Marqise Lee, drafted during the 2014 NFL Draft, is suing Lloyd’s of London over a college injury that “cost” him millions. Lee, considered one of the best available receivers in last year’s draft, fell to the Jaguars at pick 39 in round two. He put together a decent showing overall and really came on during the latter half of his rookie season, hauling in 37 receptions for 422 yards and a score.
It’s the offseason and Lee doesn’t have to go through the wringer of the NFL Draft process again, so I see why he’d think suing Lloyd’s now makes sense. It’s roughly a year later and he’s taking advantage of his downtime to go after something he sees as winnable. His “loss of value” claim is probably true, though also probably rather hard to prove.
The key to Lee’s claim is a loss of value due to a significant drop in the NFL Draft. A Biletnikoff winner, Lee was easily considered a top draft pick before a knee injury scared some teams away. But does dropping just seven picks out of the first round constitute a “signifiant drop” in his value?
Five wide receivers were picked before Lee, all in the first round. Had he not been injured, would Lee have beat out Sammy Watkins (4th, Buffalo Bills), Mike Evans (7th Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Odell Beckham Jr. (12th, New York Giants), Brandin Cooks (20th, New Orleans Saints), and/or Kelvin Benjamin (28th, Carolina Panthers)? That’s the big question for Lee and his lawyers as they try to pull millions out of Lloyd’s. Lee’s insurance covered him if he fell to a value of below $9.6 million as a result of injury. Lee’s $5.17 million contract with the Jaguars does fall well short of that.
So, how much are the guys selected before Lee making?
- Sammy Watkins: $19.9 million
- Mike Evans: $14.6 million
- Odell Beckham Jr.: $10.4 million
- Brandin Cooks: $8.38 million
- Kelvin Benjamin: $7.66 million
Lee will have to show that his value was high enough without his knee injury to be before Cooks or, ideally, before Beckham Jr.
Was Marqise Lee that good?
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That’s the big question. After putting in a season of work, it’s apparent that Watkins (982 yards, six TDs) and Beckham (1,305 yards, 12 TDs) were highly productive receivers. Lee’s contribution to the Jags was a lot less.
His value coming out of college may have been far different, however, had he not suffered that knee injury. He development may have been further along. He may have been more confident hitting the NFL. And he sure as hell could have been making a lot more money.
The fiasco promises to be a bigger deal than it appears above, however, as Lloyd’s of London has also filed suit against Lee claiming that he concealed, misrepresented, or omitted relevant medical information during his filing. It’s believed that no player has won a “loss of value” suit for obtaining partial return, especially since the player is still able to earn.
We’ll keep an eye on how Marqise Lee does against Lloyd’s of London. Hopefully this doesn’t become a major distraction.
Note: Luke Sims is not a licensed attorney and this information does not constitute legal advice for any parties involved and should not be considered as such by those reading.