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Patriots Salary Cap Hit & Loss Of Production Are Big Following Release Of TE Aaron Hernandez

The New England Patriots wasted no time in releasing tight end Aaron Hernandez following his Wednesday morning arrest and now they will suffer big salary cap ramifications as a result.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN on Twitter, the Patriots have forfeited all rights to recoup bonus money or salary given to Hernandez, who signed a five-year, $40 million contract extension last summer, through the CBA.

Hernandez was scheduled to count $4.73 million against the Patriots salary cap in 2013, but will now count $5.01 million now that he has been waived, according to Schefter, which assumes the Patriots will be unable to recover any of the bonus money or salary already paid to the tight end.

Being as Hernandez was a post June 1st termination, the Patriots now figure to have a dead money charge of $7.5 million against their 2014 salary cap number as that was the left over signing bonus amortization that has to be accounted for moving forward.

On top of the salary cap issues, the Patriots have now lost seven players during the offseason that accounted for 75% of all receptions in 2012 and 70% of all receiving yardage. As I pointed out last week, those numbers could climb to 89% and 87% respectively depending on the status of tight end Rob Gronkowski, who has had numerous surgeries this past offseason on his arm and back that could prevent him from being ready at the start of the season.

The Patriots attempted to pilfer Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders away this past offseason when they signed him to a one-year, $2.5 million offer sheet, but the Steelers chose to match it in lieu of receiving a third-round draft pick this year as compensation. There was no way that the Patriots could have foreseen what would ultimately happen with Hernandez, so it is ludicrous to suggest that they should have signed him to a larger offer sheet as he quite simply wasn\’t worth more than that. Signing Sanders to a longer term offer sheet instead of one that was good for only one year would have likely made it even easier for the Steelers to match, assuming of course they did so without overpaying him.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Shea Fahr

    Wow and I thought we were in somewhat of a transition but the Pats take the cake on that.

  • steeltown

    Tom Brady has to be concerned.. and though Danny Amendola is capable of hitting 1000yds with Brady throwing to him, he hasn’t been able to stay on the field lately due to health issues.

  • Shea Fahr


  • Luke Shabro

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. Who do they have outside of Amendola and Edelman? If I was a Pats fan I’d be hoping the defense takes a big step forward because you’re about to see Tom Brady circa 2001-2006. Throwing to absolutely nobody. And that defense was a whole lot better than the one they have now

  • steeltown

    Whats really interesting is Tim Tebow is now a true candidate for starting TE atleast as the #2

  • Shea Fahr

    The funny thing is that he would probably do that pretty well. He is a good football player, just not a QB.

  • steeltown

    I agree, if he can catch on the move he should succeed because he’s tough as nails

  • Stephen Dale

    Tebow has always been a tight end in a q-backs jersey. His size and strength should be a bonus at this position. All he has to do is catch the ball…………….

  • VaDave

    What a mess. Any takers on whether the Pats make Sanders the next NFL Lotto winner next offseason?

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I applaud the Pats for taking that stand by putting principles ahead of personalities. There are feeling out there that they are a somewhat slimy organization and this took kahuna’s to take that hit. Good for Kraft and his organization!

  • rizzo29

    The pat,s will find some way to recoup that money,you wait and see

  • Dan

    I agree. There is the whole, innocent until proven quilty thing, but they must have known enough or had enough of a vibe about this to cut ties to quickly and not said any words of support to Hernandez in their statement.
    Also consider that at this level of high stakes business/money, their decisions aren’t totally out of anti-slimity. If they want to succeed this year, they need to eliminate distractions. With the Welker, Gronk and Tebow situations their distraction plate is already overflowing. This had to be done.

  • Chris Cain

    Why didn’t the Pats take stand against Alfonzo Dennard.. who was convicted of felony assault on a police officer.. and is still on the pats roster…

  • Dan

    The Pats have been very good at winning through transition periods, but this year has a lot for them to get through. If anybody can throw to a no-name set of receivers it’s Brady and Bilicheck will have good “us against all odds/let’s shock the world” pep talk material, but this seems like a lot to overcome. I say they’ll miss the playoffs.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    Definition of a High Risk, High Reward player i guess. There was a reason why he was off so many draft boards when he was coming out of college

  • VaDave

    No other words other than he’ll “have his day in court”. I’m with you in not wanting to rush to judgment, but for the Pats to take on this kind of cap hit for the next two years says Hernandez’s future isn’t good..

  • Fu-Schnickens

    It’s probably a little too early to say who will on the market at that time, no? Sanders could be chopped liver a year from now. Therein lies the gamble of single-year deals, right?

  • Michael Mazanowski

    He should have used a knife like Ray Lewis….would have got away with it!

  • Michael Mazanowski

    Pats still have Ballard, Fells, Gronk, and Sudfeld. Not lacking in the TE department!

  • Fu-Schnickens

    I wouldn’t go patting them on the back quite yet. Considering the circumstances, did they have a choice? No. I wouldn’t put it past the Patriots, had this been a lesser crime, to have not let him go. This was a business decision, first, and what was right, second. We are talking about the Cheatriots afterall….

  • Fu-Schnickens

    Perspective is the answer….felony assault on a police officer can be anything from inadvertently touching an officer to intentionally and violently assaulting a cop. It’s a pretty broad brush. In addition, nobody was likely killed, maimed, or likely even permanently injured in Dennard’s crime. We’re talking freaking murder with Hernandez – big difference.

  • Michael Mazanowski

    So they can prove Bellicheats system works! Cock suckers!

  • Michael Mazanowski


  • Michael Mazanowski

    Oh I got dogged because I said Tehoe could bench over 500 lbs and should play TE! Tebow should have been a TE/HB to begin with!

  • hergieburbur

    He is a prototypical h-back, and I don’t doubt at all that he can catch. If they use him right, and they probably will, he’ll be an asset. But they have a hell of a lot to overcome.

  • hergieburbur

    Brady was already pissed when Welker left. I would guess he isn’t looking forward to this year a whole lot right now.

  • DoctorNoah

    Groan. I’m shocked the Bengals haven’t picked him up off waivers!

    Maybe he and Pacman Jones can both give talks to the incoming rookies next year!

    Honestly, though, I am shocked that anyone is giving Kraft and the Patriots credit or kudos for jettisoning Hernandez as soon as they knew an arrest was forthcoming. (A) from a business perspective, what the hell else would you do? And (B) from a personal standpoint, way to jump on the guilty-til-proven-innocent bandwagon, or at least act in a fairly craven way towards one of your own.

    I’m just not really impressed.

  • Rob

    Interestingly this also involves, surveillance and destroying tapes, do you think Hernandez got any pointers from Roger?

  • JC

    The Patriots offense is apparently very complicated to learn and Brady is so effective because of his timing. However, right now Brady’s familiar weapons are gone so he’ll need to build continuity and trust with these new players very quickly.

    New WRs – Amendola, Jenkins, Dobson (rookie), and Boyce (rookie).

    They better hope their running game and defense can help win some games because I think the Patriots passing attack will struggle early in the season.

  • JC

    Me too! I suddenly feel much better about the Steelers roster.

  • steeltown

    I forgot they drafted Dobson and Boyce.. I liked both of those guys going into draft weekend. I actually had Dobson and Wheaton as my two (WR) sleepers, but I was surprised to see Dobson drafted in Rd2.. I was thinking 3rd or 4th Rd myself

  • steeltown

    JC reminded me that NE drafted Dobson and Boyce.. I like both of these prospects a lot. Obviously they’re rookies, but both have upside

  • steves

    It will take rookies time to learn the system. Gronk may be lost for some time. The Pats may come outta the blocks slow and hopefully teams will whoop up on them and eliminate them from the playoffs early. Them cheaters are getting payback with it coming around to them.

  • hergieburbur

    Good point, but they likely have little impact on this year, and Brady knows his window is closing. I don’t think he has a lot of enthusiasm for young prospects anymore.

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