It should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the Jacksonville Jaguars in recent years that the team — whose football operations are led by Tom Coughlin — are attempting to void the guaranteed money of Leonard Fournette for something as trivial as a one-game suspension.
In his short tenure, Coughlin has rubbed the NFL Players Association the wrong way several times.
It started when defensive lineman Jared Odrick filed a $5.5 million grievance against the club, seeking to get back some of his guaranteed money. The Jaguars argued that Odrick violated team rules by not having his checkups at a team facility. But the league ruled in Odrick’s favor, according to USA Today’s Tom Pelissero.
Shortly after that, the NFLPA investigated an email that Coughlin sent to players still under contract about mandatory visits to EverBank Field for physicals — an action the NFLPA didn’t take lightly, according to Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union.
A source said the union was notified of Coughlin’s letter by an agent of a player who doesn’t live in Jacksonville and balked at paying his own travel expenses back to town.
A second league source said several players were advised by their agents to go through the physical even as the NFLPA began its inquiry. The sources requested anonymity because they weren’t allowed to speak publicly about the issue.
In the email, Coughlin reportedly mandated that injured players spend at least four days a week rehabbing in Jacksonville during the offseason until they are medically cleared, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garofolo.
And yesterday, we learned that Coughlin is trying to void Fournette’s guaranteed money while publicly reprimanding him for looking bored as they watched... a boring offense?
It ranges from petty to controlling and each time Coughlin ends up empty handed. So why does he keep doing it? Why does he keep trying to stretch the rules only to finish with nothing to show for it except a further strained relationship between himself and the players? Is that the point? Is going into losing battles like these worth it to show players who is in control? Or does Coughlin actually think he’s right and that he’ll be vindicated in the end by the league and the NFLPA?
As Alfie Crow pointed out, the intent of the suspension clauses were more for things like suspensions from violations of the NFL’s drug, PED, or domestic violence policy more so than a one-off single game suspension.
Justified or not, Coughlin is once again going up against the NFLPA... and once again he will likely lose.