The arbitration hearing where the Atlanta Falcons will try to recover $20 million of the $37 million in bonuses paid to Michael Vick has been scheduled for October 4.
A NFL source said Atlanta authorities were aggressive in pushing the case to get it done quickly, perhaps in an attempt to bring resolution to the Vick case. It has been said that officials from the NFL Players Association were seeking a later date for the hearing.
It is uncertain who will be representing both sides. Players usually have union representation, while teams are most often represented by officials from the NFL’s Management Council. Both sides can also have personal attorneys as part of their representation.
The Falcons alerted Vick that the team would go after his bonus money in a demand letter sent to him last month.
Most of Vick’s bonus money, $29.5 million out of the $37 million, is roster bonuses in the 10-year contract extension that he signed in December 2004. Several analysts said that roster bonuses may be viewed similarly to option bonuses.
In a previous case involving another NFL player, it was ruled that teams cannot recover option bonuses or prorated shares of option bonuses.
This may mean that the Falcons would only be able to recover a prorated share of the initial $7.5 million signing bonus Vick received in three installments as part of his 10-year extension. The signing bonus was prorated over six years, the 2004 through 2009 seasons. Since Vick played three of the six seasons, the Falcons may only be able to go after half of the signing bonus money.
The Falcons have been consulting with the NFL’s Management Council about recovering Vick’s bonus money. It seems that Atlanta is seeking the amount that is based on the remaining prorated shares of the three bonuses paid to Vick.