Aaron Hernandez may be all but a ghost to the Patriots now, but the team may not be through writing him checks.
Hernandez is owed an $82,000 workout bonus, and the NFL Players Association will file a grievance on his behalf if the amount is not paid within the next few weeks, a source told FOX Sports’ Mike Garafolo. The bonus was reportedly scheduled to be paid on Aug. 1.
The Patriots face the prospect of writing their former tight end an even larger check early next year, as Hernandez is set to earn the final $3.25 million of his $12.5 million signing bonus in March.
The second payment could have been avoided if New England chose to keep Hernandez on the roster in the wake of his arrest on murder charges. According to Garafolo, the collective bargaining agreement allows teams to recoup signing-bonus payments owed to players on their current roster who are incarcerated, but the Patriots waived this right by choosing to release Hernandez.
This would have no effect on the workout bonus Hernandez is owed, however, as he met the terms of the bonus prior to his incarceration.
A spokesman for the team reportedly declined to comment on the situation.