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Patriots gain cap space after settling salary cap grievances

The New England Patriots gained some much-needed cap flexibility on Saturday.

The Patriots settled two salary cap grievances recently, gaining $6.55 million back in the process, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, via informed sources.

Former Pats receiver Antonio Brown was involved in one of those grievances, stemming from his two-week stint with the franchise last season, Rapoport added. After being cut by the team in September due to allegations of sexual misconduct, Brown filed a grievance in October seeking his full $1 million base salary and $9 million signing bonus. Brown will now receive $5 million of his bonus while the other $4 million goes back to the team.

The other grievance involved the estate of late tight end Aaron Hernandez. Rapoport noted that Hernandez's estate was seeking $6 million in total, but $3.45 million went to him and the remaining $2.55 million went back to the team. The NFLPA initially filed the motion on Hernandez's behalf in October 2013.

In all, the Pats, who have restructured Rex Burkhead's deal and made a big yet cost-effective splash with the signing of Cam Newton over the past couple weeks, now have $7.8 million in cap space.

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