It’s no surprise that the NFLPA has filed a grievance for $82,000 in workout bonuses earned by tight end Aaron Hernandez before the Patriots cut him. The money was earned, and it should be paid.
But the Patriots, as we explained back in June, won’t be inclined to willingly pay Hernandez another penny. Instead, they’ll force him to fight for the money that he’s due to receive.
The workout bonus represents round one. The stakes go up dramatically in March 2014, when Hernandez is due to receive the final $3.25 million of his August 2012 signing bonus. Again, the money has been earned, but the Patriots will force Hernandez and the NFLPA to fight for it.
The union’s statement, issued to USA Today, comes off as almost apologetic for the effort to get money for a man who has been indicted for one murder and is being investigated for two others. Still, the money has been earned, and it should be paid. The NFLPA has every right and reason to pursue the situation.
Hernandez also has earned a $118,000 roster bonus; it’s unclear whether a grievance has been filed for that amount. As we’ve previously reported, the NFLPA most likely won’t be contesting the team’s ability to void $2.5 million in guaranteed salary for the 2013 regular season.
Regardless, more that $3.3 million likely will be coming to Hernandez. And the families of Odin Lloyd, Safiro Furtado, and Daniel Abreu would be wise to file a lawsuit ASAP seeking a court order forcing the money paid by the Patriots to be held in escrow pending the outcome of any wrongful-death lawsuits.