Anthony Davis repaid 2015 bonus; will he get it back if he returns?

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The news that 49ers tackle Anthony Davis plans to unretire after a year away from the game gives rise to what apparently is an unprecedented question for the NFL: What happens when a guy who has paid back signing bonus for a missed season returns?

Per a league source, Davis has indeed refunded to the 49ers the portion of his previously-paid signing bonus money that applied to the 2015 season. That’s a standard requirement of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. What’s not in the CBA, as PFT explained last year, are terms that would apply to a guy who sits out for a year, pays back bonus money, and then returns.

His contract was tolled for a year, with Davis due to earn in 2016 the salary he would have earned in 2015. So can the 49ers simply pay his salary but keep the bonus money that applied to 2015?

It’s not known how it will all play out. The NFL Players Association could take the position that the 49ers can’t have it both ways; either they should refund the bonus money for 2015 or cut Davis. They may cut him anyway, which would absolve him of any remaining bonus money, if he retires again.

However it plays out, it’s an issue the player, the team, and the union will have to confront if, as it seems, Davis will be returning.

17 responses to “Anthony Davis repaid 2015 bonus; will he get it back if he returns?

  1. Why would they cut him? He’s their 2nd best OL. And under contract until 31 now since 2015 is a wash and the contract remains in place. They won’t cut him when they are OL starved.

  2. If he’s getting paid for 2015, then he should get 2015’s bonus money.
    More importantly, the league and the union should keep a close eye on this situation, as SF is the other team known to play fast and loose with the salary cap.

  3. Why are all these players quitting on the 49ers? It’s obvious they all still want to play football. They just don’t want to play for the 49ers. This team was in the super bowl a couple years ago and the championship game 3 years in a row. What’s changed to make everybody just get up and walk out the door?

  4. We call it retirement but it could be called quitting. If an employee quits then comes back a year later is he due all things just as if it didn’t happen? No consequences?

    Not clear cut in my mind. Best if both sides find a solution they can agree on and be glad he is back.

  5. Not only should the 49ers not have to pay him a bonus, even if it was his… they should have the right to see him play first, make sure he still has the fire and is in condition to play at the same high level that his salary is set for, then agree to pay him. In other words, his salary shouldn’t be guaranteed until about week 8.


  6. While I wish Davis all the best, he is of no real value as a kid tier starter any longer. Perhaps for a team desperate enough, maybe. But it will be for league minimum plus incentives. ST has enough issues, they do not need one of their biggest issues back

  7. Being second best Oline for SF is the same meaning as not really good. People are still waiving the flag for Boone. Guy is slow, too many health issues but some idiot team will buy into the hype and pay him. 3 years ago? Yes. Now ? Big time no

  8. It would seem to me that paying back the bonus money would negate the future years of the contract and he should ‘unretire’ as a UFA. If the 49’ers offer to return the bonus and he accepts, then the contract would be reinstated.

  9. What I would like to know is what happens to the approx 40% the player had to pay for his ” bonus ” pay. That’s not chicken feed when you are talking over a million dollars in bonus money. Say he received 2 million. That’s 800k to the IRS. If bonus is paid back to team, say 2 mil (example only ) the player just lost 800k Not sure how that would work.

  10. First Justin Smith and now this guy. Seems like a few players didnt like the way Tomsula back-stabbed his way into a job last season, let him sink in the ship he built.

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