The Kansas City Chiefs surprised the NFL yesterday with the announcement that outside linebacker Tamba Hali would be suspended for the first game of the regular season against the Atlanta Falcons for violating the league's drug policy. Later it was revealed that Hali was suspended due to an unknown violation of the law from the recent past. The mysteries are not yet clear, but it is obvious at this point that the financial terms of Hali's long-term extension with the Chiefs have changed just a bit.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes, "A league source tells PFT that the suspension for violating the substance-abuse policy voids $7.75 million in guaranteed payments for 2013, under the terms of a contact signed in 2011."
This means that Hali would not be paid that guaranteed money if the Chiefs cut him. Of course, that's not going to happen to one of the greatest pass rushers in the NFL, so Hali does not have to worry too much about really losing his money. That said, if Hali somehow loses his mental state and becomes a problem for the Chiefs for some odd reason (such as this incident that came from nowhere), the Chiefs hold some leverage there.
In the end, a contractual change like this would make a big difference for a player with less leverage. if it was a fringe roster player, the guy would likely have already been cut to this point. Even a lesser defender suddenly might find himself in his last season with the team. But when an elite player has an incident like this, it's overlooked unless a problem persists. Given Hali's history with the team, this is likely to be the only blip on the radar -- or at least that's the hope
For more on the Chiefs, check out Arrowhead Pride.