Calvin Johnson willing to mend relationship with team if they return money

That poses an interesting question. If the Lions did give that money back to CJ, would it have to count against the cap again? It was supposedly a little over a million dollars. That’s not much to the organization or Martha, but for the salary cap it could make the difference between signing the player you really want or having to settle for a lesser player.

That’s easy, just pay him like they do Barry, for appearances. Throw him $500,000 for coming out for the coin toss at the beginning of the game a game for a couple years…

And you should be. And how much money the company has is completely irrelevant.

If I were the league, I wouldn’t have allowed that loophole. But when I read the CBA, it’s f-ing stupid in a lot of ways.

I think if he un-retired, certainly. But if they paid him to be an ambassador, probably not.

At the time the Lions asked him to pay back the money, the Lions would reasonably be thinking about their cap. Every dollar they recover is less dead money and more they can spend.

Calvin got 2/3 of the amount he should have paid back and he’s still upset? Him taking hte money amounted to taking money from the team building capability and his fellow players and he’s still thinking he’s wronged?

I don’t know how anyone can support CJ at all given the effect on the team of keeping money he didn’t earn.

Lions learned a lesson that day. Never give back any portion in exchange for goodwill.

CJ is a complete a–hole and I hate him now.

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Considering the amount of money Calvin made the Lions, and given Calvin’s personal record and image is flawless,it’s more then understandable that some people would take his side. It’s so out of character.

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How many playoff wins did he make us?

He was the wrong pick anyway. Just another one of Millen’s top heavy pipe dreams.

Exactly this. The military has a variety of bonus programs just like this. Sign a contract for 5 years, get $20k. Bail after 4 years? Better have $4k to give back to the government. Not unusual at all.

I still understand the argument that CJ did so much as a Lion that Detroit should have just let him keep the bonus. He certainly did more for the Lions than I did for the Navy, anyway. But the Lions, legally, are certainly in the right.

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Given how selfish he’s looking here, it makes you wonder how much of his activity behind the scenes was actually team oriented.

It’s one thing if it were the organization’s money with no cap implications. But it’s another thing altogether if you’re talking cap money. I want that to go to the team on the field or in the coffers to roll over to the next year.

Your analogy does not hold water to the situation. You have to remember, what we did to Calvin is not “industry standard.” So you have to consider something you fully expect to be able to keep based on others in your field, but when the time comes your company decides to come after a portion of it.

Its not about the letter of the law, its about competition with 31 other teams for talent. The only reason it even matters is because its not standard for other teams we are competing against for talent to go after bonus money from guys like CJ.


"Teams can end a contract at any time, but so can players. In a player’s case, though, the only way they can do this is by retiring. In the end, though, the math looks pretty much the same as if the player had been cut – and the June 1 rule applies here, too.

For instance, if our player from the example above had retired instead of being cut, his money would account the same way as if he had been cut by the team. If he files his retirement paperwork on or after June 1, the money counts as if he was cut on or after June 1.

Just like anything else in the NFL, though, there is a “but” for this rule, too: if the player retires with time remaining on his contract, then chooses to come back into the league later, he is not a free agent . Contracts apply, in most cases, to accrued seasons , not calendar years. If the player doesn’t play, he doesn’t accrue a season. Therefore, his return to the field would put him back under the control of the same team, unless that team chooses to cut him. This rule is part of the reason why Barry Sanders chose to retire: the Lions refused to cut him, and he decided he’d rather stop playing altogether than play another season for Detroit. Conversely, Brett Favreretired, and then the team chose to cut him while he was retired. He was then able to return to the league later as a free agent.

Okay, there are actually two “buts” for retirements. When a player retires, the team has the option to pursue the return of a portion of the signing bonus equal to the unplayed portions of the contract, and that money is no longer counted against the salary cap. This is typically done through an arbitrator. This is known as the “Barry Sanders Rule” because this is exactly how the situation played out in his case, as he was required to pay back a portion of his bonus. The difference between now and then is there was no precedent when Sanders played; now, it’s explicitly written into the CBA to allow for this arbitration."


Seattle sued Malik McDowell to recover a pro rated part of his signing bonus. Along with the article above there certainly is precedence

It just depends on the good will of the team. Personally I will always favor team over player. I’m a fan of -the lions- not a fan of (insert diva here)

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The McDowell situation is different to me because he wrecked his own career doing something stupid. CJ retired because his body was breaking down after 9 years of often carrying the offense, and he didn’t think the Lions were going anywhere.

I still think he has gone too far in wanting the Lions to pay him before he’ll consider coming back as essentially a team employee. I understand why he was upset about having to pay anything back after all he did for the team, though he also needs to realize that dead money on the cap is a killer for NFL teams. The Lions didn’t take the money back out of malice.

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Beautifully worded!
My more brutal take, “my former teammates should have been made to feel my absence a little more.”

I would buy that if he didn’t come out later wanting to be traded so he could play for the Raiders…

He shouldn’t have gone public with it. THAT was the biggest douche move.

You’re absolutely correct there was no malice. As evidenced by them letting him keep 66% of what they could have reclaimed. What if not taking that money back meant losing a player we wanted to keep?

CJ is dead to me.

When he retired the entire remaining balance of his pro-rated signing bonus was accelerated into the cap. The Lions asked him to return the portion which would get them under the cap, so not the entire 3.2 million to which they were entitled, but a portion which would keep them in line with the cap. They were entitled to all 3.2M. They took back a million. If you look at it objectively, the Lions had to get under the cap. They could have taken the whole pro-rated portion because he retired, but they didn’t. Now he wants his bonus or he won’t associate with the team. Let him go into the HOF but tell him not to wear any Lion gear because he doesn’t represent us. Tell the NFL he doesn’t represent you and ask the NFL not to run highlights which he appears in Lions gear of any type acquiescing to his wishes. I think it would be hilarious if they sued to prohibit the use of the Detroit Lions name in conjunction with any of his stats or descriptions and it would just have to read he played from this year to that. These are his stats but they couldn’t list the team. It would be a first. I say let the millionaire have what he wants, but not one dime more from the organization. No monies he would have earned attending meaningless team functions. Nothing. Bye, you greedy mf’er.

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Maybe they should send the entire current practice squad to his place to kick his ass?

Pretty sure you can’t do that as the Detroit Lions are a part of the NFL as a whole and the NFL owns all the rights to the team in actuality. It’s like when the NFL forced Richardson to sell the Panthers… The NFL and NFLPA hold all the cards, not the individual team.

Think about it this way… If the NFC North decided it wanted to separate from the NFL and start their own league, could they? Yes. What teams would they be? They’d still be the Lions, Vikings, Packers and Bears. Those team-owners own those teams. They are theirs.

Now, with that group of teams out of the NFL after an ugly divorce, would the NFL ever be able to show a Barry highlight again? Would the NFL ever be able to show any of our past players in their jerseys? Yes. Why? There were agreements in place at the time. They were NFL members and NFL players at a time and the NFL will have agreements in place that protect their right to distribute, reproduce, blah blah blah.

So, technically, the Lions couldn’t do what was suggested because of that reason alone (well, that and there’s literally ZERO likelihood it would have been attempted).

Now… The “league” IS the owners. They are the league. It’s not “the league” as an entity headed by Roger Goodell that forced Richardson out, rather, it’s the 31 other owners who decided it was in their best interests to force him out. He could have said “If I’m out, I’m taking my team with me”, but without membership with the others, his team has no value. So, yeah, he’s “out” as in he was forced to sell his team for a billion dollars or whatever it was.

Very well explained