Antonio Brown is embroiled in an ongoing dispute with Raiders GM Mike Mayock and various reporters are speculating that the guarantees in his contract could be voided if they do indeed suspend him for conduct detrimental to the team. Brown would not be the first player for this to happen to:
- Aaron Hernandez’s contract was voided by the Patriots in 2013 after he was arrested and charged in the murder of Odin Lloyd. It was still an open question as recently as 2017 as to whether Hernandez’s estate would be able to recover the money from the Patriots. (It goes without saying that this is not an analogous situation to Brown with regards to specific conduct.)
- Trent Richardson’s contract was voided by the Colts in 2015. Richardson was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team after he missed a walkthrough and flight to a playoff game, reportedly to attend to “serious complications” with his girlfriend’s pregnancy. Richardson filed a grievance and reportedly settled for about $560,000, or around 18% of the guaranteed money he would have been owed.
- Eli Apple was suspended by the Giants for conduct detrimental to the team in 2017, which would have enabled the team to void his guarantees. However, they wound up trading him to the Saints in 2018.
The Brown case will remain fascinating to observe.