The battle will soon be on between the New England Patriots and the NFL Players Association over money Aaron Hernandez and his camp believe they’re owed.
A grievance is expected to be filed shortly because the Patriots did not pay an $82,000 workout bonus to Hernandez that was scheduled to be paid on Aug. 1, a source told FOX Sports.
The source said Hernandez, who has been charged with first-degree murder in the June death of Odin Lloyd, satisfied the requirements to receive his bonus by participating in the Patriots’ offseason workout program this spring. The Patriots, however, did not send a check this month when the bonus was due, the source said. The grievance will be filed in the coming weeks unless the Patriots change their minds and write the check to Hernandez.
A Patriots spokesman declined comment when asked whether the bonus will be paid in the near future.
This latest development sets up an even bigger battle next year because Hernandez is owed a $3.25 million payment in March. It’s the final installment of the $12.5 million signing bonus he received as part of a contract extension signed last summer.
The Patriots could have easily recouped portions of Hernandez’s signing bonus by keeping him on the roster. Per the collective bargaining agreement, teams can recoup prorations of signing bonuses for as long as a player is incarcerated. It was an important part of the 2011 CBA negotiations for the owners, and they got their wish.
The problem for the Patriots is they released Hernandez in an attempt to limit the distraction of having him on the roster. Therefore, by the letter of the CBA, they seemingly forfeited any right to recoup any future signing-bonus money.
That doesn’t mean the Pats won’t try arguing they deserve to get some money back. The fact they haven’t paid Hernandez’s workout bonus, which was earned before Lloyd was murdered and Hernandez was arrested, seems to indicate their approach is to pay only what they’re forced to pay moving forward while trying to get back what they can get back.
In the end, the money Hernandez believes he has coming his way ($3.332 million in all) will likely have to be earned via an arbitrator’s decision. That process is expected to commence shortly.