According to multiple reports, the growing expectation is that the New England Patriots will be forced to pay Antonio Brown his $9 million signing bonus.
As much as it may pain New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft to do so, it’s increasingly likely he’ll eventually be forced to pay ex-receiver Antonio Brown a $9 million signing bonus in full. Reports from both WEEI’s Ryan Hannable and Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson seem extremely confident in such an outcome being attained… though both admit it might not happen until next year.
New England cut Brown after new information came to light that suggested the receiver had sent threatening text messages to one of the women who had previously accused him of sexual misconduct. While most of the scandals and controversy that have plagued Brown all year happened well before he was a Patriot, this apparently was the final straw for Kraft and the team, as it occurred while Brown was an employee of their organization.
His case is still ongoing as the league conducts an official investigation into the claims and gathers all necessary evidence. In the meantime, the Patriots have voided all the guarantees in Brown’s contract, claiming that he withheld the information pertaining to his sexual misconduct and assault allegations when he first agreed to sign with the team.
The only problem for the Patriots is that all of that information became public knowledge three days after they reportedly had agreed to terms with him, and they still decided to keep him on the roster. Moreover, the team elected to have Brown active in practices throughout the week leading up to their Week 2 contest against the Miami Dolphins – a game that Brown ended up playing in and scoring a touchdown.
He even kept practicing with the team for most of the following week until he was officially released on Friday, two days before the Pats’ Week 3 home game against the New York Jets.
Brown took to Twitter to seemingly thank the Patriots organization for the opportunity, though the photos he shared were exclusively of him with head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady – both of whom supposedly wanted Brown to remain on the roster even after the controversial text messages were allegedly sent.
Brown later went on a Twitter tirade against a number of individuals, one of whom was Robert Kraft. He accused the NFL of setting a double standard for its owners versus its players, and cited Kraft’s highly-publicized and still unresolved Florida solicitation case.
The move reportedly angered Kraft, and perhaps is at the root of why the Patriots are now fighting what looks to be a long and losing battle against Brown to recoup the guaranteed money they promised him in the form of a signing bonus.
But even though New England might have somewhat of a case for terminating Brown, under the current rules, regulations, and guidelines of the collective bargaining agreement, Brown didn’t violate any policies while he was a Patriot… and thus he should be entitled to his signing bonus, at least according to these new reports released recently.
Stay tuned, folks. This could be a long, ugly, legal process, with no clear end in sight anytime soon.