JacksonThat’s how much he would have made over the next 15 weeks under the terms of his original four-year contract. NFL players receive 17 game checks a year (that includes the bye week). Jackson already had received two game checks in a season in which he was scheduled to earn $550,000.
Jackson isn’t eligible to be reinstated until Sept. 22, 2011. Even if he returns next season, he’ll likely miss a couple of game checks. This also puts Jackson’s future earnings very much up in the air. Depending on what happens with the labor situation for next season, Jackson could be either a restricted free agent or an unrestricted free agent. He is not under contract for 2011, but it's possible his current one could roll over to next year, depending on the structure of any potential labor agreement.
But all that is based on Jackson returning, which is not a certainty. He’ll have to pass regular drug tests and convince the NFL his problems are behind him. That’s been done before, but I’ve also seen other players in similar situations just slip away and never be heard from again.
The saddest example of that I can think of is the case of Rashard Anderson who was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in the first round in 2000. The defensive back showed some promise in his first two seasons, but was suspended for all of the 2002 season.
The regulations for reinstatement are very stringent and Anderson’s suspension wound up being extended for the 2003 season. At the time, Anderson’s agent said the reason his client was suspended the second time was because he consumed a few glasses of wine at his sister’s wedding.
Anderson was reinstated after the 2003 season and the Panthers immediately released him. He never played in the NFL again.