Damar Hamlin to Receive Full Pay After Bills, NFL, NFLPA Rework Contract Stipulation

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 8, 2023

FILE - Buffalo Bills defensive back Damar Hamlin (3) leaves the field after an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, in Foxborough, Mass. Quick on-the-field emergency care from well-rehearsed medical personnel is widely credited with helping save Damar Hamlin’s life. But whether his cardiac arrest could have been prevented is much less certain. (AP Photo/Greg M. Cooper, File)
AP Photo/Greg M. Cooper, File

The Buffalo Bills reportedly worked with the NFL and NFLPA to ensure defensive back Damar Hamlin receives his full salary despite being placed on injured reserve this week.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Hamlin's rookie contract contained a split clause that would cut his salary nearly in half ($825,000 to $455,000) if he was placed on injured reserve. The difference would have meant a pay cut of $20,555.56 for this week.

However, the team, league office and union worked together to ensure Hamlin would receive his full salary.

Hamlin remains in critical condition after collapsing during last Monday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals after going into cardiac arrest on the field. Doctors were able to remove his breathing tube Friday, and Hamlin made his first public comments in an Instagram post on Saturday.

"When you put real love out into the world it comes back to you 3x's as much...The Love has been overwhelming, but I'm thankful for every single person that prayed for me and reached out," Hamlin wrote.

It's unclear whether Hamlin will be medically cleared to resume his football career once he's recovered. The Bills owe him a little under $2 million over the next two seasons as part of the rookie deal he signed coming out of Pittsburgh in 2021.

Because Hamlin has played only two NFL seasons, he is not considered a vested veteran. Players must complete three seasons to qualify for the league's pension program.

Based on their actions over the last week, it seems likely the Bills and the NFL as a whole will do everything in their power to ensure Hamlin is made financially whole—even if it means breaking typical protocol.