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Hernandez likely won’t get his guaranteed base salaries

Aaron Hernandez AP

With more than $5 million still arguably owed to Aaron Hernandez under the contract he signed last August, the Patriots likely will fight to avoid paying him another dime.  The two-front battle relates to the final $3.25 million installment of his $12.5 million signing bonus and guaranteed base salaries for 2013 and 2014.  The guaranteed base salaries total $2.5 million.

As to the signing bonus, the team’s decision to cut Hernandez makes it much more difficult to block the final payment or to recover any of the $8.75 million already issued to Hernandez.  As to the guaranteed salaries, multiple sources have indicated that Hernandez likely will not be entitled to any further payment.

Despite the absence of forfeiture language for the guaranteed salaries, the guarantee applies only to terminations made due to injury, skill (i.e., perceived lack of it), and the salary cap.  Because the Patriots cut Hernandez pursuant to paragraph 11 of the standard player contract, which permits termination of employment when the player “has engaged in personal conduct reasonably judged by Club to adversely affect or reflect on Club,” the guarantee evaporates.

As we understand it, that’s not merely the team’s position.  The NFLPA, we’re told, agrees with the interpretation.

While this doesn’t prevent Hernandez from filing a grievance aimed at getting the money, it’s a steep uphill climb and, frankly, the least of his concerns.

The more intriguing fight will arise in connection with the unpaid $3.25 million installment of the signing bonus.  That money already has been earned by Hernandez.  But cutting him, the Patriots apparently surrendered any ability to recover the money that has been paid or to keep the portion that hasn’t been paid.

Still, it currently appears that the Patriots will at a minimum force Hernandez to sue for the rest — and at most try to recover as much of the previously-paid signing bonus as they can.

The problem for Hernandez is that, even though the terms of the labor deal seem to be on his side, the facts can nudge the controversy toward a bad outcome.  The problem for other players is that, if Hernandez loses, a bad precedent will be created for them.

Either way, it appears that the Patriots have enhanced their ability to avoid the guaranteed salaries by cutting Hernandez, even if cutting him makes it harder to avoid paying the final $3.25 million.

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36 Responses to “Hernandez likely won’t get his guaranteed base salaries”
  1. Rick Spielman is a Magician says: Jun 27, 2013 1:06 PM

    Why did the Patriots give him a new deal when he had two years left on his rookie contract? If you have a guy with known character issues, don’t you wait as long as you can before extending him, just in case, you know, he kills a guy?

  2. fiezzybeatz says: Jun 27, 2013 1:13 PM

    Take That!

  3. thesteelers says: Jun 27, 2013 1:13 PM

    Good.

  4. jzone954 says: Jun 27, 2013 1:14 PM

    All that down the drain for what??? The OG life??? “Keeping it gangsta”???? Now your life as well as your families and the young man murdered and his families life’s are RUINED…..I mean I don’t get it? I really don’t. So sad.

  5. aaroncurryisbust says: Jun 27, 2013 1:18 PM

    And nothing of value was lost.

  6. jetslakersfan says: Jun 27, 2013 1:19 PM

    They should set up a trust for his 8 month old for the rest of the money they owe him. That would be the right thing to do.

  7. Rick Spielman is a Magician says: Jun 27, 2013 1:19 PM

    How is he going to pay Michael’s fee?

  8. commonsensedude says: Jun 27, 2013 1:23 PM

    $3.25 million will buy a LOT of toothpaste and toilet paper in the prison commissary.

  9. rd3777 says: Jun 27, 2013 1:23 PM

    Hernandez is a serial killer CNN

  10. helix828 says: Jun 27, 2013 1:24 PM

    jetslakersfan says: Jun 27, 2013 1:19 PM

    They should set up a trust for his 8 month old for the rest of the money they owe him. That would be the right thing to do.

    ===============================

    Why should they? He’s the one who snatched away his child’s birthright because he has no self control.

  11. johngaltwho says: Jun 27, 2013 1:25 PM

    Great, just what we need, the Patriots to suddenly have more cap room!

  12. jlbay says: Jun 27, 2013 1:25 PM

    This entire article presumes that Hernandez will be found guilty of some substantial charge, which seems to be a pretty strong presumption. But if he somehow gets off or is found not guilty, New England’s ability to withhold the guaranteed base salary become much more difficult. So in this instance Hernandez has been presumed guilty . . . otherwise NFL teams would be able to withhold guaranteed money from falsely accused players.

    Again, I will re-state that at this point the presumption of guilt looks pretty solid, but theoretically speaking Hernandez getting off somehow would throw a huge wrench into the works.

  13. lonespeed says: Jun 27, 2013 1:26 PM

    It’s my theory that he killed his buddy execution style because his now dead friend was blabbing his mouth to other people about a drive-by double-homicide they committed back in 2012.

    The reason the other two guys are allegedly involved is because they were in the car during the drive-by as well. So they are all tied together.

    One of them started to get loose lipped and that forced them to have to kill him.

  14. wstover says: Jun 27, 2013 1:27 PM

    Shouldn’t every contract have an assumed “If you murder people you don’t get your money” clause?

  15. tcostant says: Jun 27, 2013 1:28 PM

    I remember when the Giants cut Plaxico Burress after he shot himself. They refused to pay $1M bonus that was do thereafter. He filed a grievance and won! Now that was the prior CBA, but it was still surprising at the time.

  16. mgavin78 says: Jun 27, 2013 1:28 PM

    The pats had a contract with AH. Despite what he did they had an agreement and guaranteed the money in a contract. They now should pay regardless. It’s their fault they did not add offset language in the contract. Plus the guy has yet to be convicted.

  17. chawkup says: Jun 27, 2013 1:32 PM

    His new guaranteed base salary is $.16 per hour in the prison laundry.

  18. daubs17 says: Jun 27, 2013 1:33 PM

    can dave chappelle make a new when keepin it real goes wrong clip with hernandez??

  19. dominowarlord2 says: Jun 27, 2013 1:33 PM

    so the patriots will not pay Hernandez’s guaranteed salaries …good, but one step better: Put it in trust and if he is found guilty give it to the family of the man he killed.

  20. finsfrontofficeisajoke says: Jun 27, 2013 1:35 PM

    Rick Spielman is a Magician says: Jun 27, 2013 1:06 PM

    Why did the Patriots give him a new deal when he had two years left on his rookie contract? If you have a guy with known character issues, don’t you wait as long as you can before extending him, just in case, you know, he kills a guy?…

    ————————————————-

    …or three?

  21. thestrategyexpert says: Jun 27, 2013 1:38 PM

    Kraft should use up his “Free Russian Muscle for 1 Collection Case” card that Putin offered as reimbursement for the ring to go collect some money from AH.

  22. rc33 says: Jun 27, 2013 1:41 PM

    Strange as it sounds at this moment, Hernandez had no conduct issues (at least publicly) his first 3 seasons in N.E. Can’t fault the Patriots for getting 2 years ahead with this guy and signing him to a long term extension. If he’d seen the duration of the contract, Hernandez stood to make $40M by the time he was just 27 years old. Then he’d be looking at another similar contract. Not bad for a 4th round pick.
    He had everything going for him and willfully threw it all away.
    The whole thing feels like Len Bias all over again.

  23. bigjimatch says: Jun 27, 2013 1:47 PM

    Considering the amount of money it is going to cost if he is going to litigate this, losing any guaranteed money is probably a big concern for Hernandez.

  24. deliveredbysherpa says: Jun 27, 2013 1:52 PM

    Robert Kraft could donate the $3.25m to a Scared Straight-type program or the gun-control lobby.

  25. hooterdawg says: Jun 27, 2013 2:02 PM

    It must be a little uncomfortable for the administrator and lawyers who failed to include offset language for a player with a questionable past. My guess is that they erroneously used the same basic template for both the Hernandez and Gronkowski extensions that were executed at about the same time. There were no historical reasons for the offset in Gronkowski’s contract.

  26. alleycatzz says: Jun 27, 2013 2:08 PM

    Guess we can add not honoring their word to the “Patriot Way”

  27. fordmandalay says: Jun 27, 2013 2:26 PM

    “The problem for other players is that, if Hernandez loses, a bad precedent will be created for them.” Yeah guys, remember; if you murder someone, it may affect your contract and earnings. Brilliant writing.

  28. descendency says: Jun 27, 2013 2:26 PM

    @Rick Spielman is a Magician

    You pay a player like that early to avoid his contract being even worse later on. Hernandez was a monster on the field. When the ball was in his hands, he could do things a lot of guys just can’t and the Patriots were wise to pay him.

    The problem is that (if they didn’t know about his problems off the field) he was also a monster off the field.

  29. mattolikesthevikes says: Jun 27, 2013 2:26 PM

    This guy is a master magician. He made his. Career and the rest of his life disappear.

  30. 69finfan says: Jun 27, 2013 2:34 PM

    Ramens, Sticky Buns and Goulash for everyone!

  31. ctpatsfan77 says: Jun 27, 2013 2:34 PM

    jlbay says:
    Jun 27, 2013 1:25 PM
    This entire article presumes that Hernandez will be found guilty of some substantial charge, which seems to be a pretty strong presumption. But if he somehow gets off or is found not guilty, New England’s ability to withhold the guaranteed base salary become much more difficult. So in this instance Hernandez has been presumed guilty . . . otherwise NFL teams would be able to withhold guaranteed money from falsely accused players.

    —-

    They have him on weapon charges that carry mandatory minimum sentences. Even if he skates on the murder charges somehow, he could still get anywhere from 2.5 to 25 years on the weapons charges.

    And that’s not considering anything else that might come up.

  32. metitometin says: Jun 27, 2013 2:47 PM

    I can’t believe there isn’t a clause in these contracts that says if you go to jail or are accused of murder, you forfeit your right to another dime.

    Patriots shouldn’t have to pay Hernandez another dime. What the hell can he do with millions of dollars when he’s going to be in prison for the rest of his life? It’s not like he’ll be able to spend the money on anything other than maybe trying to buy his way out of prison.

  33. mackcarrington says: Jun 27, 2013 3:39 PM

    Even if the Pats have to pay him the money he is due, His legal fees will eat it up. In the event that he could (miraculously) be aquitted , he wouldn’t have much of that $3 mil. left.

  34. umrguy42 says: Jun 27, 2013 4:36 PM

    “The problem for other players is that, if Hernandez loses, a bad precedent will be created for them.”

    It could create a bad precedent if he *doesn’t* fight it, too. As distasteful as it is, the NFLPA pretty much *has* to fight this one, essentially for everybody else’s sake.

    And now I need something to wash the taste of siding with the NFLPA out of my mouth…

  35. denverdude7 says: Jun 27, 2013 6:58 PM

    The Patriots were the ones who gambled on a player with known character issues and now that it has come back to bite them they want to avoid paying him what he has already earned.

    Don’t get me wrong here. I don’t want to see Hernandez get a dime. I also don’t think the Patriots should be benefitting in any way either.

    The Patriots gambled big and lost big. The entire contract should count against their salary cap in keeping with NFL rules.

    If for no other reason, maybe requiring the Patriots to honor the contract will make other teams think twice before hiring a player with a checkered past.

  36. lawyermalloy says: Oct 17, 2013 1:04 PM

    If he were smart he would hire outside counsel to argue the grievance as the nitwits in the legal dept. of the NFLPA doesn’t seem to have his interests, absolutely, as they should!

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