The Green Bay Packers have one less player to worry about losing in free agency this season. Demetri Goodson, who was in the final year of his rookie contract in 2017, will not be hitting free agency next week due to a specific provision in the NFL’s CBA.
This situation was first reported by beat writer Michael Cohen, who pointed out that Goodson’s contract “tolls” for 2018 because he was not cleared to return to football from the Physically Unable to Perform list immediately upon becoming eligible to return after the team’s sixth game. Goodson was eventually cleared to practice on November 15th last year, which was after the Packers’ ninth game of the season.
Here’s the specific language from Article 20, Section 2 of the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement:
Any player placed on a Physically Unable to Perform list (“PUP”) will be paid his full Paragraph 5 Salary while on such list. His contract will not be tolled for the period he is on PUP, except in the last year of his contract, when the player’s contract will be tolled if he is still physically unable to perform his football services as of the sixth regular season game.
Minnesota Vikings fans have become intimately familiar with this rule due to Teddy Bridgewater’s situation. The quarterback was cleared to practice on October 16th — the day after the Vikings’ week six victory over the Green Bay Packers. Although he was not added back to the active roster until later, his clearance is at the crux of the question about whether his contract will toll. However, at the 2018 NFL Combine, Minnesota GM Rick Spielman said that decision was in the NFL’s hands but that he expected Bridgewater to be a free agent on March 14th.
There is no question about Goodson, however, and he will remain under contract with the Packers for 2018 unless he is released. Goodson did not end up playing a down in 2018, as he suffered a hamstring injury shortly after returning to practice and was placed on injured reserve.