Aaron Hernandez’s Potential Legal Trouble Could Cost Him Millions in Signing Bonus Money

Aaron HernandezAaron Hernandez could be out a whole lot of money thanks to Plaxico Burress.

The New England tight end’s legal future doesn’t look too promising in the midst of the murder investigation being carried out on his property. At the very least, it seems as though Hernandez could face charges for obstruction of justice in connection with a North Attleboro homicide, though no arrest warrant has been issued.

If Hernandez is indeed imprisoned or suspended at some point, the Patriots would be able to recoup money from the tight end’s signing bonus because of language in the NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement, according to USA Today.

Hernandez signed a seven-year, $41 million contract extension with the Patriots before the 2012 season, which included a $12.5 million signing bonus. Under the old CBA, that signing bonus would have been fully guaranteed — not so much anymore.

The tweak in language on the subject stemmed from Burress’ legal trouble of his own in 2008. Burress shot himself in the thigh after carrying a loaded gun into a club and was subsequently sentenced to two years in prison. The Giants, the team Burress was playing for at the time, fought to withhold a $1 million payment of the wide receiver’s signing bonus in light of his jail sentence, but the team ultimately lost the battle and ended up paying Burress the money.

The new CBA states that a player commits a “forfeitable breach” when he “willfully fails to report, practice or play” while healthy, retires, suffers an injury due to “an activity other than football which may involve a significant risk of personal injury” or “is unavailable to the team due to conduct by him that results in his incarceration.”

Under those guidelines, Hernandez stands to lose up to $10 million of his signing bonus, depending on the amount of time he would be incarcerated or suspended.

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