Balance of Kelechi Osemele’s salary could hinge on multiple legal fights

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The Jets decided on Saturday to end the otherwise never-ending battle with offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele, cutting him loose a day after Osemele underwent shoulder surgery that the team believed he did not need.

The question now becomes whether and to what extent Osemele will be paid. And that question could hinge on the outcome of multiple grievances.

If Osemele files a grievance arguing that he was cut while injured and that he needed surgery, and if Osemele wins, Osemele will receive the balance of his $9.85 million salary for 2019. If Osemele loses the grievance, he’ll could still be entitled to the balance of his salary as termination pay.

But that’s not automatic. If the Jets previously sent Osemele a written warning regarding a failure to “exhibit the level of good faith effort which can be reasonably expected from NFL players on that Club,” termination pay can be blocked.

The Jets have taken plenty of heat for their handling of Osemele, in large part because the Jets have not publicly engaged Osemele and his agent. But the Jets continue to privately believe that they are in the right, and that Osemele could have played through his shoulder injury until after the season.

As a source not connected to the Jets explains it to PFT, multiple Jets players believe that Osemele opted to shut it down after he was benched, choosing to accelerate the timetable for surgery when he could have still played.

However it plays out, an ugly situation could get uglier. Unless and until the Jets choose to engage Osemele publicly, the Jets will continue to lose the P.R. battle — even if they ultimately win the legal war(s).