New York Jets guard Kelechi Osemele has become the center of some serious drama regarding his injured shoulder. Here’s everything you need to know about the situation.
The New York Jets offensive line is coming off their best performance of the season following the team’s thrilling 24-22 victory over the Dallas Cowboys. However, drama surrounding left guard Kelechi Osemele has helped create drama for all the wrong reasons this week.
Injuries have been a problem for the Jets this season as they’ve dealt with their fair share of absences on both sides of the ball. And even with the return of Sam Darnold and the returns of C.J. Mosley and Chris Herndon imminent, Gang Green still couldn’t escape the injury bug.
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Starting left guard Kelechi Osemele has been dealing with a shoulder injury to start the season and was held out the team’s last two games as a result.
And on Tuesday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Osemele would undergo surgery to repair his shoulder injury — although a timetable wasn’t initially specified.
But on Friday, new details regarding the veteran guard’s injury have emerged.
Adam Lefkoe took to Twitter to report that Osemele had been told by two doctors that he needed the reported surgery. However, Lefkoe states that the Jets had been attempting to delay the surgery even going as far as to alter the documentation being sent to his doctors.
Multiple conflicting reports have since come out stating that the Jets doctors feel that Osemele could continue to play through the ailment while his doctors have insisted that it’s best that he gets surgery now.
The Jets have reportedly even threatened to fine Osemele if he refuses to practice and play in games. What doesn’t seem to be disputed is that the injury was pre-existing dating back to Osemele’s time with the Oakland Raiders.
The entire contention seems to center around financial issues — as it always does. The Athletic’s Connor Hughes is reporting that the issue stems from Osemele’s remaining $5.79 million of his contract. That figure remains non-guaranteed.
However, if Osemele is placed on the injured reserve — if he has the surgery — the Jets would be required to pay him the remainder of his contract. The plan to fine him on Saturday is seemingly a way of getting out of paying the additional money.
Really shady stuff going on, but that’s business. Here is the entirety of Hughes’ report that goes into more detail.
Plus this on his contract (see below), and how it impacts surgery/non surgery.
— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) October 18, 2019
Essentially, the Jets hope to fine Osemele for “conduct detrimental to the team” and get out of paying his remaining $5.79 million. That conduct would be classified as him not showing up to practice.
From Osemele’s perspective, he is unable to participate as he is injured. However, the Jets insist that he can play through the injury and are attempting to force him to.
Lewis, who had been playing very well starting at left guard, has dealt with neck injuries in the past making this an even bigger concern.
The Jets want Osemele as insurance in case Lewis’ injury is long-term and Osemele simply wants to get healthy. It’s unclear how this entire ordeal will shake out but we’re sure to see an update on this situation tomorrow when Osemele either does or does not show up for practice.
After a week in which the Jets were riding a wave of momentum following their first win of the season, a distraction like this is the last thing this franchise needed.
Add this to the list of oddities to occur in the Jets 2019 season.