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Burress Wins Again, Gets to Keep Roster Bonuses

From Pro Football Talk:

Lost in the news that former Giants receiver Plaxico Burress beat back an attempt by team to withhold $637,500 in signing bonus allocation is the fact that Burress also prevailed on an attempt by the club to invalidate the full amount of a 2008 per-game roster bonus.

The Giants not only wanted to withhold $93,750 to be paid over the final four games, but also to recover per-game roster bonuses previously paid to him in 2008.

The Giants withdrew the attempt to recover the money paid for the prior games, apparently since the money was already earned.  As to the games for which Burress was suspended, Special Master Stephen Burbank ruled that Burress is entitled to the money, even though he wasn’t eligible to participate in the games.

The ruling isn’t all that clear to us, given that Burbank merely incorporated by reference his reasoning from a past case involving defensive back Jimmy Williams.  But the ruling seems to call into question the ability of teams to refuse to pay per-game roster bonuses when the player isn’t available to play due to suspension for conduct detriemental to the team or placement on the non-football illness/injury list.

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