Financial ramifications of Antonio Brown signing murky following release

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY

By Matt McCarthy, 985TheSportsHub.com

The Patriots handed Antonio Brown $9 million guaranteed when they signed the troubled receiver 11 days ago, but it's unclear how much of that money the Patriots have already paid Brown and whether they will eventually have to pay him the full amount.

According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, not all of the $9 million was to be paid at signing, meaning the team could still potentially try and recoup some of Brown's guarantees.

Ultimately, whether or not Brown gets paid likely depends on the language in his contract. Others around the league are skeptical that the Patriots will be able to get that money back, according to Pelissero.

How Brown's signing bonus will affect the Patriots moving forward in regards to the NFL salary cap is also unclear. According to Spotrac, a website devoted to NFL salaries and cap information, the Patriots will have to carry a $5.5 million dead cap hit in 2019 and a $4.5 million dead cap charge in 2020 as a result of the Brown deal.

The only way the team could get out of those penalties would be to void Brown's guaranteed base salary.

It is not known if the Patriots have already paid Brown the first installment of the signing bonus or if they they were waiting until Monday's deadline to write the check.

The Patriots have not shied away from trying to void guarantees in the past. The team sought financial and cap relief in the wake of the Aaron Hernandez arrest and murder conviction and also was the subject of a NFL Players Association grievance following the release of defensive end Jonathan Fanene in 2012. The Patriots said Fanene failed to disclose a physical condition before signing in New England in an attempt to recoup his signing bonus. That matter ultimately ended in a settlement.

Antonio Brown may be gone, but the financial ramifications of his 11 days in New England could potentially linger for much longer than the week and a half he wore a Patriots uniform.

You can hear Matt McCarthy on various 98.5 The Sports Hub programs. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.