New England Patriots

Wide receiver Antonio Brown of the Oakland Raiders warms up before the NFL preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on August 15, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff,

If the Patriots want to cut ties with Antonio Brown in the wake of rape and sexual assault allegations, they may be able to wiggle off the hook for the big contract they just gave him.

Thanks to Albert Breer of The MMQB, who tweeted a snippet of Brown’s contract language on Tuesday, we now know that the Patriots have a possible avenue to void his guarantees. The wide receiver is the target of a civil lawsuit accusing him of raping and sexually assaulting his former trainer, Britney Taylor, whom he first met at Central Michigan.

According to the clause highlighted by Breer, if Brown “takes any action that materially undermines the public’s respect for, or is materially critical of, the Club, the Player’s teammates or the Club’s ownership, coaches,” then his guarantees will be “null and void.” Brown reportedly got $9 million guaranteed as part of his one-year deal with the Patriots, which also includes a $20 million option year. According to Ian Rapoport, Brown got $5 million up front and would get $4 million “later”.

The Patriots signed Brown on Saturday and the lawsuit reportedly took them by surprise. It’s a thoroughly embarrassing situation for Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick to bring him aboard after the way he apparently forced his way out of Oakland, and just days before facing such serious allegations.

It’s possible the NFL takes action against Brown by placing him on the commissioner’s exempt list. So ultimately, it may be best for the Patriots to just move on and try to recoup the guaranteed money. We’ll see how the legal situation plays out, but for now it doesn’t look good for Brown’s future eligibility to play.

Breer joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak & Bertrand on Tuesday to talk about everything regarding the Brown situation. Listen below for the first of his two hours on the air.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at