Bye-bye signing bonus (which is already spent). Hello debt management.
Every news report I've seen and heard has said he did in fact have a clause in his contract specifically restricting him from riding a motorcycle. It was also announced last year (when he got injured) that his contract is highly incentive laiden (much more then average).
Maybe the Colts should pick him up so they could get that quota of 10 tightends on the team met. What a maroon.
05-24-2005, 09:33 AM
I cant find the article right now, but his agent did say he did not have that clause in his contract.
He is, as of yesterday, being asked to return part of his signing bonus....
He violated a "hazardous activity clause" in his contract. I don't know if it specifically cites motorcycles, but it's obvious that it qualifies as hazardous.
05-24-2005, 06:32 PM
I bet they won't take any money from him. They need him to come back and be the face of the franchise and sell Browns gear for years to come.
05-24-2005, 09:09 PM
POSTED 10:16 a.m. EDT; UPDATED 10:34 a.m. EDT, May 22, 2005
BROWNS NEED TO MOVE FAST ON WINSLOW
Now that it's clear Browns tight end Kellen Winslow will miss the entire 2005 season with a torn ACL in his right knee, we decided that it was time to revisit the contract language that could result in the Browns recovering big coin from Kellnievel.
Apart from the fact that the Browns could, if they so choose, put Winslow on the "non-football injury" list and decline to pay his salary for 2005, the Browns can seek repayment of most of Winslow's signing bonus.
By "most," we mean "all but $1 million of it."
And much of that money, upon further review of the contract, hasn't even been paid yet.
By way of background, the bonus was divided into an initial signing bonus and an option bonus that the team exercised earlier this year.
The signing bonus was created by a "Signing, Reporting and Playing Bonus Addendum" to Winslow's deal. Per this attachment to Winslow's contract, the Browns agreed to pay Winslow $6 million, in multiple installments.
Winslow got $2 million upon execution of the Addendum and $1.05 million on December 15, 2004. Winslow is scheduled to receive $2 million on July 15, 2005 and another $950,000 on December 15, 2005.
The money isn't a lottery prize, but extra consideration in anticipation that Winslow will be available to play football for the 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 seasons. If he's not available to play for reasons unrelated to football, he then is responsible for refunding some of the money.
Specifically, the Addendum states as follows: "In the event Player . . . fails . . . to practice or play with the Club for any reason including . . . Player's injury as a result of . . . participation in hazardous activities which involve a significant risk of personal injury . . . including . . . motorcycling . . . then Player shall be in default of this Agreement and upon demand by Club, Player shall forfeit and immediately return and refund to Club any of the bonus previously paid by Club, and Player shall relinquish the right to receive any unpaid bonus in the amount set forth below."
The table following that contract language says that, for a default occurring between February 2, 2005 and before February 1, 2006, $5 million shall be repaid.
Winslow also was paid a separate "option bonus." Specifically, he received $4.412 million under an "Optional Extension Agreement" triggered at the outset of the 2005 league year.
The Optional Extension Agreement contains forfeiture language identical to the Addendum, and the Optional Extension Agreement permits the team to recover the entire $4.412 million for a default occurring prior February 1, 2006.
Of that amount, $2 million already has been paid, and $2.412 million will be paid to Winslow on July 15, 2005.
Winslow's total potential liability, contrary to much lower numbers reported elsewhere, is a whopping $9.412 million.
And the kicker here is that, of the $9.412 million, $5.362 million of it is still in owner Randy Lerner's pocketses.
As a result, the Browns need to bring this issue to a head before July 15, when $4.412 million is due to be paid to Winslow.
The easiest and least confrontational course of action for the Browns would be to allow July 15 to come and go without paying the money to Winslow, thereby forcing him to take action to get it. Under the terms of his contract, Winslow's likelihood of success would fall somewhere between "fat f--king chance" and "when Art Modell is snowboarding in Hell."
But there's at least one straight-faced argument that Winslow and his representation could make if the Browns merely allow July 15 to pass without taking any action. Applying the precedent of Brady v. Brady (i.e., the case of the "exact words"), the default language could be read to require the Browns to make a demand for repayment before withholding money that hasn't been handed over to The Chosen One.
Building on that potential technicality, Team Kellnievel could then argue that, by failing to make a demand for repayment before the day on which further money was to be paid to Winslow, the Browns necessarily have waived the ability to retain the unpaid money.
It's a flimsy argument, to be sure. But we're talking about big coin here, and our guess is that Winslow's camp will do anything and everything they can to fight this, if the Browns don't hand over $4.412 million on July 15.
If we were calling the shots in Cleveland (and the denizens of Dawg Pound should be licking their balls in celebration of the fact that we aren't), we'd be working behind the scenes now on a compromise that, for example, would allow the team to keep the unpaid $5.362 million in unpaid bonus money and then convert it into incentives that Winslow can earn in 2006 or beyond, if/when he ever gets to the level of performance that the team anticipated when drafting him in 2004.
Psychologically, this proposal would be much easier for Winslow to swallow than paying back money he already has received.
The wild card here is Winslow's representation by two jokers, Carl and Kevin Poston. Reasonable they usually aren't, and thus the Browns need to figure out sooner rather than later whether a middle ground can be negotiated, or whether the team needs to take a hard line by demanding repayment and withholding the $4.412 million that Winslow is due to receive in less than two months.
Without a doubt, it's a tricky situation for the powers-that-be in Cleveland. But with a new regime in place and a gradual purging of the malcontents who otherwise would have been *****ing about the perceived mistreatment of Winslow, there's no time like the present for the Browns to take control of the situation.
Especially since they are holding all of the cards.
And most of the money.
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