Nearly four years ago, the NFL came up with a device for keeping potentially unpopular players off the field under circumstances where an unpaid suspension is not yet available. Dubbed the Commissioner Exempt list, the player gets paid, but he’s not allowed to play.
With Washington claiming linebacker Reuben Foster on waivers, one specific twist to the Commissioner Exempt list could come in handy. According to the league, players placed on paid leave via the Commissioner Exempt list can be released.
This reduces Washington’s financial risk even further. If Foster lands on the Commissioner Exempt list while the latest charge of misdemeanor domestic violence remains pending, Washington can simply wash its hands of Foster, waiving him and letting another team resolve the question of whether to pay him now in order to have access to him later.
Of course, Washington may decide to do just that, keeping Foster and paying Foster in the hopes of getting some benefit from him in 2019, once his situation is resolved.