At 3:05 am, former Patriots Tight End Aaron Hernandez was found hanging in his cell by corrections officers at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Massachusetts. He was pronounced dead an hour later.
Hernandez was serving a life sentence without parole for his role in the murder of a family friend, Odin Lloyd, in 2013. Shortly after his arrest by authorities, the Patriots cut him from the team and voided his contract, withholding $3.25 million of his Signing Bonus and refusing to pay $2.5 million of his guaranteed base salary for that year, citing Hernandez’s violation of the terms of his contract under the Collective Bargainaing Agreement.
His death today, however, complicates those details of his previous contract with New England.
As per Massachusetts and federal law, Hernandez being unable to finish his current appeal in his murder conviction (along with the weapons and ammunition conviction he received in the same trial) results in those convictions being overturned.
Thats right; in death, Aaron Hernandez is now innocent of all previous convictions in the eye of the law.
This could, absent any currently unknown loopholes or boundaries in his contract with the Patriots, result in the NFL and New England being on the hook for some or all of the aforementioned $5.75 million that was withheld as a result of his violating the terms of his contract with his team.
Now being considered posthumously innocent, Hernandez’s legal team is combing through the details of his last contract and the rules of said contract as outlined by the CBA to determine how much of that money is to be paid to Hernandez’s Estate, which will be inherited by his wife and daughter.