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Telvin Smith will have to pay a minimum of $88,650 to not play football this season.
The Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker announced in early May that he was stepping away from the NFL in 2019 to “get my world in order”. It appears he wasn’t bluffing, or trying to demand a trade or any of the usual tactics to earn more money. Smith hasn’t been involved in any team activities since January.
The money he owes is the result of skipping a mandatory three-day minicamp recently held by the Jaguars and came to light after Smith posted a notice of the fines on his Instagram account. A screenshot of the post was captured by LockedOnJaguars.com
Since Smith has not officially notified Jacksonville of his intentions this season, it makes complete sense the team would send a notice of fines. The Jaguars are strictly following the current collective bargaining agreement which seems like a smart way to make sure they won’t have to pay the roughly $10 million owed to him each year for the next three seasons.
In that sense, $88,000 isn’t going to put too much of a dent in Smith’s bank account. To make matters even more technical, $5 million of Smith’s salary this season was guaranteed on March 17 which Smith forfeited by not attending minicamp. The Jags could still be on the hook for that amount had they not sent an official notice.
As ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio points out, there’s a big difference between informing the player of a fine and acting to enforce it.
Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue skipped minicamp as well as he continues to hold out for a new contract. He’s likely facing the same fines as Smith, albeit in a different way. For Smith, filling official retirement paperwork would allow the Jags to place him on the reserve/retired list, freezing his contract while opening up salary cap space and a roster spot. The fine print of this may seem messy, but checks and balances like this are exactly why the CBA was set up the way it is.
Smith was a Pro Bowler in 2017 and led Jacksonville with 236 combined tackles over the previous two seasons. Head coach Doug Marrone told media the team is moving ahead without plans for Smith to rejoin them in 2019.
Giving up a guaranteed $5 million while getting fined another $88,000 is some intense commitment to not committing to your job.
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