A court in Virginia ruled Tuesday that Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs owes his former agent Gary Wichard, who died more than four years ago, more than $178,000 in commissions from his 2013 season paychecks.
Wichard had negotiated Suggs' five-year contract, which went from 2009 through 2013. Suggs paid Wichard in 2009 and 2010 and after Wichard suddenly passed away in March 2011, he continued to pay his estate for the commissions associated with the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
But Suggs filed a grievance with the NFL Players Association, which monitors player-agent conduct, after he failed to pay commissions for the 2013 season. Although the contract he signed with Wichard said that the agent was entitled to a three percent commission, Suggs felt that Wichard obviously wasn't performing any services for him, which was included in the contract. Suggs said when he won Defensive Player Of The Year in 2011, he left marketing deals on the table since Wichard wasn't there to negotiate for him. He also didn't seek to renegotiate his contract.
In December, arbitrator Roger Kaplan found that Suggs had already hired a new agent, Joel Segal, months before the end of the 2011 season, negating his point that he suffered in endorsements. Kaplan did find that Wichard was not there to defend Suggs when he was fined and did not perform the counsel as required by the contract between the agent and player. For the lack of those services, Kaplan discounted the commission on Suggs' $6.4 million contract by 10 percent, which resulted in a commission owed of $172,800.
Suggs now owes the Wichard estate, whose widow Marie serves as the executor, $178,007, which is the interest that has accrued since the December decision by the arbitrator.
"We are pleased that the judge found that the arbitrator rightfully decided the case," said attorney Michael Giusto, who represented the estate.
In a twist of fate, Tuesday happened to be Wichard's birthday. He would have been 65.