Philadelphia Eagles tackle Jason Peters and Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, two All-Pro players who have suffered offseason Achilles injuries that have put part or all of their 2012 seasons in jeopardy, may lose millions of dollars in salary because both fall under the nonfootball-injury provision of the collective bargaining agreement.
The applicable wording in the CBA, Article 20, Section 3 provision states: "A player who is placed on a Nonfootball injury or Illness list ("N-F/I") is not entitled to any compensation under his contract while on such list ..."
Both players have claimed they were injured during off-site training sessions, but league and union sources agree that any injury sustained that does not occur at the team's facility or under its direction is considered a "Nonfootball injury."
The Eagles and Ravens may act in accordance with their own wishes and pay the players all or a portion of their salaries. League sources say both Peters and Suggs are facing a financial reduction in 2012.
Peters will be subject to a loss of at least $3.25 million of his scheduled base salary of $7.9 million because that is the amount the Eagles will pay his replacement, former Bills tackle Demetress Bell, to take his spot this season. League sources say the team already has amicably discussed the financial reduction with Peters and his representative, Eugene Parker.
Peters tore his Achilles on March 27 and underwent surgery in early April and was expected to miss the entire season. He also reinjured the same surgically repaired Achilles this week and will need a second surgery.
Suggs underwent surgery May 7 to repair a partially torn Achilles, which he claimed he suffered while training in Arizona. Suggs said he expects to return sometime during the coming season.
Suggs' case appears slightly more complicated because he has a partially torn Achilles and has said he believes he will return by October or shortly thereafter. If he were placed on the PUP list when the season begins, he would be required to miss at least the first six games. It is conceivable the Ravens could not pay him those six game checks from his $4.9 million base salary.
Technically, as the CBA states, the teams are not obligated to pay any salary due Peters and Suggs, but sources say both are such vital players and in otherwise good standing with their respective organizations that it appears unlikely the teams would take such drastic action. The Eagles and Ravens also want Peters and Suggs motivated to rehab diligently from their injuries.
Both players have significant offseason workout bonuses and escalator clauses at risk. Peters has a $100,000 workout bonus and a $250,000 roster bonus. Suggs has a $250,000 escalator clause for the 2013 season. However, league sources say Suggs is contemplating a restructuring or extension of his contract when he is healthy that would reflect his status among the league's players after he was voted The Associated Press' NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2011.
One related matter that will be discussed and perhaps voted upon at Tuesday's league meetings in Atlanta pertains to allowing teams one exemption on a player who is placed on injured reserve. Players placed on IR cannot return at any point during the season. The exemption proposal, which was tabled for vote at the March meetings, would allow teams to return one player to the active roster at any point after midseason. In theory, this is to allow a player who has healed at a more accelerated rate than doctors first projected to return to his team later in the season.