NFLPA told Broncos that threat to bench Russell Wilson violated CBA

NFLPA told Broncos that threat to bench Russell Wilson violated CBA

طوبیٰ Tooba 55 years ago 0 0

The NFL Players Association told the Denver Broncos in an early-November letter that the team’s threat to bench quarterback Russell Wilson if he did not agree to adjust his contract was illegal and violated the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA, creating the possibility that the union would initiate an arbitration proceeding or litigation against the team and the league.

The letter by NFLPA attorney Jeffrey Kessler was dated Nov. 4 and was sent to the Broncos and the NFL’s management council.

“It has come to our attention that the Denver Broncos recently informed Mr. Wilson and his Certified Contract Advisor that if Mr. Wilson would not renegotiate his Player Contract to relinquish certain salary guarantees, the Broncos would remove him from the starting lineup,” the NFLPA wrote in the letter, a copy of which The Washington Post obtained.

The letter continued: “If the Broncos follow-through on the Club’s threat, the Club will violate, among other things, the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Mr. Wilson’s Player Contract and New York law. And, we are particularly concerned that the Broncos still intend to commit these violations under the guise of ‘coaching decisions.’ ”

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The Broncos have benched Wilson in favor of Jarrett Stidham, who is scheduled to start Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers in Denver. The team made the move last week, and Coach Sean Payton informed players about it Wednesday.

“Accordingly, we write to notify you that the NFLPA and Mr. Wilson ‘reasonably anticipate’ arbitration and/or litigation against the Broncos and the Management Council, triggering your respective obligations to preserve potentially relevant documents,” the NFLPA wrote.

It was not immediately clear Sunday whether the NFLPA still intends to pursue possible litigation or arbitration over the matter.

Wilson told reporters Friday that the Broncos had threatened in late October to bench him for the rest of the season if he did not agree to adjust his contract and address an injury guarantee tied to a $37 million offseason payment.

“They came up to me during the bye week, the beginning of the bye week, on Monday or Tuesday,” Wilson said Friday, “and they told me that if I didn’t change my contract, my injury guarantee, that I’d be benched for the rest of the year. … I was definitely disappointed about it. … The NFLPA and NFL got involved or whatever, I think, at some point.”

Payton said last week that he’d made the starting-quarterback switch for football-related reasons, tied to attempting to win Sunday’s game. Payton said he was not involved in any deliberations with Wilson about his contract.

Under Wilson’s contract, the $37 million payment becomes fully guaranteed in March. It currently is guaranteed against injury only. By sitting Wilson now, the Broncos may avoid the possibility of him suffering an injury that would guarantee the payment and make it more difficult to trade or release him in the offseason, if they choose to do so.

Broncos sit down QB Russell Wilson in favor of Jarrett Stidham

Wilson’s contract would count about $85 million against the Broncos’ salary cap if they were to release him in the offseason, although that could be spread over more than one season.

The Broncos acquired Wilson in a March 2022 trade in which they sent a package of players and draft choices, including two first-round picks, to the Seattle Seahawks. They signed Wilson to a five-year, approximately $245 million contract extension that September, putting him under contract through the 2028 season.

Wilson, 35, is in his second season with the Broncos after 10 seasons with the Seahawks in which he was selected to nine Pro Bowls and won a Super Bowl title.

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