In late 2018, the Jaguars informed running back Leonard Fournette that the team would void the remaining salary guarantees under his contract. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the grievance filed by Fournette in response to that effort still has not been resolved.
With the Jaguars waiving Fournette (and assuming there isn’t an eleventh-hour trade or a waivers claim made), his $4.167 million salary hangs in the balance. If he’s waived and goes unclaimed, a win in the pending grievance would mean that Fournette is entitled to the full amount of the salary, with no offset for money earned elsewhere. (The Jaguars routinely omit offset language from rookie contracts that are guaranteed for skill, injury, and salary cap.) If the Jaguars win, they owe Fournette nothing more.
The language of Fournette’s contract isn’t as clear as it could have been. The Jaguars voided the remaining guarantees based on a 2018 suspension imposed by the NFL for in-game misconduct. The contract, in listing the types of suspensions that void guarantees, specifically that’s that the void happens if player “is suspended for Conduct Detrimental or for violation of the NFL Personal Conduct Policy, is suspended for violation of the NFL Policy on Performance-Enhancing Substances, or is suspended for violation of the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.”
That said, the preamble to the paragraph regarding the voiding of guarantees provides generally that the guarantees are voided if the player “does not practice or play with Club.” A suspension of any kind arguably constitutes failure to practice or play.
Still, it would have been cleaner and simpler if the specific type of suspension that Fournette received were mentioned in the contract. It’s not. And that could end up costing the Jaguars $4.167 million — if Fournette isn’t traded or claimed on waivers.