All offseason, the New England Patriots have struggled with their limited financial resources: the team at one point had only than $263,489 to work with — a number that was not sustainable considering the expenses that will still hit the team’s books between now and the end of the 2020 season. A recent adjustment to running back Rex Burkhead’s contract generated additional wiggle-room, but the team did get a major boost today.
As first reported by ESPN’s Mike Reiss and Field Yates, settlements in the outstanding compensation grievances with the camp of ex-Patriot Antonio Brown and the estate of the late Aaron Hernandez have resulted in New England receiving a sizable salary cap credit of $6.55 million. As a result of this credit, the team now has exactly $7,794,739 million to work with, according to Miguel Benzan.
Brown’s grievance stemmed from his release from the Patriots last September: after he was cut just one game into his tenure with the team following the emergence of reports of sexual assault, New England refused to pay his signing bonus. One of a combined nine grievances the wide receiver against his previous two teams — the Patriots and the then-Oakland Raiders — the club could have gained up to $9 million if the grievance was settled in their favor. Ultimately, it did get $4 million.
As for Hernandez, even though he was released more than seven years ago and later convicted of first-degree murder, there was still a contract dispute ongoing about him. The subject matter was a signing bonus installment that was withheld by the club despite being guaranteed in nature. The dispute was now settled and has resulted in New England gaining $2.55 million in salary cap credit.