He's Gone: Patriots Sans Antonio

BroodsSexton

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In the cool light of Monday morning, I really do wonder whether this episode should be a breaking point with me on the NFL. I love the competition. The game itself is compelling, I mean, when the Patriots aren’t literally putting me to sleep laying waste to teams as happened this weekend.

But between CTE, civil rights, unfair labor practices, the league’s problems with violence, women, and civil rights, and the fact that it really does seem multi-faceted and pervasive, I wonder how I can keep tuning in. Yeah, the Pats eventually did the right thing, I guess (almost certainly not for moral reasons), but doesn’t that just underscore the point that but for that last straw, it was business as usual?

I would honestly change the station rather than watch the Cosby Show or listen to Michael Jackson, or watch Kevin Spacey, knowing what I know now. How do i reconcile that with tuning in the NFL? I don’t really expect a good answer from football fans, but it has me thinking. Maybe it’s just harder for me to quit this. But I’m not sure that’s a good excuse.
 

BigJimEd

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I'm not sure Belichick would have absolutely kept him. Certainly a possibility but not a sure thing. The fact that AB was practicing doesn't mean much more than they hadn't decided beforehand.
Maybe they decided to discuss it after. Give some time to not make an emotional decision and to talk to Brown.

I think it's also possibly Belichick and Kraft have an agreement. Belichick worries about the football side. Anything that affects on the field results. That includes locker room etc..
The rest is left to Kraft and the league.

Doesn't need to be adversarial relationship.
 

joe dokes

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I'm not sure Belichick would have absolutely kept him. Certainly a possibility but not a sure thing. The fact that AB was practicing doesn't mean much more than they hadn't decided beforehand.
Maybe they decided to discuss it after. Give some time to not make an emotional decision and to talk to Brown.

I think it's also possibly Belichick and Kraft have an agreement. Belichick worries about the football side. Anything that affects on the field results. That includes locker room etc..
The rest is left to Kraft and the league.

Doesn't need to be adversarial relationship.
Or if it is "adversarial," it's only because their concerns dont always overlap 100%. "Adversarial" doesn't necessarily mean "contentious" or "hostile" or "unworkable."
 

BroodsSexton

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Belichick is a military guy. I'm sure he understands chain of command. You go to war with the army you have, not the army you wish you had, etc.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Given the likelihood of a grievance, does it make sense to reinstate the legal thread or is one thread ok?

Some quick thoughts. Early reports after he was cut made it seem as though the Patriots voided the contract due to a breach of a disclosure provision. I think SI said it was a provision that required AB to disclose material facts that could affect his availability. Not some escape for conduct detrimental language.

The Patriots have a strong argument in that AB plainly violated the PCP by failing to disclose the allegation in the complaint. Maybe he can say that because he knows it to be untrue he had no duty to report it to the league but I like the Patriots side of that one. It looks as though he was trying to hide it and this gives the Patriots an argument that he violated the contract by not disclosing it before signing.

This makes sense to me. He was due to disclose any facts that could affect his availability. This would also explain Rosenhaus’s very careful answers about when he knew about the civil action. The problem for the Pats is that they played him a game after learning of the allegations.

I guess what I argue if I were the Pats is that it was only after the week two allegations when the NFL began a second investigation that availability appeared in serious question. Maybe the had communication with the NFL about the exempt list that would help them with the timing.

Ultimately, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a settlement. For Brown $5 million right now is probably better than the risk of zero and for the Patriots any cap relief is sort of found money. Maybe one side has a significantly stronger case than the other, but arbitration is always a huge gamble. Especially in a non disclosure contract case.
 
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YTF

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I'm not sure Belichick would have absolutely kept him. Certainly a possibility but not a sure thing. The fact that AB was practicing doesn't mean much more than they hadn't decided beforehand.
Maybe they decided to discuss it after. Give some time to not make an emotional decision and to talk to Brown.

I think it's also possibly Belichick and Kraft have an agreement. Belichick worries about the football side. Anything that affects on the field results. That includes locker room etc..
The rest is left to Kraft and the league.

Doesn't need to be adversarial relationship.
I'm guessing that the threatening tweets didn't set well with Bill. Everything to that point was he said, she said. No crime was ever investigated, no charges were ever brought. Yes Brown is a man of very questionable character and most likely the shitbag that many of believe him to be. The same goes for some other guys that the Pats have brought in in the past, but that tweet was a total game changer. Had that tweet come out before he was under contract to New England they never would have touched him, but it came while Brown was a member of their team. That contract was the one and only chance that any of us thought he might be afforded in New England, yes? We all felt that if he fucked up he'd be gone didn't we? Well, he fucked up in a spectacularly stupid way. He acted in a manner that I think most of us would expect him to get released over, so I really can't see BB taking issue with it. Bill's never struck me as being a guy to obsess over something that he has no control over. More than anything, he's probably pissed at Brown so now it's next man up and we're on to Buffalo.
 

bakahump

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Could the Fact that AB is a Creep actually help the Patriots (who you know tried to employ the creep?).

Both the league and to a lesser extent the NFLPA both cant want to go to the mattresses over the Financials of this. I know I know the NFLPA is duty bound to argue but will their heart be in it? They may well decide that ABs failure to disclose is an untenable position. That "Hey yea we are a Union who will fight for our members but if their wrong....what can we do?"
The NFL cant really want to be the party that says "Nope we dont care if he is a potential Rapist and sexual assaulter who has bad mouthed 2 of the inner circle of ownership. You MUST pay him AND we will enforce the Salary cap financials of that contract. We also dont care that you only knew he was a jerk and didnt know he was a potential Criminal. And that he didnt disclose it to you."

I know this will get dragged out in court but is there a possibility that the Salary Cap hit gets rescinded until this is resolved? And if it does how do you retroactively reimplement it? Instead might this become a situation where the Patriots do have to pay AB but thats months from now after the Salary cap hit is rescinded and spent elsewhere?
 

Super Nomario

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I'm not sure Belichick would have absolutely kept him. Certainly a possibility but not a sure thing. The fact that AB was practicing doesn't mean much more than they hadn't decided beforehand.
Maybe they decided to discuss it after. Give some time to not make an emotional decision and to talk to Brown.

I think it's also possibly Belichick and Kraft have an agreement. Belichick worries about the football side. Anything that affects on the field results. That includes locker room etc..
The rest is left to Kraft and the league.

Doesn't need to be adversarial relationship.
I remember when the Aaron Hernandez thing went down, there were reports that the Patriots decision-makers planned to release Hernandez for any charge. I'd imagine any big moves are made with Kraft's blessing—he does cut the checks, after all—and there are ongoing dialogues about situations like Brown's. I'd be shocked if Belichick and Kraft didn't talk through Brown's signing beforehand (perhaps this was the driver for the delayed bonus payment). I'm sure they talked again after the initial allegations against Brown came out, and made determinations about whether they'd cut him, whether they'd sit him against Miami, and under what circumstances they'd decide to cut him later. Then after the latest news, it makes sense that they would talk before doing anything. Maybe Belichick had a difference of opinion about whether Brown's texts rose to the level of a firable offense, but at the end of the day they made a decision that they both have to stand by. In general, Belichick and Kraft do an excellent job presenting a united front, and any disagreements are behind-the-scenes and not public. Given that they've been able to work together for so long, I'd imagine that they generally come to a consensus rather than these sorts of decisions being overly adversarial.
 

EvilEmpire

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Some quick thoughts. Early reports after he was cut made it seem as though the Patriots voided the contract due to a breach of a disclosure provision. I think SI said it was a provision that required AB to disclose material facts that could affect his availability. Not some escape for conduct detrimental language.
The problem for the Pats is that they played him a game after learning of the allegations.
If the Pats didn't release him right away because of a failure to disclose and played him anyway, could it because his availability hadn't been impacted yet? What if instead of language saying "could affect his availability" in his contract, which seems subjective until the league actually does it, the language in his contract just says something like "disclose material facts that affect his availability".

Language like "could" when the NFL's wheel of justice is a bit unpredictable seems ambiguous to me.

I guess I'm wondering if the Patriots made it more difficult to win a grievance by pre-emptively releasing AB before the league took an action that would have caused him to miss time.

Either way, kudos to the Patriots for doing the right thing, however it works out.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Could the Fact that AB is a Creep actually help the Patriots (who you know tried to employ the creep?).

Both the league and to a lesser extent the NFLPA both cant want to go to the mattresses over the Financials of this. I know I know the NFLPA is duty bound to argue but will their heart be in it? They may well decide that ABs failure to disclose is an untenable position. That "Hey yea we are a Union who will fight for our members but if their wrong....what can we do?"
The NFL cant really want to be the party that says "Nope we dont care if he is a potential Rapist and sexual assaulter who has bad mouthed 2 of the inner circle of ownership. You MUST pay him AND we will enforce the Salary cap financials of that contract. We also dont care that you only knew he was a jerk and didnt know he was a potential Criminal. And that he didnt disclose it to you."

I know this will get dragged out in court but is there a possibility that the Salary Cap hit gets rescinded until this is resolved? And if it does how do you retroactively reimplement it? Instead might this become a situation where the Patriots do have to pay AB but thats months from now after the Salary cap hit is rescinded and spent elsewhere?
A few thoughts in response in no particular order:

1. I don't think the league has anything to do with it at this point in the proceedings. If AB files a salary grievance it will be decided by a single arbitrator under the CBA’s dispute-resolution provisions. The arbitrator is a neutral selected from a panel of mutually-agreed upon arbitrators between the teams/league and the NFLPA for this purpose.

2. The NFLPA will fight hard because that’s what they do. It doesn’t really matter how they view the character of the particular player involved in the particular dispute. At least that is my take. They view the principles worth fighting for regardless of the particular facts of the case. But that doesn’t mean they will want the player to go all the way to an arbitration decision in a difficult case where the arbitrator might be swayed by bad conduct. They may well push for settlement. Brown is not really the player you want as your test case about the sanctity of signing bonuses under the CBA. And Rosenhaus may well prefer a settlement to avoid getting dragged through an arbitration that is about what he knew and when he knew it. (He also might prefer his guaranteed cut of $5 million instead of a contingent possibility of recovering his cut of $10 million.) But ultimately the client/player will decide. On the Patriot’s side of things, if you could resolve it for $5 million, given the charge you’re taking for Brady next year that would be a welcome resolution to avoid any 2020 charge. That might not be possible though. Brown may have made settlement impossible by tweeting about Kraft.

3. There are definitely some things that the league can do right now to help the Patriots out if they are so inclined. None of this will be dispositive, but it could very much affect how an arbitrator looks at the merits of the case. For example, if the league were to make findings and issue a suspension that would be effective should the player return to the league, that would tend to support any argument the Patriots might make to the effect that he failed to disclose a situation that might affect availability. I don’t know if there is precedent for the league to issue PCP suspensions for players who are not currently under contract. Maybe that came up in Rice?

4. Timing is interesting. In the prior legal thread I gave my view for why the Patriots should get cap relief now, subject to a charge in the future if they lose the grievance. But Miguel seems to be saying that is not correct and he knows what he’s talking about. For 2020 the issue is simple. The grievance will determine whether or how much of the approximately $4.75 million cap charge the Patriots will have to take next year. By the start of the league year, the Patriots should know where they stand on that. For 2019, if I understand Miguel, the best the Patriots can do is get a credit for the cap charge that they already have been required to book for 2019. So, the 2019 cap stays where it is. But they may get a credit next year.

If the Pats didn't release him right away because of a failure to disclose and played him anyway, could it because his availability hadn't been impacted yet? What if instead of language saying "could affect his availability" in his contract, which seems subjective until the league actually does it, the language in his contract just says something like "disclose material facts that affect his availability".

Language like "could" when the NFL's wheel of justice is a bit unpredictable seems ambiguous to me.

I guess I'm wondering if the Patriots made it more difficult to win a grievance by pre-emptively releasing AB before the league took an action that would have caused him to miss time.

Either way, kudos to the Patriots for doing the right thing, however it works out.
I think they were facing a difficult timing issue because they had the league doing the things the league does and they also had the first payment coming up. It's always harder to recoup money than to not pay it. You wonder if there were conversations happening between the club and league during this process. My guess is that Bill doesn't spend a ton of time agonizing over these kinds of issues. I think he decides what's in the best interest of the club, plays the ball as it lies, and walks forward to get ready for his next play. I think he probably walked out of that press conference and decided that it was no longer in the best interests of the club to have him on the team, and then probably tried to get some info from the capologists and lawyers about whether they had a legitimate chance to get cap money back, and when they said there were arguments to be made, he played the ball and focused on the Jets. It may not have been more complicated than that.
 

BigJimEd

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Let's hope they get cap relief. That's a good chunk wasted if not.
I guess we'll see if they protected themselves enough.

I don't think a ton of people are surprised it didn't work out which is exactly why many were surprised the Pats gave AB such a signing bonus.
 

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Sociology 323: Racism and Inequality
Religion 334: Death and Dying
English 303: Technical Writing
Management 312: Introduction to Management

Sounds depressing. Maybe the last one has a section on self.
The fact that he’s taking a writing course is possibly the most self-aware thing I can recall him doing.

Question: how is intro to management a 300 level management class?
 

nighthob

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Management Informations Systems software. But thanks to our humorless age for frowning on MISmanagement jokes. I had forgot just how deadly serious the world was.
 

GoDa

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The fact that he’s taking a writing course is possibly the most self-aware thing I can recall him doing.

Question: how is intro to management a 300 level management class?
In recent years, the negative stigma of 100 and 200 level courses has been removed. Everything is 300 level now!
 

Cotillion

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Sociology 323: Racism and Inequality
Religion 334: Death and Dying
English 303: Technical Writing
Management 312: Introduction to Management

Sounds depressing. Maybe the last one has a section on self.
If it’s even halfway decent, everyone should take a “death and dying” course. Way too many people avoid the subject, and you should get some really good stuff to think about out of it.
 

Marciano490

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If it’s even halfway decent, everyone should take a “death and dying” course. Way too many people avoid the subject, and you should get some really good stuff to think about out of it.
That’s funny. I wanted to write my thesis on pieces composers wrote when they knew they were dying - Mahler’s 10th, Beethoven’s 32nd - but my adviser nixed the idea.
 

mauf

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A few thoughts in response in no particular order:

1. I don't think the league has anything to do with it at this point in the proceedings. If AB files a salary grievance it will be decided by a single arbitrator under the CBA’s dispute-resolution provisions. The arbitrator is a neutral selected from a panel of mutually-agreed upon arbitrators between the teams/league and the NFLPA for this purpose.

2. The NFLPA will fight hard because that’s what they do. It doesn’t really matter how they view the character of the particular player involved in the particular dispute. At least that is my take. They view the principles worth fighting for regardless of the particular facts of the case. But that doesn’t mean they will want the player to go all the way to an arbitration decision in a difficult case where the arbitrator might be swayed by bad conduct. They may well push for settlement. Brown is not really the player you want as your test case about the sanctity of signing bonuses under the CBA. And Rosenhaus may well prefer a settlement to avoid getting dragged through an arbitration that is about what he knew and when he knew it. (He also might prefer his guaranteed cut of $5 million instead of a contingent possibility of recovering his cut of $10 million.) But ultimately the client/player will decide. On the Patriot’s side of things, if you could resolve it for $5 million, given the charge you’re taking for Brady next year that would be a welcome resolution to avoid any 2020 charge. That might not be possible though. Brown may have made settlement impossible by tweeting about Kraft.

3. There are definitely some things that the league can do right now to help the Patriots out if they are so inclined. None of this will be dispositive, but it could very much affect how an arbitrator looks at the merits of the case. For example, if the league were to make findings and issue a suspension that would be effective should the player return to the league, that would tend to support any argument the Patriots might make to the effect that he failed to disclose a situation that might affect availability. I don’t know if there is precedent for the league to issue PCP suspensions for players who are not currently under contract. Maybe that came up in Rice?

4. Timing is interesting. In the prior legal thread I gave my view for why the Patriots should get cap relief now, subject to a charge in the future if they lose the grievance. But Miguel seems to be saying that is not correct and he knows what he’s talking about. For 2020 the issue is simple. The grievance will determine whether or how much of the approximately $4.75 million cap charge the Patriots will have to take next year. By the start of the league year, the Patriots should know where they stand on that. For 2019, if I understand Miguel, the best the Patriots can do is get a credit for the cap charge that they already have been required to book for 2019. So, the 2019 cap stays where it is. But they may get a credit next year.



I think they were facing a difficult timing issue because they had the league doing the things the league does and they also had the first payment coming up. It's always harder to recoup money than to not pay it. You wonder if there were conversations happening between the club and league during this process. My guess is that Bill doesn't spend a ton of time agonizing over these kinds of issues. I think he decides what's in the best interest of the club, plays the ball as it lies, and walks forward to get ready for his next play. I think he probably walked out of that press conference and decided that it was no longer in the best interests of the club to have him on the team, and then probably tried to get some info from the capologists and lawyers about whether they had a legitimate chance to get cap money back, and when they said there were arguments to be made, he played the ball and focused on the Jets. It may not have been more complicated than that.
I could see the Pats persuading an arbitrator that AB’s threatening texts were egregious enough to justify nullifying his contract. I can’t see them persuading an arbitrator that his failure to disclose a threatened civil lawsuit justifies that. Show me an arbitrator who rules in the Pats’ favor on duty-to-disclose grounds, and I’ll show you an arbitrator who won’t hear another discipline case arising in any professional sports league.

In the sight of the NFLPA, and every other major pro sports players’ union, guaranteed contracts are just that — guaranteed. I mean, the arbitrator in the Latrell Sprewell case somehow found that choking his coach wasn’t “insubordination,” and therefore overturned the Warriors’ nullification of Sprewell’s contract, even though Spree individually might have been better off as a free agent. If the sanctity of guaranteed contracts isn’t the single most important issue to players’ unions, it’s damn close. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a case where a union would grudgingly acquiesce to an arbitrator’s decision invalidating a contract, but the facts would have to be egregious; failing to disclose a threatened lawsuit (even for sexual assault) doesn’t qualify.

Overall, I am not as bullish as others on the Pats’ chances to get relief, and I certainly don’t expect it to happen soon enough to make a difference for this season’s cap — not that the opportunity cost there is all that great (unless you think a Gronk comeback or a Ramsey trade was otherwise a real possibility).
 
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lambeau

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Reportedly Schefter called around to NFL execs who think AB will win his grievance; also reported Robert won't settle after being attacked--of course, it's early.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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I could see the Pats persuading an arbitrator that AB’s threatening texts were egregious enough to justify nullifying his contract. I can’t see them persuading an arbitrator that his failure to disclose a threatened civil lawsuit justifies that. Show me an arbitrator who rules in the Pats’ favor on duty-to-disclose grounds, and I’ll show you an arbitrator who won’t hear another discipline case arising in any professional sports league.

In the sight of the NFLPA, and every other major pro sports players’ union, guaranteed contracts are just that — guaranteed. I mean, the arbitrator in the Latrell Sprewell case somehow found that choking his coach wasn’t “insubordination,” and therefore overturned the Warriors’ nullification of Sprewell’s contract, even though Spree individually might have been better off as a free agent. If the sanctity of guaranteed contracts isn’t the single most important issue to players’ unions, it’s damn close.

Overall, I am not as bullish as others on the Pats’ chances to get relief, and I certainly don’t expect it to happen soon enough to make a difference for this season’s cap — not that the opportunity cost there is all that great (unless you think a Gronk comeback or a Ramsey trade was otherwise a real possibility).
Depends on the language, I think. If it's boilerplate or vague it's a tough road but if there's a special clause in there to deal with what was happening at the time, that might matter. If the parties are litigating about whether it was material, the Patriots will have the tough side. But if a particular rep is important enough to one side and they draft it correctly it a much easier fraudulent inducement case. You made it material to you, even if it's not objectively material. Like Van Halen demanding only brown M&Ms. It was important to them for a very specific reason. Without knowing the language it's hard to say.
 

mauf

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Depends on the language, I think. If it's boilerplate or vague it's a tough road but if there's a special clause in there to deal with what was happening at the time, that might matter. If the parties are litigating about whether it was material, the Patriots will have the tough side. But if a particular rep is important enough to one side and they draft it correctly it a much easier fraudulent inducement case. You made it material to you, even if it's not objectively material. Like Van Halen demanding only brown M&Ms. It was important to them for a very specific reason. Without knowing the language it's hard to say.
I was under the impression that NFL player contracts were standardized, with stuff like performance incentives being the only provisions that are actually negotiated
 

Super Nomario

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I was under the impression that NFL player contracts were standardized, with stuff like performance incentives being the only provisions that are actually negotiated
This is largely true of rookie contracts under the post-2011 CBA (where even the incentives loopholes have been closed and the only points of contention are offsets and bonus timing), but it is not true of veteran contracts.
 

InstaFace

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Reportedly Schefter called around to NFL execs who think AB will win his grievance; also reported Robert won't settle after being attacked--of course, it's early.
are they only speaking of a grievance against the Patriots, or is there absolutely no talk of him grieving the Raiders voiding of guarantees prior to a release?

I'm not sure the two teams have much different grounds for doing what they did, but I'm not sure I've heard one talking head (other than those here) asking whether the Raiders would get away with their attempts to get out from their own (far weightier) Antonio Brown contract.
 

DeadlySplitter

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it would be a disaster if we have nasty cap hits this year and next for AB, when he gave literally no gain on the field (would have beat Dolphins by a similar score anyways)
 

lexrageorge

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Reportedly Schefter called around to NFL execs who think AB will win his grievance; also reported Robert won't settle after being attacked--of course, it's early.
I'm not sure the NFL execs opinion is all that meaningful. They probably just read a couple of media reports; they don't have a vested interest in the arbitrator's decision.
 

lambeau

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Dunno about Oakland--I think Mayock tried to follow legal protocol by notifying AB his guarantees were voided for skipping camp w/o permission. Then, of course, there's all the "Free at last! Free at last!..." drama.
 

BigJimEd

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Define "disaster". Do the Pats not win the division? Not make the AFCCG?
Who knows? It affects them next year as well. Disaster might be an overstatement but if the Pat's didn't have a proper out that was a mistake.
$9M is a significant amount.
I don't think many were expecting his contract to have much of a bonus.
The thought was if he's not working out they will just cut him. It wasn't a long shot that the Pats would cut AB at some point. The contract structure should have reflected that.
 

dcmissle

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it would be a disaster if we have nasty cap hits this year and next for AB, when he gave literally no gain on the field (would have beat Dolphins by a similar score anyways)
We knew that going in as part of the risk/benefit analysis.

Next year should be manageable. This year, short of a settlement — which AB doomed with his Kraft tweet — there is no way the Pats will recoup any of that money in sufficient time to spend it.
 

DeadlySplitter

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this team may have serious holes due to injury. having that cap space for a Trent Williams would be really nice.
 

InstaFace

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Wait, there are litigators here who actually think Kraft wouldn't settle this, if in the best interests of his salary cap situation, all because Brown said (and then deleted) something mean about Kraft on Twitter?
 

lexrageorge

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this team may have serious holes due to injury. having that cap space for a Trent Williams would be really nice.
In last night's broadcast, it was mentioned that the Redskins are not looking to trade Williams, and would be unlikely to settle for anything less than a first round pick if they do.

Wait, there are litigators here who actually think Kraft wouldn't settle this, if in the best interests of his salary cap situation, all because Brown said (and then deleted) something mean about Kraft on Twitter?
Kraft may feel he has a solid enough case that he has zero reason to settle. Still, any settlement will take time.
 

DrewDawg

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Wait, there are litigators here who actually think Kraft wouldn't settle this, if in the best interests of his salary cap situation, all because Brown said (and then deleted) something mean about Kraft on Twitter?
What's a settlement here? We're either on the hook for the cash and salary cap hits or we're not, right? I don't think we can settle for a lower cap hit.
 

bakahump

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Well they could settle for Less money.
"Out Of Pocket" money could be less. NFLPA would be involved here as well I think. But Maybe if Brown says he doesnt care what they think as long as I get my money next Friday....(cause he has basically quit the NFL, so wtf does he care about the Union now).

But unless the NFL agrees/has precedent and rules that allow them to "return the cap money" then that is likely gone.

IOW Cap Money is just a number on a piece of Paper. Where as the actual settlement could be REAL money.
Once could be reduced (and Make Kraft happier), while the other might stick (and impact the cap spending ability of the Pats for the short term).
 

DrewDawg

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Well they could settle for Less money.
I don't think they can. I have never heard of an NFL team and a player deciding, after the player is cut, to "redo" the contract to give the player less money and suddenly they pay him $5 million, but the cap his is still the entire amount.
 

bsj

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The biggest mistake in this whole mess was giving him guaranteed money. I never ever understood it from the moment the contract was signed.