The New England Patriots got huge salary cap relief and ended the absurd rumors of a reunion with Antonio Brown in one shot.

According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss and Field Yates, the Patriots settled salary cap grievances with Brown and the estate of Aaron Hernandez.

Yates tweeted:

“Earlier this week, the Patriots were down to less than $500K in salary cap space. They now stand at $7,794,739, with flexibility for in-season roster management.”

Reiss added:

“With @FieldYates, reporting significant salary-cap news for Patriots: Settlements in compensation grievances with Antonio Brown ($4 million to team) and Aaron Hernandez ($2.55 million to team) have created space for the club. The Patriots’ current cap space is $7.79 million.”

This will allow the Patriots, who had been well below $1 million in cap space before restructuring Rex Burkhead’s contract last week, to pursue a late bargain this offseason and/or make moves during the season. Cap relief could be even more valuable in 2020 because of the potential need to replace players who have contracted coronavirus.

The Patriots had Brown on the roster for one game in 2019 after his disruptive personality led to him forcing his way off of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders.

New England released the talented receiver after two separate reports emerged where he had been accused of sexual assault. Brown’s release set off a dispute over how much of the $9 million signing bonus the Patriots would be forced to play.

Brown spent much of the year alternating between being contrite on social media and attacking the Patriots, including owner Robert Kraft, specifically, and the NFL for not bringing him back.

Still, because Tom Brady remained friendly with Brown and supportive of him on social media, rumors persisted of a possible reunion, especially when Patriots receivers struggled down the stretch in 2019.

Last week, Brown posted a picture of himself in a Patriots uniform on Instagram, sparking those rumors one more time even though Brown will likely face a lengthy suspension if a team signs him to a contract. But the settlement severs the last tie between the franchise and Brown.

Hernandez has been gone since 2012. The Patriots released him when he was accused of murder. He took his own life while his conviction was being appealed, creating questions over whether New England still owed him money.

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