A cancer doesn't start in stage 4.... I begins with one cell that chooses not to die and affects every other one around it. The Hernandez cancer WILL affect the Pats this year in a couple of ways. First, this cancer has been brewing a while and already caused a distrust by vets according to Matt Light (http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap100...aron-hernandez). If vets felt that way about him and this happened how do you think every other kid with a ? about his character will be treated in that locker room? It might not be conscious, but people will act differently.
What it also does is gives other teams swagger vs the Pats that wasn't there before. Before it was a focus to cover up Gronk, Welker, Hrnandez. Now Hernandez is gone and Gronk will prob be back in time for Amendola to get hurt. This swagger against them is something that the Pats have only seen in the playoffs from most teams and usually leads to them losing.
Are they imploding? No, but they are worse than 12 months ago. The cancer from Hernandez is going to be there a while and the personell decisions over the years have left the Pats open.
On a personal note, I can't really rejoice in Hernadez getting arrested for killing a person. Someone is dead because he is a thug. I am glad the Pats are weaker because they chose to draft someone with so many character concerns but hate how those character concerns came to fruition.