1

For example, if Johnny Manziel is under contract with Cleveland for the 2016 season, he will likely get put on waivers and a suspension from the NFL.

Will he get credit for serving a suspension (e.g. 4 games) while he is on waivers?

2

NFL suspensions, when for a particular number of games, do take place even when as a free agent.

For example, Laron Landry was suspended for the first 10 games of the 2015 season for PED use; after week 10 he was reinstated despite not being on a team's roster for that period of time. (He was subsequently suspended again, of course... some people never learn.)

So, if Manziel is suspended a specific number of games (say, 6) for his domestic violence incident, he would serve those regardless of whether he was on a team's roster or not.

However, in some cases the Commissioner will suspend a player "indefinitely" (for example, another popular Browns player, Josh Gordon, is suspended indefinitely, but can apply for reinstatement after a year). The commissioner likely has more leeway in those cases.

  • So if Manziel is on suspension there is almost zero incentive for another team to pick him up off waivers and pay his contract while he serves the suspension. Even if you want to take a chance with him let him clear waivers as free agent and then take the suspension and then take your chances. – paparazzo Feb 10 '16 at 20:40
  • Well, obviously the team would be gambling that he not be signed by another team - in some cases that might be worth it (see Josh Gordon, who is still under contract). – Joe Feb 10 '16 at 21:19

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