NFL Player Contract
Section 9Forfeiture of Salary
Players and Clubs may not agree upon contract provisions that authorize the Club to obtain a forfeiture of any Salary from a player except to the extent and in the circumstances provided in this Section 9. For the avoidance of doubt, Paragraph 5 Salary already earned may never be forfeited, and other Salary already earned may never be forfeited except as expressly provided herein. The maximum permitted forfeitures described below do not in any way obligate any player or Club to agree to any forfeiture.
Forfeitable Breach. Any player who (i) willfully fails to report, practice or play with the result that the player’s ability to fully participate and contribute to the team is substantially undermined (for example, without limitation, holding out or leaving the squad absent a showing of extreme personal hardship); or (ii) is unavailable to the team due to conduct by him that results in his incarceration; or (iii) is unavailable to the team due to a nonfootball injury that resulted from a material breach of Paragraph 3 of his NFL Player Contract; or (iv) voluntarily retires (collectively, any “Forfeitable Breach”) may be required to forfeit signing bonus, roster bonus, option bonus and/or reporting bonus, and no other Salary, for each League Year in which a Forfeitable Breach occurs (collectively, “Forfeitable Salary Allocations”), as set forth below:
Training Camp. If a player commits a Forfeitable Breach resulting in his absence for six preseason days after the start of training camp, the player may be required to forfeit up to 15% of his Forfeitable Salary Allocations, and up to an additional 1% of his Forfeitable Salary Allocations for each additional preseason day missed after the six days, up to a maximum of 25% of his Forfeitable Salary Allocations. A player who misses five days or less of training camp may not be subject to forfeiture.
Continuing Violation. If a player commits a Forfeitable Breach resulting in his absence from training camp and such absence continues into the regular season, in addition to the maximum forfeiture permitted by Subsection (i) above, the player may be required to forfeit an additional 25% of the remaining Forfeitable Salary Allocations upon missing the first regular season game. If such absence continues beyond the fourth week of the regular season, the player may be required to forfeit up to his remaining Forfeitable Salary Allocations on a proportionate weekly basis (i.e., one-seventeenth for each missed regular season week after the fourth week).
Regular Season. If the player is not subject to Subsection (ii) above, and commits a Forfeitable Breach for the first time that League Year during the regular season, the player may be required to forfeit up to twenty-five percent (25%) of his Forfeitable Salary Allocations upon missing his first regular season game. If player’s Forfeitable Breach continues beyond four (4) consecutive weeks, then player may be required to forfeit up to his remaining Forfeitable Salary Allocations on a proportionate weekly basis (i.e., oneseventeenth for each missed regular season week after the fourth week).
Postseason. For the period following the Club’s last regular season game through the Club’s last postseason game, a player who commits a Forfeitable Breach during such period may be required to forfeit up to 25% of his Forfeitable Salary Allocations for that League Year, subject to Subsection (d) below.
Second Forfeitable Breach. If the player commits an initial Forfeitable Breach (including a Forfeitable Breach in training camp) and then commits a second Forfeitable Breach during the regular season or postseason in the same League Year, the player may be required to forfeit immediately the entirety of his remaining Forfeitable Salary Allocations for that League Year.
Retirement. Should a Forfeitable Breach occur due to player’s retirement, a Club may demand repayment of all Forfeitable Salary Allocations attributable to the proportionate amount, if any, for the present year and the Forfeitable Salary Allocations for future years. If the player fails to repay such amounts, then the Club may seek an award from the System Arbitrator pursuant to Article 15, for repayment of all Forfeitable Salary Allocations attributable to present and future years. Repayment of Forfeitable Salary Allocations attributable to future League Years must be made by June 1st of each League Year for which each Forfeitable Salary Allocation is attributable. If the player returns to play for the Club in the subsequent season, then the Club must either (a) take the player back under his existing contract with no forfeiture of the remaining Forfeitable Salary Allocations, or (b) release the player and seek repayment of any remaining Forfeitable Salary Allocations for future League Years.
Forfeitable Salary Allocations. For the purposes of this Section, the term “Forfeitable Salary Allocations” means: (i) for signing bonus, the Salary Cap allocation for the player’s signing bonus for that League Year; and (ii) for roster, option and reporting bonuses that are earned in the same League Year as the Forfeitable Breach, the allocation of such bonus for that League Year, out of the total amount of such bonus as allocated over that League Year and any remaining League Years in the player’s contract, notwithstanding the Salary Cap treatment of such bonuses. For example, without limitation, if a player has a $1 million roster bonus that is earned in the same year the player committed a Forfeitable Breach, then, regardless of when that roster bonus is to be paid, that bonus is attributable to the same year as the Forfeitable Breach; if the player has that year and one additional year remaining on his contract, then $500,000 of the roster bonus will be allocated to each of those years for purposes of any potential forfeiture calculation. If the Forfeitable Breach occurs in the second League Year in this example (i.e., the League Year after the roster bonus in this example is earned), there shall be no forfeiture of any portion of such roster bonus.
Proportionate Forfeiture. For purposes of this Section, a “proportionate” amount means one-seventeenth of the Forfeitable Salary Allocations for that League Year for each regular season week missed.
Maximum Forfeitable Salary. Under this Section, and without limitation, under no circumstances may a player be required to forfeit more than 100% of his Forfeitable Salary Allocations for each League Year in which he commits a Forfeitable Breach. With respect to roster bonus, option bonus and reporting bonus, a forfeiture may only occur if the Forfeitable Breach occurs in the same League Year in which the bonus is scheduled to be earned.
Player Contracts may not contain individually negotiated provisions for forfeiture relating to violations of the Policy on Performance-Enhancing Substances (formerly known as the Policy on Anabolic Steroids and Related Substances) or the NFL Policy and Program on Substances of Abuse, or for failing any drug test. A player suspended by the League pursuant to either of those policies for a period encompassing regular season or postseason games shall be required to forfeit any Forfeitable Salary Allocations on a proportionate weekly basis.
Any reference in a Player Contract to the Policy on Anabolic Steroids and Related Substances shall be deemed also to encompass reference to the Policy on Performance-Enhancing Substances and any amendments thereto; any reference in a Player Contract to the Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse shall be deemed also to encompass reference to the Policy and Program on Substances of Abuse and any amendments thereto.
Offseason. Salary may not be subject to forfeiture for missing voluntary offseason programs or voluntary minicamps, provided that the Club may have non-proratable participation bonuses for its offseason workout program.
Voiding of Guarantees. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Section 9, a Club and player may negotiate the circumstances under which the guarantee of any unearned Salary (including, without limitation, Paragraph 5 Salary and/or future year roster bonuses, option bonuses or reporting bonuses) may be voided. This Subsection (g) only applies to the guarantee aspect of the contract provision, and not to the amount that can be earned, and in no way expands the permissible scope of Forfeitable Salary under this Section.
Deduction/Payment. Recovery of any forfeiture under this Section may be made from any payments owed to a player under any NFL Player Contract with the Club claiming the forfeiture, from any salary, bonus installments, Performance-Based Pay, Postseason Pay, Severance Pay or Termination Pay otherwise owed by the claiming Club. If the player challenges such recovery by filing a proceeding before the System Arbitrator, the Club shall be required to put the disputed sums in escrow pending receipt of a final award. The assignment and/or termination of a player’s contract after events triggering the forfeiture shall not result in any waiver of the assigning or terminating Club’s right to seek to recover the full amount of any forfeiture.
2006 CBA. This Section is intended to supersede Section 9 of Article XIV of the 2006 Collective Bargaining Agreement, and to overrule the decision in the proceeding under that Prior Agreement involving Plaxico Burress to the extent that the provisions in this Section 9 alter that decision with respect to Player Contracts entered into on or after July 25, 2011.
Dispute Resolution. Any disputes regarding this Section, including any dispute regarding a player’s failure to repay Salary pursuant to this Section, shall be resolved exclusively by the System Arbitrator under the provisions of Article 15.
Club Discretion. Except as provided in Subsection (e), any attempt to seek or collect a forfeiture from a player shall be solely in the Club’s discretion, and any failure by a Club to seek a forfeiture from a player under this Section shall not be deemed a violation of any provision of this Agreement.
Contract Provision. It shall be permissible for a player and Club to agree in a Player Contract as follows: “Player shall be subject to forfeiture of Salary to the maximum extent permitted under Article 4, Section 9 of this Agreement. A player is not in any way obligated to agree to any such forfeiture clause, or any lesser forfeiture permitted by this Section.