What’s next for Antonio Brown now that he’s been accused of sexual assault? Depending on what the New England Patriots and the NFL know for certain, Brown could be cut by daybreak or he could start for the Patriots on Sunday. A third and more likely option is that Brown ends up on the Commissioner’s Exempt list. Here’s the description of the list from NFL Player Personnel Policy Manual, via NFL.com:
The Exempt List is a special player status available to clubs only in unusual circumstances. The List includes those players who have been declared by the Commissioner to be temporarily exempt from counting within the Active List limit. Only the Commissioner has the authority to place a player on the Exempt List; clubs have no such authority, and no exemption, regardless of circumstances, is automatic. The Commissioner also has the authority to determine in advance whether a player’s time on the Exempt List will be finite or will continue until the Commissioner deems the exemption should be lifted and the player returned to the Active List.
Michael Vick, Greg Hardy, Adrian Peterson, Josh Brown and Reuben Foster have all been on the exempt list in the past. It’s a way for players to get paid and not take up a roster spot while the league and the Patriots decide what to do.
Update: Adam Schefter says that the NFL did not know about the Antonio Brown situation and that many around the league think Brown could end up on the Commissioner’s Exempt List.