Jonathan Martin's season with the Dolphins officially ended Saturday when the team placed him on the reserve/non-football illness list 33 days after Miamis starting right tackle abruptly walked out on the team and into the national headlines.
The Dolphins told Martin they needed the roster spot and Martin did not object because he was not planning to play this season, according to an associate who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The team also offered to pay his salary for the final five games of the season, something that is not required for players placed on the non-football illness list.
That means Martin will be paid his entire $607,466 salary this season, including all nine games he will end up missing since leaving the team.
Martin already has missed four games, but the Dolphins were obligated to pay him for those four games because he was on the teams 53-man roster until Saturday.
The Dolphins never strongly considered not paying Martin for the final five games, when hes due $183,833. The Martin camp would have strongly objected and challenged that decision if the Dolphins had chosen not to pay him, according to a Martin associate.
Whether Martin returns to the Dolphins is very much in question. He wants to resume his career next season but prefers to play elsewhere barring a change of heart, according to the associate.
But Martin has not conveyed that to the Dolphins, and the associate would not completely rule out Martin playing here, because its possible owner Stephen Ross and others in the organization might try to convince him to return.
Martin also would need to be assured that he would be welcomed back in a locker room where players have largely sided with Richie Incognito, whom Martin has accused of harassment. And even that assurance might not necessarily be enough to persuade Martin to play for the Dolphins again.
The Dolphins could trade Martin this offseason, but trading him now was not an option because the trade deadline passed in October. Martin is set to make $824,933 next season and $1.02million in 2015.
The move with Martin comes a day after the Dolphins and Incognito agreed to extend Incognitos suspension for a maximum of two additional games beyond Sundays Jets game, giving NFL-appointed special counsel Ted Wells time to finish his investigation into Martins allegations.
Incognito has been suspended since Nov.3, when the Dolphins learned of a racially charged voicemail he left for Martin in April.
According to ESPN, Incognito was not paid for the first two games of his suspension but was paid for last weeks game against Carolina and will be paid for Sundays game against the Jets. He also will be paid for a maximum of two more games, after which the team must release him or reinstate him.
NFL rules allow teams to place players on unpaid suspension for as many as four weeks for conduct detrimental to the team. But the NFL, the players union, the Dolphins and Incognito all agreed to terms of the extension of Incognitos suspension.
If the Dolphins ultimately release him, Incognito also reserves the right to file a grievance to try to collect pay for the first two games of his suspension. Incognito, who was due to earn $4million this season before the suspension, will become a free agent after the season.
Martin, who met with Wells for seven hours on Nov. 15, will have a second meeting with Wells very soon. Wells met for 81/2 hours with Incognito and also has interviewed every Dolphins player and coach and key front office personnel.
Ross also has said he wants to meet with Martin after Wells' investigation is completed. There has been no recent contact between Martin and Dolphins coaches or management.
Martin, the Dolphins second-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, has been receiving treatment for depression but expects to be able to play next season.
The Dolphins have long been aware of Martin's mental health issue. He received treatment for depression in April after he skipped two days of the Dolphins' offseason practices.
Kenny Zuckerman, Martin's agent, declined to comment.
The Dolphins filled Martins spot on the 53-man roster by promoting safety D.J. Campbell from the practice squad. The Dolphins had released Campbell from their 53-man roster earlier this week.