98.5 The Sports Hub staff report
The Patriots just moved out of the cap space basement.
Beginning the day with a league-low $1.24 million, settlements in grievances with both Antonio Brown and Aaron Hernandez created a combined $6.55 million in cap space on Saturday, according to ESPN's Mike Reiss and Field Yates. Per Reiss, the settlement with Brown awarded $4 million to the Patriots, while the settlement with Hernandez created $2.55 million in space.
Brown's grievance likely centered around his signing bonus earned by inking a deal with the Patriots last year. In that deal, Brown was due a $9 million signing bonus, with $5 of that paid up front. The remaining $4 million of the signing bonus was supposed to come down the road, too, but Brown lasted less than two weeks with the Patriots due to off-field troubles. In fact, Brown appeared in just a single contest for New England, totaling 56 yards and a touchdown in the team's 43-0 Week 2 win over the Dolphins.
The 31-year-old Brown is currently a free agent, and after settling one of his other non-football troubles, is attempting to sign on with a team for another NFL chance.
The settlement with Hernandez, meanwhile, was the conclusion to a "long-running" financial issue between the sides, according to Reiss. Hernandez spent his entire three-year NFL career with the Patriots, but his career came to an abrupt end in 2013 following his arrest and conviction for the murder of Odin Lloyd. That arrest, which led to the Patriots immediately releasing him, came less than a year after the Patriots signed the Connecticut native to a five-year, $39.58 million contract extension. The Patriots did everything they could to void that contract, and planned on withholding the 2012 signing bonus Hernandez was due. This settlement is likely related to that.
Hernandez, who was later found not guilty of a separate (double) murder, committed suicide in prison in Apr. 2017.
With this grievances settled, the Patriots now have $7.79 million in available cap space.