New York Jets Guard Kelechi Osemele Fined for Not Playing Through Possible Major Injury

New York Jets guard Kelechi Osemele is set to undergo shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum despite the team not approving the procedure. General manager Joe Douglas and the front office have been fining Osemele for refusing to practice while he has been searching for additional opinions on his injury. Following a meeting with a third doctor in Boston, the veteran guard has opted to schedule his surgery for Friday and will proceed with or without approval.

Osemele met with reporters on Wednesday to further discuss the situation that has been brewing inside the Jets' facility. There have been reports in recent weeks about the team sending blank MRIs to doctors, fines being handed out every single day that he misses practice, as well as a grievance filed against the Jets. This availability was Osemele's opportunity to clear the air.

Interestingly enough, the veteran did say that Douglas sending blank MRIs was just an "honest mistake."

"Um, it's been difficult," Osemele said. "You work your a-- off and everything, and you think that there's good faith. But I'm doing my best to do my prehab work and show up every day and be at meetings and do everything that I need to do. Control everything that I can control."

When the Oakland Raiders sent Osemele to the Jets via trade, the expectation was that he would be a significant contributor to this offensive line. He brought along a two-year deal that includes a $9.7 million salary in 2019 but no longer includes guaranteed money. Of his base salary, $5.79 million remains and will have to be paid by the team when he undergoes surgery and lands on Injured Reserve.

That being said, having Osemele file a grievance against the team following fines for conduct detrimental to the team actually means that part of his salary has been put on hold. According to Connor Hughes of The Athletic, $4.2 million, or 40 percent of his cap hit, will not be paid until the grievance is heard and an arbitrator makes a decision.

Osemele started the first three games of the season but has since sat out the previous three due to a torn labrum that is described as being completely off the bone, which is the source of contention. The Jets believe this to be a pre-existing condition and want him to play through the injury.


This surgery brings a recovery time of four-to-six months and will result in Osemele being shut down for the year. Without him in the lineup, the Jets will continue to shuffle players as Alex Lewis remains starting in Osemele's place.