Via my twitter feed – @AsherMathews – I’ve seen a number of comments and questions about how the Raiders must have liked Derek Hagan enough to guarantee his contract for the entire season by signing him today, officially.
What these comments are referring to is a provision in the new NFL CBA under the “Termination Pay” clause, article 30.
This provision allows a player that is a “vested veteran” (basically a player that has accrued 4 seasons in the NFL) and who is on the roster in the first week of the season but is subsequently cut in any following week to collect his full season’s pay even though he may be cut in week 2. This provision, in essence, guarantees a veteran’s salary if they are on the roster for the first week’s game.
Here is the language from the CBA:
(a) Any player who has completed the season in which his fourth year or more of credited service under the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle Retirement Plan has been earned shall be eligible for Termination Pay under this Article if:
(1) He is released after his Club’s first regular season game; and
(2) He has made the Active/Inactive List of his Club on or after the date of his Club’s first regular season game.
(b) Subject to Section 3 below, the amount of Termination Pay payable to such player shall be the unpaid balance of his Paragraph 5 Salary for that League Year.
Termination Pay under this Article shall be claimed and payable no sooner than one day after the end of the regular season schedule, and no later than February 1 . A player will not be entitled to Termination Pay more than once during his playing career in the NFL.
I’d like to draw attention to the last sentence, “A player will not be entitled to Termination Pay more than once during his playing career in the NFL.”
That means that a player who has been cut mid-season already and has taken advantage of their full year’s salary cannot do this again.
I do not know if Derek Hagan took advantage of this provision when he was cut week 6 by the Raiders last season but I can think of no reason why he would not. Assuming he did, he is not eligible to receive this benefit again per the language of the CBA.
So, Hagan’s release last year may have made him a more attractive option for GM Reggie McKenzie this year because he can cut Hagan at any time without having further season repercussions on the salary cap.
It also means that Hagan may or may not have been the best option at the time. He was familiar with many of the players on the team, would come cheap and can provide depth. His signing doesn’t necessarily mean he will stick for the entire season, however.