Hernandez costly to Pats in money and reputation

Hernandez costly to Pats in money and reputation
June 26, 2013, 8:45 pm
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In April 2010, Aaron Hernandez must have seemed like great value for the Patriots as he sat there on the draft board after 112 other players had been drafted.
 
John Mackey Award winner in 2009 at Florida. Leading pass-catcher in the BCS National Championship game after the 2008 season.
 
There was a risk to employing Hernandez. Enough NFL people paid to project what a 20-year-old will be like when he’s suddenly rich and on his own backed off of Hernandez.
 
But when the Patriots made the 113th selection of that draft, they decided the projected production Hernandez promised was worth the risk and the cost of employing him.
 
They drafted him. And right about now, they’ve realized that Aaron Hernandez was unsafe at any cost.
 
Even though he caught 175 balls in 38 games for 18 touchdowns for the Patriots, played in a Super Bowl and an AFC Championship Game, the taint Hernandez leaves on the franchise isn’t going to scrub clean.
 
The Patriots, meanwhile, will have financial reminders of his presence, the detritus of the $41 million extension they gave him last August.
 
Hernandez’ salaries for 2013 and 2014 are $1.323 million and $1.137 million respectively. Neither season has “default language,” meaning the team can't recoup money if Hernandez doesn’t play.
 
Whose idea it was to omit the default language is certainly regretting it now. And explaining why to the person who signs the checks, one supposes.
 
Meanwhile, the Patriots owe Hernandez a deferred signing bonus payment of $3.25 million next March. If they refuse to pay that money, there’s little doubt that case will go to the courts and before the NFLPA. There is a fiancée and baby daughter to support and the argument of Hernandez’ people will be a plea they are not punished for Hernandez’s alleged sins.
 
Since the Patriots released Hernandez after June 1, they could be facing a cap charge in 2014 of $8.637 million.
 
The cost of cutting Hernandez is massive in a financial sense. The cost of employing him? Even greater.