Re: Can Anyone Answer This Hernandez Question?
posted at 6/26/2013 7:28 PM EDT
Hernandez has already received a $9.25 million of a $12.5 signing bonus.
There is language in the Collective Bargaining Agreement that allows teams to nullify contracts and recoup bonus money in the case of incarceration or other off-field transgressions, but Hernandez never missed any football-related activities before he was released.
Had the Patriots' primary concern been about money, it would have made more sense to allow him to remain on the roster while the legal proceedings play out. Had Hernandez been under contract and unable to play because he was in jail or suspended by the league, the Patriots may have been able to save up to $37 million.
"Whatever chance of recouping previously paid bonus may have died when they released him," said Andrew Brandt, a former agent and personnel executive for the Green Bay Packers, who now works as a business analyst for the NFL.
But now the Patriots will likely have to accept a major salary cap hit. On March 17, $1.137 million of Hernandez's $1.2M salary became guaranteed. He will now count just over $5 million for the Patriots' 2013 salary cap.
Hernandez will count $7.5 million against the salary cap in 2014 as the three remaining $2.5M prorated cap charges from his signing bonus are consolidated instead of being spread over the 2014-16 seasons.
The Patriots could try to withhold money owed to Hernandez — like weekly payments owed during the season, or the $3.25 million due next March as part of his deferred signing bonus — and force Hernandez, his agents, lawyers and potentially the NFL Players Association to file a grievance to collect it.