NFL Team Fires Its Lawyer For Making A "Drafting" Error

The National Football League is preparing for the Super Bowl XLVI and here is an interesting story that ties “football drafting” and “legal drafting” together. We all remember that Jacksonville passed on Tim Tebow the Denver quarterback (a conservative shoe-in for Obama this fall if he were running). The Jacksonville Jaguars passed on Tebow in the draft, and now they are under new ownership.

It seems that the Jaguars’ lawyer also has a problem. The Jaguars new owner reportedly removed the team’s general counsel (lawyer) for something that looks like an unforgivable error for a lawyer to make ESPN reports that Paul Vance, the team’s senior vice president of football operations and general counsel, was dismissed on January 8, 2012 because the Jaguars may owe 7 assistant coaches an extra year of salaries due to an error made in the coaches’ contracts. Seven assistant coaches, if they are paid for another year, could cost the team $3.5 to $ 4 million.

The seven assistants had signed extensions in 2010 and the club believed it was for two years that would expire at the end of the 2011 season. The applicable clause in dispute, however states that the contract “shall terminate on the later of January 31, 2012 or the day after the Jaguars’ last football game of the 2012 season and playoffs…”

The assistant coaches want to be compensated. The team indicated that the contract provision “should have read the 2011 NFL season.” Terming it an error, Vance contended that there was no intent to establish a contract for the 2012 season.

Shad Khan, an Illinois millionaire, bought the Jaguars for $660 million and assumed the team’s $110 million debt. The $4 million coaches’ salary probably will not affect Mr. Khan’s bottom line. Thus, it is also entirely possible that Paul Vance was fired for his performance as the VP of football operations instead of his omission in the coaches’ contract drafting. Either way, whether drafting contracts or quarterbacks (Tim Tebow), the Jacksonville organization needs some help.

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