Jermichael Finley is still a free agent, and the common thought is that he was searching for an NFL team for the 2014 season.
However, most fans and pundits were led to believe that if he was not able to sign a deal, or if he chose not to, he could at least fall back on an insurance policy that would pay him his permanent disability after suffering a career-threatening neck injury early last season.
Finley even said as much last month, telling Tom Pelissero of USA Today, “If I quit the game right now, I can take tax-free money, and that’s a difficult thing that I’m going through with myself.”
Unfortunately, this might not be true. The fact that he has been cleared to play and has had negotiations with NFL teams could disqualify him from claiming that his injury ended his career, and cost him some or all of the $10MM insurance policy, according to Rand Getlin of Yahoo Sports.
Getlin writes that an insurance executive and an insurance recovery attorney both agree that it is highly unlikely that Finley would still be able to collect on that policy. He notes that the insurance company would take Finley to court and argue that he was cleared to play by his doctor, and that he announced to the NFL that he was healthy and ready to be signed.
If Finley and his agent were trying to leverage the insurance policy into a larger NFL contract, and teams call his bluff, there is a chance he will walk away with neither or have to crawl back into the NFL at the veteran’s minimum.
Getlin also notes that while Finley had disability coverage, he did not purchase loss of value insurance. Disability only pays if the player cannot pay, while loss of value insurance would have paid out if he was able to sign a contract for a fraction of what he was worth before his injury.