Solotaroff's story claims that Hernandez was taking PCP before Odin Lloyd's murder, and his increasing paranoia led to him carrying a gun with him 24/7.
Even before the murder charges, Hernandez was already walking a fine line and in danger of being cut by the Patriots, according to the article.
I find it a bit hard to imagine that Belichick would have been willing to cut Hernandez if it hadn't gotten to the point that it did. Despite his frustrations with Hernandez, I'm not sure he'd accept the financial hit that would ensue if he cut Hernandez.
Hernandez's paranoia is alleged to be the motive in the Lloyd killing, and Solotaroff details the situation:
When Lloyd went back upstairs, Hernandez was enraged. Club security cameras allegedly capture the two men squabbling, showing Hernandez, six-two and a rippled 250, facing off with the five-11 Lloyd."
According to the sources in the story, Hernandez was unable to move past this incident, and that's what led to him allegedly murdering Lloyd.
The more we hear about this story, the more it seems as though the Patriots were negligent in their handling of Hernandez. Apparently Bill Belichick knew that Hernandez was paranoid, and knew that he was in fear for his life. He advised Hernandez to rent an apartment away from home and try to avoid his old acquaintances, but they didn't supervise him as much as it seems they should have.
Part of the blame seems to lie with the Patriots' decision to change security chiefs:
Thanks to this personnel change, the Patriots were no longer as tapped into the community as they used to be, and potentially missed out on tips that would have let them know when their players were straying from the straight and narrow. Perhaps if Mendes had still worked with the team, they would have known more about Hernandez's issues and perhaps Lloyd's death could have been prevented.
But were they really in the dark? According to this report, they knew a lot more than they were letting on. Belichick had warned Hernandez multiple times that he would be cut if he got in any more trouble, but once they gave him his $40M contract extension, that threat lost its teeth, since Hernandez had a lot of guaranteed money coming his way.
This is a bizarre and fascinating story, and unfortunately it's looking like the Patriots aren't going to come out looking very good when all is said and done. Their 'win-at-all-costs' attitude is coming back to bite them, and they might want to start going back to the principles that made them one of the most respected franchises in sports.