So there you go, folks. Clearly he did something. The Patriots will take a huge cap hit from the $12.5 million signing bonus they gave Hernandez a year ago, so you could argue that they did the moral thing by cutting him now instead of waiting to see what he would be charged with. Or, you could argue that they did the immoral thing because they are the Patriots and everything they do is evil.
As for the on-field ramifications, huge, of course, but maybe not quite as big as some people believe. Remember, Hernandez only played 10 games last year, and the Patriots' offense was still pretty good in the other six.
I also agree with what Greg Bedard and a lot of other folks are saying on Twitter: "Patriots decision to release Hernandez now means well-connected Patriots security director Mark Briggs thinks this is going to get much worse."
P.S. I just ran some numbers. No, this doesn't mean that the Patriots will once again be the best offense in the league even without Hernandez... obviously, they also lost Wes Welker and Danny Woodhead, and Green Bay has real running backs now. But still, who's the really important player here?
Patriots regular-season offensive DVOA
with Hernandez: 24.0%
without Hernandez: 42.4%
with Gronkowski: 34.7%
without Gronkowski: 22.3%