Should the Cleveland Browns pay an injured Desmond Bryant?


The Cleveland Browns find themselves in a public relations battle with injured defensive lineman Desmond Bryant. What should the team do?

The Cleveland Browns find themselves in an unenviable position following the news that defensive end Desmond Bryant wants to be paid his full salary after suffering a season-ending injury.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter was the first to report that the Browns have met with Drew Rosenhaus, the agent that Bryant hired just last week, to talk about why the team should pay Bryant all or part of his $6 million salary after Bryant injured himself in an off-season, non-team workout.

As Mary Kay Cabot at points out, the Collective Bargaining Agreement is clear about what to do in cases like this: the Browns have no obligation to pay Bryant because he tore his pectoral muscle while working out on his own. In addition:

"One league source said most teams do not pay players who are on the reserve/non-football list –where Bryant landed on July 28th — their full salaries. Another estimated that one team in 20 would pay the entire salary. Some don’t pay at all and others settle for a fraction."

So what should the Browns do?

Mark Twain once said, “Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.” If the Browns pay Bryant his salary, he will certainly be gratified and there will be plenty of people who will be astonished.

It is easy enough to say that the Browns should just pay Bryant; after all, the money is not coming from the pockets of anyone but owner Jimmy Haslam. But should the Browns feel obligated to do that?

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If it is true that only about one-in-20 teams would pay a player in a similar situation, does Haslam have enough capital with his fellow owners to be a trend setter?

And do the Browns really want to set a precedence where they will now be on the hook for paying players in the future who hurt themselves the way Bryant did?

It seems more likely that if the Browns do come to an agreement with Bryant, it would be in the form of an injury settlement tied to his release. The Browns are in a full-on rebuilding mode and the need for a 31-year-old player coming off surgery for a torn pectoral muscle may be diminished come the 2017 season.

If the Browns stick to the league norm, not to mention the rules as collectively bargained by the league and the players, they will definitely be painted as the bad guys in the media. So, well played by Rosenhaus in that regard.

But if they give in, they set a team precedent that may be hard to follow and fear the wrath of the league’s other 31 teams.

Next: Browns training camp: Day 11

Bryant himself said the Browns “have a decision to make” and he’s right.

He just may not like what that ultimate decision may be.