One of the topics on the agenda for the NFL owners meetings next week will be to discuss how teams should be financially responsible for players who are banned while being paid full salaries, sources told ESPN on Wednesday.
Two examples of such cases are Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy. Both players are receiving their salaries in full -- and counting against their teams' salary caps -- while on the commissioner's exempt list.
Whether the subject is included on the official agenda or becomes discussed in breakout sessions remains undetermined, sources told ESPN.
One model that could be discussed is whether all teams should share the financial burden in such extreme situations. Peterson and Hardy are both receiving the equivalent of their weekly game checks -- amounts in excess of $700,000 -- even though they are not eligible to play while both address off-the-field legal issues.
The solution reached by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the teams and players involved, as well as the NFL Players Association, was mutually beneficial to all involved, but it also imposed hardship as the league successfully shifted the focus from the misconduct of the two prominent players back to the games being played.
Now there are emerging questions of fairness as the salary-cap impact for those players restricts options available to the Panthers and Vikings as they manage their rosters and confront personnel challenges.
Injuries have taken a toll on the Vikings since Peterson was placed on the exempt list while he fights child abuse charges in Texas. The team has lost quarterback Matt Cassel for the season and tight end Kyle Rudolph for several weeks.
The Panthers, meanwhile, are coping with injuries to their top three running backs and have seen their defense collapse in the absence of Hardy, who is on the exempt list until his domestic violence case is resolved.