A $3.85 million question will be resolved next month.
Last year, the Patriots signed defensive lineman Jonathan Fanene. He received a $3.85 million signing bonus, $2.5 million of which already has been paid.
The Patriots later cut him, claiming that he had failed to disclose a physical condition when he was signed. A fight under the labor deal resulted in a ruling that the team’s effort to recoup “some or all” of the signing bonus may proceed.
And proceed it will on July 22 and 23, according to Nick Underhill of MassLive.com.
On those days, a hearing will be held. Pre-hearing depositions (i.e., sworn testimony) have been conducted, with coach Bill Belichick among the witnesses. (If he hates press conferences, he’ll love depositions.)
Court documents, per Underhill, indicate that the Patriots allege Fanene has arthritis in his left knee, and that he hid from the team the fact that needs prescription drugs to practice and play. A source familiar with the case tells Underhill that the Patriots will have to prove that Fanene was self-medicating without their knowledge to win.
This suggests that, if the Patriots were giving him the medication during offseason workouts and training camp, they essentially ratified the contract, accepting him for whatever condition he has. (Unless, of course, it was diabetes.)
Either way, some or all of a big chunk of money is riding on the outcome.