Something I have been getting many questions about recently is the status of RB Mike Goodson with the New York Jets. So I figured I would give my interpretation of the situation based on my understanding of the CBA. Goodson signed with the Jets this past offseason with and was expected to compete for the starting job with the team. Goodson received a 3 year contract worth $6.9 million dollars that included $1 million in guarantees.
Things quickly went downhill for Goodson from there after he was arrested on a number of charges after he and a friend decided to just take a break from driving in the middle of Rt. 80 in NJ, which still amazed me and likely everyone else familiar with northwest Jersey. Though Goodson faced a number of charges he did continue to work for the Jets and seemed as if he would be in training camp as he prepared for his legal battles. However, when it was time to report to camp Goodson failed to do so.
Procedurally the Jets placed Goodson on the Reserve/Did Not Report list, which means Goodson does not count towards the 90 man roster limit. Failing to report also constitutes a forfeitable breach of contract and makes the players open to fines from the team. Because Goodson was an Unrestricted Free Agent and this was his season of signing those fines are increased over a standard “holdout” player. A player failing to report is subject to fines of $30,000 per day. Because Goodson is a new signed UFA he can also be fined one weeks salary for each Preseason game he misses, which would be $58,823. That said, it is questionable as to whether the Jets can and will fine Goodson.
Initially the Jets organization said that they were well aware that Goodson would not report with the other players and that the Jets understood the situation. While none of us know what that situation is and if it’s related to legal or personal matters, the fact that the Jets claimed they understood could indicate that the absence itself is excused. If excused Goodson would not be subject to fines.
The forfeiture clause would likely still stand, though I guess it’s possible that he could claim some type of hardship beyond the legal issues. Goodson has already missed more than 11 days of camp which begins the breach process. At this point Goodson has forfeited 15% of his allocations for the year and will forfeit 1% more per day up to 25% total. Goodson’s forfeitable allocation for the year is $333,333, so he has already forfeited $50,000 of that total. If he misses the first regular season game he will forfeit 25% of his remaining forfeitable allocation. Once week 5 hits he will lose a week’s worth of bonus money for each game missed. Considering the recent tone coming from the Jets in regards to Goodson it would seem likely that he won’t play for the Jets. If he does not play he will lose all $333,333 in bonus money for the year and will also not earn his $1 million base salary.
The Jets would likely keep Goodson on the Reserve/Did Not Report List for the entire season. If Goodson remains on the list he will be eligible to return to the active roster at any point up until the trade deadline. After that point Roger Goodell could approve his return to the team until only 30 days remain in the season. Once the 30 day period begins Goodson would officially be shelved for the season. The Jets can ask for a two week roster exemption if he decides to play again.
By maintaining his spot with this roster mechanism the Jets will retain Goodson’s rights and thus be able to continue to reclaim the bonus money they already paid him under the standard terms of the CBA. If they released Goodson they could potentially have to go through a grievance process by which they reclaim his money.
Though not reflected on the site, Goodson’s $1 million dollar Paragraph 5 salary does not currently count towards the salary cap. The only portion of his contract that counts on the salary cap is the prorated portion of his signing bonus. When and if he reports his $1 million dollar P5 will go back onto the salary cap. Any forfeiture money will be credited to the Jets books the following season, so if he fails to play in 2013 the Jets will receive an upward cap adjustment of $333,333 in 2014 to reflect the forfeiture from 2013.
Last season G Brian Waters sat out the entire season with the New England Patriots. Waters was in the second year of his contract with New England and seemed to dispute his salary and agreement with the Patriots. The feeling was he wanted to go play closer to home in Houston. Because 2012 was the final season of Waters contract his contract tolled and the Patriots maintained his rights in 2013. New England chose to release him this offseason rather than going through the headache of maintaining him on the roster. New England had no money to reclaim so it was an easy decision to make.
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.