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The Implications of Cole Madison's Absence - Financial and Otherwise

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The Implications of Cole Madison's Absence - Financial and Otherwise

The Green Bay Packers drafted one offensive lineman in this year's draft when they used the first pick in the fifth round to select Cole Madison, a 47-game starter at right tackle for Washington State.  The team signed Madison but was surprised when he did not report for training camp due to a personal matter, the nature of which the team has not disclosed.  The Packer placed Madison on the Reserve/Did Not Report list.

This presents an awkward situation.  Aside from the fact that the team could use depth at offensive guard, and might have wanted to take a look at Madison at right tackle given the struggles of Bell, Spriggs and Murphy, there are other ramifications.  Players on the Did Not Report list gain an exemption from the 90 and 53-man rosters, but that exemption does not extend entirely to the salary cap.  Green Bay does not have to pay Madison per diems nor would it have to pay his base salary when the season starts if he has not reported, but Madison signed a contract with a $324,332 signing bonus.  I am assuming that Madison has received all of his signing bonus, and that none was deferred.  I believe that one quarter of his signing bonus, the $81,083 portion of the signing bonus attributable to 2018, still counts against the team's salary cap.

The team has several options regarding money.  It is not clear whether the team has officially excused Madison from attending training camp, though it seems doubtful.  If the absence is officially unexcused, the team can fine Madison $30,000 for each day of practice he misses. So far, those fines might exceed Madison’s signing bonus, but fines do not help the salary cap.  

The Packers can elect to recoup Madison's signing bonus.  Since Madison has already missed six days of practice, Green Bay should be eligible to recoup 15 percent of his $81,083 prorated salary cap (about $12,162) for those six days.  The team is also eligible to recoup one percent of Madison's prorated signing bonus for each additional day he misses, up to a maximum of twenty-five percent for missing all of training camp, which comes out to about $20,272.  

If Madison has not reported in time for the first regular season game, Green Bay can recoup an additional twenty-five percent of his prorated signing bonus.  If he has not reported in time for the fifth game, the team is eligible to recoup one seventeenth of his signing bonus for each additional regular season game missed.  Green Bay can recoup up to one hundred percent of the $81,083 prorated signing bonus.  Madison would have to miss the first 13 weeks or so.  The team does need to send notices to Madison's agent and seek an award from the NFL -- it is not automatic, and many teams elect to forgive fines and to forego seeking a forfeiture if they still want the player when he finally reports. 

If Madison does not report this year, Green Bay could leave him on the Did Not Report list, gaining a roster exemption for him, and accepting the $81,083 cap hit.  The team can then seek a forfeiture and recoup that cap hit, which I believe would be added to 2019's cap limit.  Green Bay can seek a forfeiture but still keep Madison under contract at the same time.

What if Madison reports tomorrow?  He would have two weeks to show the team that he is worthy of a roster spot.  However, there are only three more open practices and two preseason games before cut downs.  Madison could make that decision easy by wowing the coaches in the practices and games, but what if he looks iffy or not ready to play?  

The Packers could decide to keep him on the 53-man roster.  I am not sure which player I would cut to make room for Madison.  In addition to the five presumed starting offensive linemen, Spriggs and Murphy are generally thought of as good bets.  Judging by the tweets, Dillon Day has recently impressed as the backup center and shown some ability to play guard, and Pankey has recently made a push as a tackle.  Again, judging by the tweets, Lucas Patrick has had an undistinguished camp so far, but he is widely viewed as a primary candidate to back-up the guard position.  That is 10 offensive linemen.  Bell has not displayed the ability to play tackle, but he has two weeks to improve or show that he can play right guard.  That is eleven offensive linemen and Madison would be the twelfth.  Surely the Packers will not keep twelve offensive linemen, so two and up to four of those mentioned above will be released.  Green Bay could trim a player at the safety or wide receiver positions, or somewhere else.  I personally thought Looney might make the team as the sixth defensive lineman if he continues to impress. 

Since Madison does not appear to be eligible for IR, PUP, or any other classification, if he reported the team could release him at cut downs.  That would mean taking a $324 thousand dead money hit.  The team would have the option to seek to recoup roughly $20,000 of that amount as a forfeiture.  If Madison cleared waivers, Green Bay could sign Madison to the practice squad, as could any other NFL team. I have read reports that if Madison reported just in time for game one, Green Bay could seek a two-game exemption from the commissioner.

One last thing.  Even if Madison reports, starts all sixteen regular season games plus three or four playoff games this season, he cannot earn an accrued season towards free agency because he failed to report to camp at least 30 days prior to the start of the regular season (by August 9).  That means that if he plays out his four-year contract in Green Bay, although his contract will have expired, he would be an RFA for his fifth season (the 2022 season).  It is always nice to try to find a silver lining in awkward situations.            

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (39) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Excellent, detailed article. Truly outstanding work.

That said, my concern about losing Madison isn't financial, as we're talking pennies compared to the cap--we'd save several times these amounts by simply releasing our #3 tight end and going with youth.

My big concern is how much we're missing Madison as a player. I never saw him as a guard, since he hasn't yet got the power to blow out holes. But his feet at tackle would be a big improvement over Spriggs and Murphy--reports say Madison almost moves like Bakhtiari.

I really felt he'd give us developmental depth behind our tackles. No run blocking yet, but a highly skilled pass blocker.

What a waste.

GBPDAN1's picture

It's very unfortunate that this young man has to experience such a devastating personal issue that it has currently kept him away from his dream and goal of playing professional football. I wish him the best.

It's also unfortunate that our team only drafted one O-lineman to help the unsettled situation regarding our reserves at the position and that this only draft choice wasn't able to make training camp and the preseason. This has severely stunted his development for this year.

Lare's picture

Although there are no guarantees, another point is that by drafting him they assumed he'd at least be in the mix for playing time at the G & T positions. Because of that they didn't make other moves to bolster the position prior to training camp.

At any rate, the OL is IMO the biggest concern on the team right now.

PatrickGB's picture

There needs to be a PUP designation for emotional trauma.
To Cole I say , I hope you feel better fella!

TheVOR's picture

So I've read/scanned this article twice, where was it mentioned that he had emotional Trauma, or where do you get that from? Just curious?

Lare's picture

Don't know about any emotional trauma, but if it was anything physical he would be on the PUP list.

korbie33's picture

How long can a personal matter be kept in professional sports? The secrecy of this is becoming suspicious.

TheVOR's picture

Its actually kind of weird. Makes me wonder if he would have failed a test, and they're trying to get that cleaned up prior to him reporting. I have no knowledge of that, or basis for thinking that, other than I agree it's "suspicious". Any comments I make regarding this are simply just trying to reason from a lack of any founded facts. I hope he's OK, and whatever the reasons he has for not being with the team, are in fact working out for him. Seemed like a cool dude, wanted to see him in camp. Bummer..

fthisJack's picture

i wonder if he's going through some sort of rehab...maybe alcohol/drug related? it's a very mysterious situation.

Since '61's picture

Players have missed camp and/or refused to sign with the team that drafted them before. But this issue, whatever it is seems really weird. The only thing I can think of is that he is a primary caregiver for a very ill family member. I hate to speculate on his personal life but this whole episode is very strange.

Whatever it is I wish him the best and I hope that he can eventually return to the Packers and make an effective contribution. Thanks, Since ‘61

MITM's picture

As a human being I really hope whatever it is, whether his future involves football or not - that he comes out on the other side of this victorious. As far as this only being speculation on my part, this whole thing to me reeks of a substance abuse issue. If that is the case then fine, it happens to every and any type of person and its nothing to be ashamed of regardless of the timing of it all. I just wish he knew that the majority of the Packer fanbase would at least be able to offer some extra support.

Again if that were even what was going on. Its just my guess.

MITM's picture

I noticed some of the comments after me reminded me of the Hilinski incident, which I not only forgot about to begin with, but I dont think I would have even considered it had something to do with that also in the first place.

If the CTE narrative within that whole situation has him on the fence about playing, im not sure he would even think he would be allowed this much time to make a decision on playing or not. Thats why I think theres more to it than that. The PTSD part also may very well be a factor, but again it wouldnt be a constant reminder for him to be putting on a Packers helmet as opposed to the WSU helmet that may give him the bad memories.

As I said earlier which I repeat is purely and without any frowning upon by me if that ended up being the case, I think maybe the situation could have caused him to self medicate - something that is completely understandable and very common as a means of coping with such an absolute tragedy. Once again I really hope this kid comes out on the other side of this better than ever, football or not.

PatrickGB's picture

It’s just a rumor, I repeat just a rumor but I read that it was due to the death of a friend. Cole may feel that he had some part in it. JUST a rumor. Sort of like PTSD. I feel kinda icky just reporting it. Because it’s none of my business and the team probably feels the same way.

Obviously the team supports him on a personal matter. And so do I.

Spud Rapids's picture

His best friend at Washington State, the QB, committed suicide. Rumor is it was with his gun. The autopsy showed that the QB had CTE.

I can't even begin to think what Madison is going through. CTE took his best friends life so I can only imagine he is contemplating continuing playing.

Oppy's picture

It is WILD SPECULATION. I posted a bit about it a day or two ago. I wish had not, because seeing that others are posting that "The rumor is, it was his gun" is not productive. For the record, I have not seen it published anywhere that there is any credible reason to believe the rifle belonged to Cole Madison. The only publicly known fact is that the Rifle belonged to one of Hilinski's ex team mates, and that Hilinski obtained the rifle without the owner's knowledge.

TheBigCheeze's picture

while I certainly have sympathy for him....Enough is enough.....his friend would want him to be the best he can be....get to camp.....

RCPackerFan's picture

Until we know more about his personal situation I don't want to speculate on it.

I will just say that if he can't play with us this year, I can't help but go back to the draft and looking at the players that we could have drafted with the 1st pick of the 5th round for help. Just some names that could have had an impact on the team this year. These are the players they could have selected...

Shaquem Griffin LB, Troy Fumagalli TE, Tyler Conklin TE, Daurice Fountain WR, Ogbonnia Okoronkwo OLB, Natrell Jamerson DB, Jaylen Samuels TE.

There were a quite a few players that they could have selected to help. I wish Madison the best and hope he can come back at some point.

Johnblood27's picture

Maybe this has something to do with Cole Madison's absence...

As a fellow Coug, I was shocked and dismayed to hear of Tyler Hilinski's untimely demise and some of the circumstances surrounding the event.

Imagine how someone close to him must feel and the personal conflicts of the circumstances.

Take all the time you need Cole Madison, Packer Nation will rally to support you when you join us and before if you would only give us the chance.

MITM's picture

Not a Coug myself but back when I was playing in high school i LOVED watching Will Derting play whenever I got the chance to catch one of his games living on the East Coast. I was basically the same size as him when I started my Freshman year of college ball and he was proof to me that you could dominate at a D1 level playing linebacker not being 6'2 250

Hawg Hanner's picture

Whatever happened to investigational news reporting? Years ago a reported might have even gone to this guys house, or his parents looking for answers. This guy must be really screwed up. Did Ted Thompson recommend drafting Coleman? Or is it BG's first bust?

WKUPackFan's picture

Yeah, like this is some story of national importance that rates investigative reporting.

Compare your comment to the comments above expressing support for Cole. Then ask yourself whatever happened to your heart and your human decency.

barutanseijin's picture

It's the kind of story that the Milwaukee Journal might have investigated back before the Gannett takeover. By my reckoning they only have Silverstein and Lori Nickels now. Their Packer coverage is much thinner than before.

Tim Backes's picture

Whatever the personal issue is that's keeping Madison away, be it the friend's suicide or otherwise, I don't much think it's any of our business, and it's in poor taste to suggest he's a bust when there are clearly difficult and unusual situations keeping him away from the team.

Demon's picture

As far as I'm concerned its a nonstory. Madison didn't report to camp ...end of story. I'm not going to waste any time thinking about it. He made his decision not to report. I hope it is the right decision for him that I hope he doesn't regret.

Bure9620's picture

This situation is becoming increasingly peculiar. There is nothing wrong with speculation however, though we know nada. Substance abuse? Emotional issues? mental health? Even for a death in the family or some other tragedy this is an abnormally long absence as it will likely last months. BG and the Packers seem to be very understanding of the situation and seem concerned for Cole's well being. I am wondering howerever when this patience starts to wear thin? Bye week? End of season? Next off season?

cheesehead1's picture

I wish him the best. A personal issue means just that. Look forward to him joining the Packers in the near future.

croatpackfan's picture

TGR, very nice article...

But just one note - there is only 3 OPEN practices left (well, 2 actually, after today) and, I believe, total 5 (6) practices before last preseason game and cut....

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Thanks, Croat. I looked for the number of closed practices - knew I'd seen a report showing some closed practices as well, but I could not find that article or that information on

Still, not a lot of time for a rookie to learn what is needed to transition to the NFL. A lot of posters here on CHTV thought highly of Madison and suggested that he might be able to help the team this year.

croatpackfan's picture

TGR, I agree that it is almost impossible to find complete schedule of the practices. I was looking, too. Not only on, but here, on APC, Packerswire etc...

Full schedule was published, but it looks like vanished from internet, what is strange.

Nevertheless, it would be stupid for team to exclusively practice in public. Mike McCarthy said that their schedule of practices is same as in season, so they have 4 practices per week, plus film day and game...

I calculated number of practices from that. Also, Mike McCarthy said that team will start preparing for Bears on past Sunday (film day!)...

I might be wrong...

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

IDK for sure, but I think you're right. I remember reading about closed practices. GB had a closed practice on Sunday, August 19. IIRC, they have one closed practice during the week before the two remaining preseason games to install a modest game plan for those teams. Still probably vanilla, but a bit more is done.

gmeyers1's picture

Madison's quarterback friend at Washington State committed suicide. That young man's autopsy showed CTE. I don't see Madison playing any more football.

Chuck Farley's picture

Hey pal way beyond you getting over it. First why did u have a gun why did your best bud know you had it and where it was kept.
Did u ever think you best bud was a nut case .
Go get a job and stop feeling sorry the gb boat left the dock

gmeyers1's picture

He quit, so you can't fire him.

Oppy's picture

I have a feeling you are small, miserable, insignificant shit who hasn't done anything you feel good about with your life. Maybe instead of spending your time making ugly posts on a sports forum, you should consider taking steps to go out into the world and do what it takes to make yourself happy.

Southside's picture

Saw this............

Cole Madison, Green Bay Packers

Update: Madison’s situation continues to be perplexing and growingly more worrisome. The former WSU right tackle still hasn’t reported to Green Bay training camp and Packers General Manager Brian Gutenkunst has said they don’t expect him “anytime soon.” On the bright side, Madison’s agent has indicated he will play for the club at some point.

53-man chances: Probable. Green Bay has shown commitment to its fifth-round pick and been patient with Madison as he continues to deal with the personal matter that’s kept him from joining the Packers. Green Bay wouldn’t need to spend a 53-man roster spot on Madison to keep his rights, either.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I am a little surprised by the turn the comments took and the focus on why Madison didn't report instead of what GB should do in the future.

It is true that $324K is not significant in terms of a $177.2M salary cap. I am probably just cap obsessed. Still, most of that number is locked in due to the nature of the contracts, specifically the guaranteed money and just the value of the player to the team. What tends to happen in the NFL IMO is that successful seasons often are influenced by the surprise development of a few players who are not highly paid, and to the FO acquiring the $2M or $3M dollar FA who fits a niche on the team.

Really, we have something like $4.5M to $6M in cap space. $324K is at least noticeable. Ryan's and Johnson's injury and IR designation reduced GB's cap space by $800K or so. $1.1M lost when the number we are working with is $6M seems significant to me, even though it is just at the margins.

How GB deals with the money also is important. $324K isn't that significant to GB, but it probably is to Madison, should he report. It is almost 12% of the total value of his contract and all of his guaranteed money. Of course, Madison controlled that part of the equation. GB can elect not to seek some or all of the possible forfeiture if Madison reports. GB might well elect to cut Madison and put him on the PS, which means he earns a lot less, probably $129K, and other teams can try to sign him to their practice squads. GB publicly has been very supportive of Madison, and one would hope that Madison takes that to heart.

As far as the speculation, two players broke Tyler's door down on January 16 and found the body and the .223 rifle. I assume that Madison knew all those details when he was at the combine, and when he signed his contract. It appears that Tyler's parents did not release the information that an autopsy showed that the 21-year-old had significant signs of CTE until an appearance on the Today Show on or about June 29. That's FWIW. It could be an entirely different issue.

I am more focused on how GB moves forward in terms of roster construction and in terms of keeping a harmonious relationship with Madison which is fair to both sides.

PackfanNY's picture

I hope that Cole Madison is ok and that whatever he is dealing with is resolved. No way of knowing or need to speculate about what is happening in his life.
On the football side of things he will not be able to help GB this year. The reality is he has missed significant development time. Just like Biegel and Adams from last year hopefully he can contribute next season if we still hold his rights.

PatrickGB's picture

As a combat vet, all I can say is that grief and guilt are funny things. And time does not always help.
Football is always secondary to real life.

Golden Retriever's picture

The question I have is: How did the Packers not question the effect the suicide of Madison’s teammate and friend might have on him psychologically? Hilinski killed himself in January. The Combine was in April. The Packers must have interviewed Madison in Indianapolis. A scout from a team other than the Packers is quoted in a recent article, calling Madison a “flake.” There had to have been warning signs that this guy might not be 100% on board the NFL bandwagon. So the draft pick may have been wasted. Sounds to me like someone in the Packers personnel department was asleep at the wheel.

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