Commanders Release K Brandon McManus Amid Lawsuit

9:58pm: In what will be the final McManus update of the night, Mike Florio of NBC Sports provided some insight into the kicker’s compensation as a result of his release. According to Florio, McManus had already been paid half of the $1.5MM signing bonus on his one-year, $3.6MM contract. The remaining $750K of the signing bonus was due to be paid “on or before June 7,” which is this upcoming Friday.

The Commanders could opt not to pay McManus under some argument — Florio suggests that they could argue that McManus should’ve disclosed the potential civil claims before the team signed him — and take the kicker to arbitration. While under arbitration, Washington would still hold the cap charge for the unpaid money. If the team is successful in arbitration, though, they would get cap relief and would not be required to pay the remainder of the signing bonus.

8:37pm: Quick on the draw, McManus’ representation, Brett Gallaway, has released another statement on the release of his client, per Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post. After a quick cordiality, Gallaway maintained his client’s innocence, reiterating “that the allegations against Brandon are and remain absolutely false and importantly, are contradicted by indisputable evidence and the accusers’ own prior inconsistent statements and omissions.”

Gallaway also expresses disappointment in the team’s decision to terminate McManus’ contract before the kicker had a chance to defend himself against the allegations of sexual assault. Regardless, McManus and Gallaway will continue to advocate for his innocence and work to return the 32-year-old to the NFL.

6:52pm: The Commanders signed veteran kicker Brandon McManus three months ago expecting him to provide them with an upgrade at the position in 2024. Last week saw the former Jaguars kicker named in a sexual assault lawsuit of which he vehemently denied the allegations. The Commanders are apparently not taking any chances, though, announcing that they have released McManus today.

Washington allowed Joey Slye to walk in free agency after just over two years with the team. During his time with the team, Slye missed 10 of 66 field goal attempts and eight of 73 extra point attempts. McManus hasn’t seen much more success in the last two years, missing 15 of 58 field goal attempts in the past two seasons, but he has at least been more consistent on extra points and has much more experience than the 28-year-old Slye.

Last week, though, McManus and his former team were both named in a lawsuit made by anonymous plaintiffs accusing McManus of rubbing himself and grinding against them and offering them cash to drink with and dance inappropriately for him and accusing Jacksonville of facilitating this behavior by failure to supervise. Both women worked as flight attendants at the time of the incident but have since been removed from the flight crew that works with the team’s trips.

McManus’ representation released a statement later that day, saying that the allegations were “absolutely fictitious and demonstrably false and that they were “part of a campaign to defame and disparage the 32-year-old kicker. Both the Jaguars and Commanders released statements of their own. Both franchises acknowledged the allegations and their severity and claimed to be looking into the matter further.

Jacksonville’s statement emphasized that they “insist on an organization built by people who represent (their) community and game with the highest character and class.” Since then, the team, namely head coach Doug Pederson, has pleaded ignorance. Pederson made claims that he was disappointed to hear about the lawsuit when it first became public, and that typical flights for the team are more in the realm of a business trip.

Washington’s statement claimed that they take allegations of this nature very seriously and had been in communication with the league office and McManus’ representation. The team’s responsibility to take allegations of this nature very seriously is perhaps underlined by the allegations made in 2020 aimed at their former owner Dan Snyder, who reportedly sexually harassed and discriminated against former employees including office workers and cheerleaders.

There’s an argument to be made that no new information was made available to the Commanders and that the team frankly refused to put up with any more bad press of that nature. McManus and the Jaguars still have lawsuits that will need to play out, but the Commanders had an opportunity to cut ties with the situation and get their name out of the press surrounding it, and they’ve effectively done just that.

That’s just speculation, but the reality of the situation now sees McManus in need of a job, though that will likely be the lower of his two current priorities. A similar situation saw former Bills punter Matt Araiza leave the NFL after being accused in participating in a gang rape. His accuser eventually agreed to drop the lawsuit (in exchange for Araiza dropping a lawsuit accusing defamation), and the former sixth-round draft pick has joined the Chiefs two months later. If McManus gets through the litigation unscathed and clean, he’ll then be tasked with reestablishing his spot in the NFL. If not, though, we may have seen the end of the road for the veteran kicker.

As for Washington, they will open up phase III of organized team activities tomorrow, and after cutting McManus, they currently don’t have a kicker on the roster. Randy Bullock is one of few veteran free agent kickers available after appearing in only six games for the Giants last year. There are likely a number of undrafted college kickers who would be available to sign, as well. Whatever the move, the Commanders need to add a leg to their locker room quickly.

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