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Can Patriots Gain Cap Relief With Latest Hernandez Indictment?

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Aaron Hernandez in Attleboro District Court  August 22, 2013. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Aaron Hernandez in Attleboro District Court August 22, 2013. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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Aaron Hernandez

 

BOSTON (CBS) — Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was indicted Thursday in a double murder in Boston’s South End in 2012. If proven guilty, that would mean he signed a contract extension with the Patriots after killing two people. Hernandez is currently awaiting trial in another murder – the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd in North Attleboro.

The Patriots had no comment on Thursday’s development, but the indictment makes it very likely that the team will seek relief from the $7.5 million cap hit Hernandez still carries for 2014.

Hernandez signed a five-year deal worth up to $40 million in August 2012, just one month after the Boston double murder. He went on to play 10 games for New England that season, catching 51 passes and five touchdowns.

The Patriots voided that contract and the guaranteed money Hernandez was to receive following his June 17, 2013 arrest for the Lloyd murder. But in doing so, they assumed the cap hit for 2014. Hernandez also filed grievances against the Patriots for over $6 million in salary, including a $3.25 million deferred payment of his signing bonus that was due to be paid on March 31.

However, there was language in Hernandez’s contract that protected the Patriots if he did anything prior to the deal that prevented him from fulfilling the contract. This is from Joel Corry of CBS Sports, a former sports agent:

If Hernandez is charged in connection to the July 2012 double murder in Boston — before him signing his extension — language in his contract should give the Patriots grounds to recoup his entire signing bonus and end his grievance. Hernandez’s contract contains a clause where he represents and warrants that there weren’t any existing circumstances when he signed his deal that would prevent his continued availability throughout the contract. Committing or participating in a double murder should meet this standard. There’s another clause explicitly stating that the Patriots wouldn’t have entered into the contract except for Hernandez’s representations. At a minimum, the Patriots would gain $3.25 million in cap space from the unpaid signing bonus installment. Any additional cap relief would come only from money that was recovered from Hernandez, which may not be any given his circumstances.

Hernandez is currently being held without bail for the murder of Lloyd. The 27-year-old Dorchester man was shot to death two days after he and Hernandez partied together at Rumor, a nightclub in the Theater District.

Thursday’s indictment is for the murder of Daniel Abreu, 29, and Safiro Furtado, 28, who authorities believe were “ambushed and executed” after an incident at a Boston nightclub. At a news conference Thursday, the District Attorney accused Hernandez of being the trigger man.

MORE AARON HERNANDEZ COVERAGE FROM CBS BOSTON

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