Can Patriots recoup Hernandez's bonuses?

June, 30, 2013
6/30/13
11:35
AM ET
The New England Patriots released star tight end Aaron Hernandez a little more than an hour after he was arrested last week.

Can New England also recoup Hernandez's bonus and guaranteed money? It appears the Patriots will try their best to find out.

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports the Patriots have voided all of Hernandez's remaining guaranteed money in the five-year, $40-million contract extension the tight end signed last summer. That reportedly includes Hernandez's $2.5 million guaranteed salary for this season, two $1 million workout bonuses and a $3.25 million portion of his signing bonus that was paid this year. Using simple math, the Patriots are trying to recoup just under $8 million after releasing Hernandez.

This will be a tricky battle for the Patriots. There is a clause in the Collective Bargaining Agreement that protects teams for "conduct unbecoming" with a player. That is what the Patriots will claim with Hernandez, who was charged with murder and faces five additional gun charges for the death of a 27-year-old Boston man last week. However, this case is still under investigation and could be months away from determining Hernandez's guilt or innocence.

The Patriots elected not to keep Hernandez on the roster this season while the legal system runs its course. The move made sense for a lot of reasons. However, it could also make recouping Hernandez's guaranteed and bonus money more challenging.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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