Miami Dolphins defenisve end Dion Jordan has been suspended for the entire 2015 season due to a violation of the substance abuse policy. This marks Jordan’s second major suspension in the last two years, and will likely result in the end of a very disappointing career, one in which the 3rd overall pick produced just 3 sacks. Miami had been shopping around the NFL and hoped to trade him, but this suspension will end any trade possibilities. Let’s look what this means for his contract going forward.
Jordan’s current cap charge is $5.267 million and he was set to earn $2.275 million in cash salary. The salary was made up of a $585,000 base salary and $1.69 million training camp roster bonus. Originally those salaries were both fully guaranteed, but those guarantees became void when he was suspended in 2014.
Once Jordan’s suspension is officially processed, which should be today, his cap figure will drop to $4.68 million, which represents the loss of the $585,000 in salary for the 2015 year. The roster bonus, however, should remain in the current cap charge. Roster bonuses, unlike base salary, fall under the forfeiture provisions in the CBA and are given up over the remaining life of the contract. His current prorated charge from his signing bonus will also remain.
Due to missing the entire year, Jordan will technically forfeit his entire $2.99M proration for the season. However, that money may prove difficult for the Dolphins to recover since they only owe him that roster bonus and some minor amounts of Performance Based Pay. The most common way to recover forfeited money is to deduct it from salary owed and with nothing owed it can be near impossible to recover. If the Dolphins do recover the money they will receive a $2.99M credit in 2016.
That should make an interesting decision for Miami in regards to Jordan’s status. If I am correct in the way the roster bonus works, the Dolphins first option would be to keep Jordan on the roster this year at a cap figure of $4.68 million, pay him the roster bonus of which Miami would keep the entire amount to cover forfeiture clauses of his signing bonus, and receive a credit next season on the recovery. They would do the same in 2016 and recover more money that would eventually be applied in 2017 as a credit. Doing that, however, would require them to carry him at a pretty high cap charge next year (around $5 million), even if suspended, and the Dolphins have limited cap room in 2016.
The second option is for the team to realize that the odds of recovery of the bonus are so slim that its not worth holding the salary cap hits to try to recover it and they should instead just release him outright. If he was released tomorrow his cap charge would be $5.98 million in 2015 and $0 in 2016. They could designate him a June 1 and take $2.99M per year in cap charges. I’d probably consider this Miami’s best option, unless my understanding of the roster bonus is incorrect and it will be removed from the cap hit this season.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.