Patriots Gain Cap Space By Settling Two Old Grievances

Per reports by Field Yates and Mike Reiss, the New England Patriots settled the grievances filed on behalf of Antonio Brown last year and on behalf of Aaron Hernandez in October of 2013.  The Patriots will gain $6.55 million in cap space, which the team sorely needed.

The Patriots signed Brown to a contract on September 7, 2019, that called for a $9 million signing bonus and a guaranteed base salary of $1.025 million.  Brown was on the roster for two weeks.  A civil suit alleging sexual assault soon became public and then Brown allegedly sent a series of emails meant to intimidate another woman.  Brown was due to receive $4.5 million of his signing bonus on September 23 with the remainder payable in January of 2020, but the team cut him on September 20, 2019, due to the allegations.

The Patriots paid Brown for the two weeks he was on the roster ($154,000) but never paid any of the remaining base salary or any of the signing bonus.  Nevertheless, the NFL, per Field Yates, treated the signing bonus as earned for purposes of the salary cap, requiring the Patriots to take a $4.5 million dead money cap charge for 2019 and again in 2020.

Field Yates and Mike Reiss refer to this resolution as a settlement and indicate that the Patriots will pay Brown $5 million, thus receiving a $4 million credit to their salary cap.  Frankly, this is not the way I would expect the nuts and bolts to work.  Normally, teams have to attribute 40% of any amount subject to a grievance to their salary cap.  Since the grievance involved the $9 million signing bonus and roughly $900,000 remaining guaranteed base salary, a $4 million credit would be in the ball park. 

The Hernandez grievances were filed way back in October of 2013.  Per Mike Reiss in his 2013 article, Hernandez had guaranteed base salaries of $1.32 million for 2013 and $1.137 million for 2014, plus a $500,000 workout bonus Hernandez earned in 2013.  The Patriots never paid after he was arrested.  Hernandez also had a final $3.25 million signing bonus payment due, which also was not paid.  That adds up to $6.3 million. 

The Patriots settled the Hernandez grievances and will receive an immediate $2.55 million credit to their salary cap.  Presumably, since it was a called a settlement, the Patriots paid the estate of Mr. Hernandez some amount, but Field Yates and and Mike Reiss are both silent on this point in their reporting.  It took almost seven years to resolve the Hernandez grievance.  I suppose the trial and then his death on September 19, 2017, delayed things. 

One article indicated that the Patriots had inserted stiff language nullifying Brown's guaranteed base salary for conduct detrimental to the team.  It was also suggested that the Patriots alleged that Brown had failed to disclose his knowledge that a civil suit against Brown for sexual assault likely would soon be filed. 

If that strikes a chord in some memories, the Packers alleged that Martellus Bennett failed to disclose a pre-existing medical condition when the team waived him, and tried to get a refund of $4.2 million of the remaining prorated signing bonus.  An arbitrator ruled against the Packers, but the Packers reportedly appealed that decision in 2018.  I am not aware of any reporting on that appeal.  It sure would be nice to have $4.2 million in cap space suddenly materialize, but do not count on it.    

   

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Comments (10)

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 12, 2020 at 07:07 am

I thought my choices for a photo were Brown, Hernandez, Belichick and Bennett. After due consideration, I decided that Belichick was the least objectionable. At any rate, these four deserve each other. [Yes, there might be some virtue signalling there as I probably have advocated for signing some player or other with some baggage. Feels good, though.]

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Leatherhead's picture

July 12, 2020 at 05:09 pm

I coached quite a few high school teams and I never wanted Me First Dirtbags because they take the fun out of winning and when you hit a rough patch they’ll start shooting holes in the boat. Occasionally, you take on a project but committing millions to a guy like Brown borders on malfeasance . I think character counts a lot because when you’re freezing and beat up and the refs are boning you.....you need more than talent, you need heart.

We are favorites, IMO to win the division, which puts us in the top 4 teams in the conference. Acquiring some guy like Brown doesn’t make us any more of a contender. We’re going to be there in the end, regardless.

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stockholder's picture

July 12, 2020 at 07:15 am

Boy how I wish they would have signed Cook!

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PatrickGB's picture

July 12, 2020 at 09:27 am

No matter how good they are, signing malcontents is never a good idea. Otherwise, why are we reporting this?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

July 12, 2020 at 08:34 pm

I have some interest in Josh Gordon now that weed is not punishable by suspension, just a fine. Perhaps his inability to refrain from weed is an addiction or maybe it is something more, like just not caring. I disagree with Leatherhead on the state of GB's WR group but he might be correct to think the team has enough there given the change in offensive focus.

I am amazed that no final decisions were reached in a seven year old grievance and one filed last September. I knew GB appealed the Bennett decision but never heard the outcome. I just assumed the team lost its appeal. IDK, maybe it is still in legal limbo.

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Bearmeat's picture

July 12, 2020 at 03:44 pm

I'd take a malcontented Brown and an old Snacks on this team on 1 year deals though. It would turn us into an immediate super bowl contender.

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13TimeChamps's picture

July 12, 2020 at 05:39 pm

"Malcontented"!!??

He's facing sexual assault charges from TWO different women. NE released him because they learned he had been threatening one of them after charges were filed.

Peacefully kneel for the anthem to protest social injustice? You're scum. Threaten to punch out your team's GM? Not a problem. Sexually assault women? Hey.....as long as he can help us win games!

This is someone you would want on our team? Seriously?

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Stroh's picture

July 12, 2020 at 05:39 pm

Brown would ruinteam chemistry and do more to prevent them a SB than he would to assist in getting one. Malcontents never work unless they buy in and put what they want behind what the team needs! Its been proven repeatedly by many others besides Brown himself.

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Ferrari-Driver's picture

July 12, 2020 at 04:20 pm

Martellus Bennett was like a nasty toothache and it was a pleasure to get rid of him. He added nothing to the performance of the team and was a public distraction from their image.

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tonieEllwand's picture

July 27, 2020 at 08:45 am

The Patriots will gain $6.55 million in cap space, which the team sorely needed.
https://airgunmaniac.com/best-air-rifle-for-deer/

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