The Green Bay Packers have yet to see third-year safety Josh Jones on the field for a practice this spring. Jones has elected to sit out the team’s voluntary practices during organized team activities, hoping to communicate his displeasure with his role and force a trade out of Green Bay.
This week will demonstrate just how strongly Jones wants to force his way out of town and how much he is willing to sacrifice to make his point. The Packers host minicamp this week, running from Tuesday to Thursday, and this event is mandatory. Teams can elect to fine players who do not appear for minicamp, with an escalating fine schedule laid out clearly in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
For each day that a player skips, his potential fine increases. As NJ.com reports, missing one day will cost a player $14,775 this year; day two carries double that fine at $29,550, and skipping the third and final day is triple at $44,325. All told, choosing not to show up for the entire week would cost a player a total of $88,650.
That would be a significant blow for a third-year player like Jones, representing over ten percent of the roughly $850,000 base salary he is set to earn in 2019. With no other bonuses in his contract, Jones would need to take that fine out of any reserved money left over from his previous years’ earnings — about $2.34 million covering his signing bonus and two years of base salary — and earn that back over a few games on the active roster.
So far, Jones has not sacrificed any money to make his point. OTA practices are entirely voluntary, so a team cannot fine or otherwise take action against a player who chooses not to appear. The Packers, of course, were one of the pioneers of the workout bonus clause in their players’ contracts, which ensures veterans’ appearance at OTAs. However, Jones is playing on a rookie deal, which has no such provision.
The odds are that Jones will indeed appear this week, given the price tag that comes along with staying home. But if he feels that the differences between him and the Packers are irreconcilable, he may feel it worthwhile to make a $90,000 statement.