Does anyone want Joe Horn?
by: Mike Florio
Though Brett Favre was able to get out of Green Bay without going through the motions of participating in training camp, Falcons receiver Joe Horn hasn’t been so lucky.
Horn has made it clear that he wants out of Atlanta. The team hasn’t cut him, preferring instead to work out a trade.
To date, no one has been interested. One of the reasons surely is that Horn is due to receive a base salary of $2.5 million in 2008. Anyone who trades for Horn acquires the responsibility to pay that amount.
Now, Horn is contemplating reducing his salary in order to make himself more attractive.
“I’m even contemplating giving some money back to further this thing along,” Horn said. “I’m ready to get it solved and move on. The longer I stay here, the worse it’s going to get.”
We’d been under the impression that the Falcons would squat on Horn until the eve of the regular season, and then cut him loose — if they haven’t suffered a rash of injuries at the receiver position. But the Atlanta Journal-Constitution suggests that Horn’s $2.5 million salary is fully guaranteed, and that he’ll earn that amount even if he is cut.
Though former Falcons G.M. Rich McKay made some questionable moves, we doubt that he gave an aging receiver a two-year contract with a fully guaranteed second-year salary. Instead, we think that there’s possibly some confusion regarding the concept of termination pay.
For any “vested veteran” (i.e., a player with four or more credited seasons) who is on a team’s opening-day roster, the player is entitled to take the balance of his salary as “termination pay” if he is later released, if and only if the player has never elected to take termination pay at any other time in his career. The practical effect is that, for most of the vested veterans in the league, their base salary is guaranteed if they make it to Week One.
If that’s the case with Horn, the Falcons can cut him with no further financial obligation before the start of the regular season, forcing him to then find a new job on the open market, which likely won’t result in a contract paying him $2.5 million for 2008.
And so he’ll likely have to give up a lot of money in order to persuade another team to trade for him. Otherwise, any team that wants him will just continue to wait it out.