NFL Commission Roger Goodell has made the first right move in deciding the NFL eligibility of Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte' Stallworth by suspending him indefinitely from the NFL without pay.
What does this mean?
This means that Goodell will be analyzing the smallest detail in this player misconduct matter to make the appropriate decision regarding Stallworth's future in the NFL.
What does that mean?
Hopefully it means that Goodell will suspend Stallworth for the entire 2009 NFL season and maybe longer.
What happened the last time a NFL player was suspended indefinitely in the NFL?
The last time a player was suspended indefinitely was Adam "Pac Man" Jones, but he eventually received a six game suspension, but Jones did not kill another human being.
So what are the Cleveland Browns going to do with Stallworth?
That is the big question...and the answer may not present itself to the Browns front office until Goodell finalizes his decision on how long to suspend Stallworth.
Why can't the Browns front office make a decision?
As of right now, with Stallworth being suspended indefinitely, the Browns will recover his 2009 salary immediately which is $745,000.
Now if the Browns choose to cut him immediately, then a $7.6 million will hit their salary cap, which equals approximately six percent on the teams cap space in 2009.
Another option is to keep Stallworth on the payroll until 2010, when there will supposedly be no team salary caps, unless a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is agreed upon, and therefore the $7.6 million will not affect a salary cap.
If Goodell does suspend Stallworth for the entire 2009 season, he will be doing the Browns a favor because then the Browns can retain Stallworth on their reserve list and then release him in 2010 with no hit to the cap unless the new CBA can be reached beforehand.
Stallworth's current and future suspensions will not affect the roster bonus' that he received on March 13, the day before his crash, and that he will receive in January 2010 due to language written into his contract.
It is very unfortunate that the Browns are caught in this stalemate with releasing Stallworth due to his contract, and he may be safe from getting cut as of right now.
The salary cap hit might not matter to the Browns management and they may just cut their ties with Stallworth out of principle very soon.
The resulting outcome will be very interesting.