The Seahawks are suing 2017 second-round pick Malik McDowell in order to recoup an additional $799,238 in signing bonus money, according to Matt Charboneau of the Detroit News. McDowell has never made an NFL appearance after getting injured in an ATV accident three months after being drafted.
Earlier this year, an arbitrator ruled McDowell must repay Seattle a total of $1,599,238. The Seahawks withheld McDowell’s 2018 salary of $800K, and the club is now searching for the rest of the total. McDowell didn’t dispute the ruling or appeal, but he’s yet to make a payment to the club.
By sustaining severe injuries in that ATV accident, McDowell violated a portion of his contact which states he shall not “engage in any activity other than football which may involve a significant risk of personal injury,” as Brady Henderson of ESPN.com writes. McDowell spent his first two NFL seasons on the non-football injury list, and the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement indicates players on said list may be required to forfeit signing bonus money, per Henderson.
McDowell, a Michigan State product, was officially waived in March of this year and is now a free agent. Two weeks after getting cut by Seattle, McDowell took a visit with the Cowboys, but Dallas’ doctors haven’t been able to give him a clean bill of health. McDowell’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said in March that his client has been medically cleared by independent doctors.
As Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports writes, the suit between the Seahawks and McDowell reveals the existence of a an extremely strained relationship between the two parties. A team suing a player for a relatively small amount of money is nearly unprecedented, per Robinson, who adds Seattle previously attempted to recoup all of McDowell’s rookie contract and is now seeing interest on the current missed payment.
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