompass teams whose players have incurred fines for on-field infractions equaling and exceeding $100,000 in a given league year.