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Report: Patriots settle grievances with Antonio Brown, Aaron Hernandez

Settling a grievance with former receiver Antonio Brown helped the Patriots free up salary-cap space.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

The Patriots now have significant salary-cap space, after settling grievances with former players Antonio Brown and Aaron Hernandez.

The settlements created $6.55 million in cap space, according to ESPN, giving the team an available $7.79 million. Prior to the settlements, the Patriots had the least amount of cap space in the league.

Brown filed a grievance against the Patriots in September 2019, when the team withheld his $9 million signing bonus after cutting him. Brown was scheduled to receive $5 million on Sept. 23, three days following his release, and $4 million in January 2020. As a result of the settlement, the Patriots will pay him only $5 million. 


The Patriots also received $2.25 million in credit for settling long-standing grievances filed by the late Hernandez, who was released in January 2013. Hernandez’s grievances sought compensation for the final installment of his signing bonus ($3.25 million), his 2013 base salary ($1.32 million), his 2014 base salary ($1.14 million), and his workout bonus ($500,000). 

The $6.55 million in additional cap space gives the Patriots flexibility to extend the contracts of current players such as guard Joe Thuney or pursue free agents. 

Earlier this past week, the Patriots freed up $981,250 by restructuring running back Rex Burkhead’s contract.