Schefter: Pats must pay Hernandez's bonus

The New England Patriots made a decision Wednesday to swiftly release star tight end Aaron Hernandez before the legal system ran its course. Hernandez is being investigated in a homicide probe of a 27-year-old Boston man in Massachusetts.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, releasing Hernandez now eliminates any chance of New England recouping the upfront bonus money. Hernandez’s five-year, $40 million extension included a $12.5 million signing bonus.

The Patriots could have waited to release Hernandez and let legal situation play out. But it’s clear the team would rather take the financial hit now and move on with its season rather than to put up with a major distraction.