Could Patriots be punished by NFL?

No one knows all the facts yet in the arrests of Alfonzo Dennard and Aaron Hernandez; no one has been found guilty or suspended. But the NFL does have a policy that, based on suspensions, could lead to a team being fined for its players getting in trouble.

It is a "club remittance" policy whereby clubs pay a portion of a player's salary to the league starting with the second suspension of the year for drugs, steroids, or personal conduct. It is calculated at the end of each year.

Here's how the policy works: When a player is suspended without pay for a violation of the policy on anabolic steroids and related substances, personal conduct policy or policy and program for substances of abuse, the employer club will be required to remit to the league office a portion of the player's salary that is forfeited by virtue of his suspension. The collected funds will be used to support the steroid and drug policies, the player care foundation, and other research and player development programs.

Here's how it's calculated: The amount to be remitted will be based on the number and status (i.e., whether the player is a repeat violator) of players who are suspended during each playing season, and will begin with the second suspension. (The commissioner will continue to reserve the option of imposing discipline on clubs in any case involving non-player conduct.) Specifically, the amount will be calculated pursuant to the following formula:

* First player suspended: No remittance.

* Second player suspended: 25 percent of the player's forfeited salary up to a maximum of $200,000.

* Third player suspended: 33 percent of the player's forfeited salary up to a maximum of $350,000.

* Fourth player suspended and above: 50 percent of the player's forfeited salary up to a maximum of $500,000.

If the player has had prior violations of the law or is a repeat offender under the relevant policy, the remitted amount will be doubled with respect to that suspension, subject to the maximum amounts above. In appropriate cases, conduct occurring prior to the player's entry into the league will be considered.

All clubs will be reset to zero for calculation purposes following the conclusion of each postseason.