The Patriots have won an appeal that entitles them to the right to challenge the $2.5 million signing bonus paid in 2012 to defensive lineman Jonathan Fanene, which can be fully recovered if they win a separate appeal, according to a league source.
Ian Rapoport of NFL.com and NFL Network was the first to report the news.
In essence, the Patriots have cleared one hurdle in an attempt to get back the $2.5 million paid up front to Fanene when he signed a three-year free-agent deal last offseason. Fanene was released during training camp under the recently instituted "failure to disclose a physical condition" designation and sat out the entire 2012 regular season.
Rapoport alleged that Fanene lied during a physical before signing his deal in failing to disclose the need to regularly use painkilling medications to play.
Now, the Patriots have the right to a separate appeal, at which point a ruling will be made on whether they can get the $2.5 million back. It is unclear how the $2.5 million would be applied back to the team if they win the appeal, and whether it would turn into additional cap space.
We'll keep our eyes on this one going forward.