Patriots Open Cap Space After Settling Grievances

The Patriots have opened up a chunk of cap space after settling compensation grievances concerning a pair of former players. ESPN’s Mike Reiss (via Twitter) and Field Yates report that settlements regarding Antonio Brown ($4MM) and Aaron Hernandez ($2.55MM) have opened up around $6.5MM in cap space.

Brown filed a grievance against the Patriots back in September after the team refused to pay him a $10MM signing bonus following his release. New England was also left with $4.5MM in dead money from the Brown debacle.

While Hernandez was released by the Patriots seven years ago, the NFL Players Association was still fighting on the behalf of his estate regarding a $3.25MM guaranteed signing bonus that was previously withheld by the team. Following Hernandez’s arrest (and prior to his eventual conviction for first-degree murder), the player gave up $19.3MM in non-guaranteed money while the organization voided the rest of his guaranteed money. The team also looked to recoup some of the bonus money that had already been paid out.

As Yates notes on Twitter, the Patriots started the week with less than $500K in cap space. Following today’s news and the Rex Burkhead restructuring from earlier this week, New England now has close to $7.8MM in space.

As Sports Illustrated’s Devon Clements pointed out back in February, the Patriots also had a pair of active grievances with defensive lineman David Parry ($179K) and offensive lineman Cole Croston ($163K). The status of those grievances hasn’t been reported.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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23 comments on “Patriots Open Cap Space After Settling Grievances

  1. bradthebluefish

    Apparently Cam Newton signed a bit too soon. Could’ve had more in terms of guaranteed dollars. But who would’ve known this.

    • Connorsoxfan

      Don’t think it matters. Cam is just a media buffer for Stidham. If he shows well during camp… maybe they get a pick for Cam. Stidham’s got game.

      • All American Johnsonville Dogs

        His clipboard holding game is very strong. We will see if he can actually play though. Everybody looks good in camp and during OTAs.

        If anything cam was signed because Stidham isn’t going to get a regular off-season. No voluntary workouts, no training camp, limited pre season.

        Nobody is going to trade a pick, least not a decent pick maybe a 7th, for cam. He’s as big of an injury risk as anyone in the league. Would definitely not be my first choice to replace a starter that goes down. Plus, teams are more likely to use their backup who knows the system as their starter and cam would be a backup if traded.

  2. DarkSide830

    i dont care if he was a player or not, but the PA holding a grievance on Hernandez’s behalf doesnt look too good.

    • Katsuro

      Exactly. I mean something like murder should fall under detrimental conduct…

    • I agree. But legally, the heirs more than likely pursued all legal recourse permitted under the law. And that includes a contracts between the Patriots and Hernandez and Hernandez and the NFLPA. I’m sure the NFLPA didn’t want to recoup the money for Hernandez or his heirs, but they were probably contractually obligated to do so.

      • He did what he did but should his family who wasn’t making millions a year have to give 2.5 million of money that wasn’t theirs?

  3. JJB0811

    From $500,000 in cap to to $7.8m in room w/ 3 moves. But keep thinking the cap really has any purpose or actual penalties.

        • mitchrapp

          What? The league says if a team doesn’t pay monies owed it counts against the cap. Teams can decide where or not to pay depending on how much room they have. The salary cap is not in place to hurt a team, rather it’s in place for better competition.

  4. Ak185

    Ehh, those guys deserved to get cut, but the signing bonuses should have been paid. Teams take chances on players, there should be consequences. They should have to pay what they said they would pay, just as the players should honor the contracts on their end. Just my opinion.

    • bradthebluefish

      I agree. A deal is a deal. Maybe don’t make such a deal in the first place. And start looking to reduce signing bonuses.

    • bradthebluefish

      Though to be fair to the Patriots, when they made these signings they did not know all of the info about the player they were signing. Which is both a shame on the team and on the player.

  5. case7187

    Could the pats be clearing cap space to take a run at Clowney I mean if they can trade Thuney they could have enough to make a run for him

    • Ak185

      Possibly but I doubt it. Bill would be clearing all this cap space just to fill it all up again. I think he’d like some flexibility during the season to sign a player in case of injury (or possibly COVID). Can’t do that without a decent amount of spare cap space. Plus the Patriots have several upcoming contracts next year that will need decisions made on them, and any space cleared now will be valuable for that.

          • Ak185

            Yes, but like I said, they have a few expiring contracts. Some of that space will go to either re-signing or replacing that production. I’m sure Belichick prefers to have as much buffer as possible.

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