Patriots $5M installment of Antonio Brown's signing bonus due Monday

Patriots $5M installment of Antonio Brown's signing bonus due Monday

The first installment of Antonio Brown’s $9M signing bonus must be paid by Monday.

If the Patriots haven’t already coughed up the $5M they agreed to give Brown when they officially signed him on September 9, news that broke Thursday night of Brown sending threatening text messages this week to a woman should give them pause about cutting that check.

If the Patriots have paid it, it will likely take some wrangling to get it back if the team ultimately decides to follow the lead of Nike and helmet manufacturer Xenith and get out of the Antonio Brown business by releasing him.

Brown’s tenure with the Patriots has been an unmitigated PR disaster not nearly outweighed by the four catches for 56 yards he had in last week’s 43-0 win over Miami.

When it was just unpaid bills for services rendered, ill-advised Facebook Live content, going 100 in a 45, showing up late or not at all for events, launching furniture from the upper floors of his condo, frozen feet, an uncomfortable helmet, calling the Raiders GM a cracker and persistent social media drama, it was all fun-and-games and the Patriots were happy to hold their nose because the football he played was so, so good.

Fifteen days later, not so much. The civil lawsuit filed alleging two instances of sexual assault and one instance of rape led NFL investigators to interview Brown’s alleged victim for 10 hours on Monday.

Less than 48 hours later on Wednesday night, Brown went back at a woman who said Brown approached her naked aside from a facecloth on his genitals while she was working on a painting for him. He derided the woman as a “celebrity groupie” on a group text, instructed a henchman to look into her background “to see how broke this girl is”, included images of the woman’s children on the text chain and said he would be reaching out to the “team” surrounding rapper Meek Mill to try and dig for more on the woman.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft took up for Meek Mill while the rapper was imprisoned and developed a friendship with him.

Language in Brown’s contract says the deal is “null and void” if he “takes any action that materially undermines the public's respect for, or is materially critical of, the Club, the Player's teammates or the Club's ownership, coaches.”

Has Brown taken any action that “materially undermines the public’s respect for … the Club”? What does “material” mean in this instance? It could also be argued the mere signing of Brown in the first place lowered the public’s respect for it.

AB's first public comments since joining the Patriots>>>

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Report: 2020 NFL Draft will be conducted from homes, not team facilities

Report: 2020 NFL Draft will be conducted from homes, not team facilities

While the tradition of the NFL draft in late April apparently will not be stopped by the coronavirus, the traditional draft "war room" might be.

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NFL teams are preparing to conduct the April 23-25 draft with personnel at their homes and not at their team facilities, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported.  

Schefter and ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski also reported that President Trump had a conference call on Saturday with the commissioners of each of the major league sports and Trump said he believes the NFL season should start on time. The regular season is scheduled to begin Sept. 10, a Thursday night, when the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs host an opponent to be determined. 

Trump, who last week expressed the hope that mass gatherings could return by Easter Sunday before backtracking on the advice of medical experts and scientists and extending restrictions until April 30, also said he hopes to have fans back in stadiums and arenas by August and September. 

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell ordered team facilities closed more than a week ago.

Earlier, when the NFL announced that the draft would go on as scheduled, it was thought that the teams would work from their facilities - with only 10 people in a room, each six feet apart - to make the picks and contact players chosen via video conferencing. 

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It appears from Schefter's report that the video conferencing will be going on not only with picks but among individual team's general managers, scouts and coaches as they shelter in place like the rest of us while the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on the world. 

It creates an unprecedented draft, likely devoid of a lot of the glitzy production values that the original idea of the draft in Las Vegas would've had, but still a far cry from when the teams' decision-makers met in a smoky New York hotel ballroom on a Tuesday in late April to do the picking. 


New York Post salutes Robert Kraft with 'Thank You, Pats' front page

New York Post salutes Robert Kraft with 'Thank You, Pats' front page

That whole Boston-New York rivalry thing gets put aside when it comes to public health and the crisis we all find ourselves in these days.

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There's no better example of that than the front page of the New York Post on Saturday morning:

Patriots owner Robert Kraft sent the team plane to China to purchase and bring back 1.7 million N95 protective masks needed to help combat the deadly coronavirus that has hit New York City particularly hard. The Kraft family donated 300,000 masks to New York-area hospitals and they arrived on Friday in a tractor-trailer emblazoned with the Patriots logo. 

In a city that, as Post columnist Mark Cannizzaro put it, has "been trained to disdain" everything about the Patriots and Boston teams, it should be a gesture that forever puts Kraft in the New York family: 

Today, however, everyone associated with New York — Jets fans or otherwise — should salute the 78-year-old Kraft, who delivered a deed so special in this frightening and uncertain time of the coronavirus crisis that it should never be forgotten.

Even Jets superfan "Fireman Ed" Anzalone told the Post he has to put the rivalry aside.

“I don’t like his team. They’ve been beating us up for quite some time. But Kraft is just a wonderful guy, so I’m not surprised by his actions.”