Former New England Patriots tight end and previously convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez committed suicide in his cell Wednesday, while he appealed his life sentence for murder. Since Hernandez had not yet exhausted his appeal opportunities, he is technically not considered a convicted murderer by the state of Massachusetts.
Because of that, Hernandez’s lawyer claimed that the Patriots will owe Hernandez’s estate a $3.5 million bonus that was to be paid to him in 2013, but never was because of his murder arrest.
“At the time of his original arrest in the Odin Lloyd case, my understanding was that there was a $3.5 million bonus that we’ve made a subject of an action in the Superior Court,” Kennedy said. “We got a commitment from the Patriots that before any of that payment would be made they would notify the court to give us a chance to deal with that.”
A viral Instagram post claimed that Hernandez committed suicide for his daughter, who will get $15 million from the Patriots.
However, it’s likely both of these claims are untrue. NFL teams get out of contracts for far less, and any potential contract disputes have probably already been settled. According to the Boston Globe, it’s still likely that Hernandez breached his contract with the Patriots for his behavior, even if he isn’t guilty, legally.
NFL Players Association records show that the Patriots and Hernandez settled a grievance that Hernandez filed in 2014. The settlement gave the Patriots a salary cap credit of $1.184 million, indicating a Patriots win. Additionally, according to Joel Corry — an attorney, salary cap expert, and former NFL agent — grievance settlements almost always tie up all loose ends.
“Typically when there’s a settlement, there’s some sort of catch-all language: ‘This will resolve all claims known or which could be known in the future,’ ” Corry said. “I haven’t seen too many settlements which don’t have some type of form of that kind of language.”
“Just because he’s legally not guilty doesn’t mean that he didn’t actually do anything,” Corry said. “Maybe he didn’t do the murder, but was he an accessory? He was going to end up standing trial anyway, which would have triggered this stuff. And given how much he was going off the rails, who’s to say he wouldn’t have done something between Lloyd and now where he would have imploded?”
According to the Boston Globe, Hernandez is eligible to receive a pension, but it’s unclear where those payments will go. But his family will not be receiving a lump sum of millions from the Patriots.