Seahawks sue former top draft pick for nearly $800K

Seahawks release former top draft pick DT Malik McDowell, report says

The Seahawks have sued former second-round draft pick Malik McDowell over his signing bonus, according to The Detroit News, which cited a lawsuit field May 29 in federal court. 

McDowell, drafted 35th overall by Seattle in the 2017 draft, hasn’t followed through on repaying the team $799,238 in forfeited signing bonus money. He was previously ordered by an arbitrator to repay the Seahawks after he suffered a head injury in an ATV accident in July 2017, which kept him from playing a single down in the NFL.

The arbitrator ruled in February that the defensive tackle was required to give back his signing bonus because he breached his Seahawks contract by riding an ATV. ESPN notes Paragraph 3 of his contract stated players should not “engage in any activity other than football which may involve a significant risk of personal injury.” He was required to forfeit his signing bonus totaling $1,599,238.

After the accident, the Seahawks withheld payment of $800,000 for the 2018 season and McDowell was given 30 days from the ruling to repay the $799,238. Court records show McDowell didn’t appeal within the 10-day window and he still hasn’t paid it off.

The Seahawks released McDowell in March. He remains a free agent and has since visited the Cowboys. His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, is confident McDowell will be able to play in 2019.

“His doctors believe he is ready to go,” Rosenhaus said. “So we’ve got experts that are saying he will be cleared. So hopefully he will be able to continue his career, possibly with (Dallas). In any event, he has been cleared independently. But the Seahawks, they tried their best to work with him, and unfortunately they didn’t feel that he could continue to play.”

McDowell entered the league after playing three seasons for Michigan State. He finished is college career with 88 tackles and 7 1/2 sacks.