The bullying allegations outlined in the Wells Report have greatly changed the free agent stocks of Dolphins’ offensive linemen John Jerry and Richie Incognito. Here at Pro Football Rumors, we’ve looked at how the report has changed the way teams view these players. Between the character questions and looming suspensions, the amount of money Jerry and Incognito stand to lose could be significant.
While Jerry’s prospects are still as slim as they were, things have changed slightly for Incognito. Pundits have been speculating the severity of the embattled guard’s suspension, with many floating the idea that he might be forced to sit out another year. Now there is a possibility he will not be suspended at all, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.
According to the CBA, Article 46, Section 4 a player cannot be disciplined by both the Commissioner and the team for the same act. Incognito was suspended by the Dolphins for eight games in 2013, as allegations were first becoming public. This could preclude the NFL from adding an additional suspension. Florio adds that the NFLPA planned on fighting any suspension on these terms.
Florio continues to write that the league could argue the original suspension was for his behavior towards Jonathan Martin, but could still suspend him for other offenses.
While avoiding suspension would certainly help Incognito’s chance of landing with another team, he may have already further hurt his case via his own Twitter rants in the aftermath of the report becoming public. He returned to Twitter today, with an apology. Still, the few defenders who thought his “edge” or “mean streak” was an asset could have trouble reconciling his social media accounts with the idea that he still had some redeemable character qualities.
The victim, Martin, was also thought to have suffered from the report. His release from the club was considered a certainty. It seemed best for both parties to allow him to move on if the team could not trade him.
Cutting Martin seems unlikely, writes Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post. Abramson spoke to employment attorney William Amlong of Fort Lauderdale.
“Cutting him would be idiocy because then you do have a lot of great potential for litigation,” Amlong said. “If I were representing him, my argument is going to be that maybe this guy is not the greatest tackle in the world yet, but he’s a second-year guy and he has enough potential. If they didn’t have any plans to cut him before he started complaining and now they do, that’s not good.”
Martin’s agent is set to meet with the Dolphins at the Scouting Combine this week. Abramson notes that the best solution Amlong provided was for the team to pay Martin the $1.87MM he’s owed for the final two years of his contract, and then they would be free to release him.