The New England Patriots have voided all of Aaron Hernandez's contract guarantees, according to a source informed of the Patriots' decision-making and an NFL Players Association source, meaning the former tight end will have to fight to receive even the portion of his signing bonus that he's already earned.
Hernandez was to receive $2.5 million in guaranteed base salaries over the next two seasons, and his contract does not have language to void that money if he fails to practice. However, the Patriots believe the Collective Bargaining Agreement covers them because he has engaged in conduct unbecoming after being arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Odin Lloyd.
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As for his $3.25 million in signing bonus payment that was to be paid this March, that's a deferred payment that Hernandez already earned after signing his five-year, $40 million contract last year. The Patriots appear to have a serious uphill battle to avoid paying this, but they seem set on making Hernandez fight for this portion of his fully guaranteed signing bonus.
The Boston Globe, which first reported this news, says the Patriots will have a salary-cap hit of $2.55 million for Hernandez next year and $7.5 million in 2014.