ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that Marcell Dareus, one of the few key Buffalo Bills defenders who has managed to avoid the injury bug, is facing a four-game suspension for a violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.
Bills DT Marcel Dareus is facing a four-game suspension for another violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy, league sources tell ESPN.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 16, 2016
Marcel Dareus still could appeal four-game suspension, but Bills now are in grave danger of losing yet another key defensive player.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 16, 2016
#Bills DL Marcell Dareus' looming suspension stems from marijuana, I'm told -- failed or misses drug tests. News came within the last 2 hrs— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 16, 2016
Dareus was previously suspended for the first game of the 2015 season after a drug arrest. That was his first strike, meaning this suspension is of the longer variety. At the time, he said he “made a mistake... possessing a banned substance.” This time it will be more difficult to pass it off as a mistake.
With the suspension, the Bills are going to be missing another starter on a defense that is already down Shaq Lawson for a stretch and Reggie Ragland and IK Enempkali for the season. Running back Karlos Williams was also suspended for the first four games of the year for a substance abuse violation.
Dareus is entering the second year of the six-year, $100 million deal he signed prior to last season. Given the way the contract breaks down, an outright release of Dareus is not going to happen unless there was a clause built into his contract to address another suspension, similar to how Lane Johnson’s suspension voided the guaranteed money in his contract with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Oh, one more thing that will make the Pegulas love Dareus and Karlos:
With Karlos Williams and Marcell Dareus suspended, Bills now will be subject to steep fine based on remittance policy.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 16, 2016
Update: Per ESPN’s Field Yates, Dareus’ contract doesn’t contain language that would allow them to void his guaranteed money as a result of this suspension.