A look at recent financial decisions made by the Pats

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Crazy Patriot Guy, Jun 8, 2012.

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  1. Crazy Patriot Guy

    Crazy Patriot Guy Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    #11 Jersey

    I apologize if this has been talked about already today but I thought about it while at work after hearing about the Gronk extension.

    In the past 27 months, the Patriots have:

    made Vince Wilfork the highest paid NT ever (at the time it was signed)
    made Tom Brady the highest paid QB ever (at the time it was signed)
    made Logan Mankins the highest paid interior OL ever (at the time it was signed)
    gave Jerod Mayo $48.5 million in new money, with 1.5 years left on his rookie deal
    gave Gronk $54 million with 2 years left on his rookie deal

    But they didn't push hard enough for Peppers or Mario Williams.

    Yep.....cheap. ;)
  2. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Good post. Those were also all "win-win" deals - they were good deals for the players, and for the club. Gronk gets extended with 2 years left on his rookie contract, but the Pats get one of the hottest offensive players in the game tied up long term at reasonable cost.

    Right now those are probably the 5 biggest impact players on the team, all signed through 2014 or longer. The other players with contracts coming up shouldn't be in quite the same rent district:

    - OT Sebastian Vollmer - one All Pro selection but back problems in 2011 and his RT position will likely limit his ceiling to less than Mankins kind of money
    - WR Wes Welker - age, the slot position and questions of how much the system has benefitted will keep his long term cost down. Currently playing under the franchise tag.
    - TE Aaron Hernandez - will cost less than Gronk, or he walks.
    - OT Nate Solder - too far out to project. Signed through 2015.
    - CB Devin McCourty - too early to project after a poor sophomore season. Signed through 2014.
    - S Pat Chung - injuries have limited his playing time, and he's a solid but not top echelon safety.

    The team is doing a great job of wrapping up its core players.

  3. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

    #50 Jersey

    I've said this before, but I really like the way they seem to be focusing the big $$ on retaining their own top talent. It's much lower risk (you already know how they work with YOUR team, in YOUR system); it allows for season-to-season continuity and growth; and it sends a great message about how performance is rewarded.
  4. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    It also can't hurt to have guys like Branch, Gaffney and Stallworth coming back and saying that the grass isn't greener elsewhere.
  5. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    ESPN's James Walker seems to think that the Pats will now have to choose between long term deals for Wes Welker or for Aaron Hernandez:

    Pats chose 'Gronk' over Welker, Hernandez - AFC East Blog - ESPN

    Locking up Gronk long term was a great move. NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthanl summed it up very succinctly:

    Rob Gronkowski breaks mold with Patriots extension - NFL.com
  6. Joker

    Joker PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Just an outstanding observation..short, succinct and "hammer meet nail" astute.You should look into a job working P.R. for the Pats, patchick...
  7. Joker

    Joker PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    yeah...my incredible hatred for anything FESPN aside, how does this clownerette Walker MISS the fact that Welker can be TAGGED....and tagged again...the Pats don't have to choose anything between anybody...this is why I loathe FESPN...this turd is trying to create controversy where there is none now and doesn't look to be anytime soon either...but he just has to blabber on a like some crack addled Nostradumba$$...who the hell is he to DECLARE what the Patriots have to do? Instead he should be playing "Pin The Head On The Jacka$$" with him starring as Zippy the Pinhead...dyam, I really cannot stomach much more of this national sports media garbage.
  8. supafly

    supafly PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    #32 Jersey

    Too much of an opinionated piece for my liking, to be honest.

    I don't necessarily agree that there should be a choice between Welker or Hernandez. We already have Hernandez through Feb.2014, and could just as easily franchise him allowing the team to secure Hernandez for at least 3 more seasons before any talk of a "long-term" pact needs to be brought up.

    3 more seasons is a long time, especially with a minimal committment from the front office.

    As far as Welker goes, that situation could easily be taken care of if they come to a fair compromise, allowing him to be here for the same amount of time.

    Basically it all comes down to whether or not they can come to an agreement with #83, and if so, they all could still play together for at least 3 more seasons; at least there is a halfway decent chance anyway.
  9. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    #3 Jersey

    And the best part is that while, yes, they are giving GRONK $8M this year, they're not changing his 2012 and 2013 salaries. So they could easily do a similar deal with Hernandez later this season/next offseason.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2012
  10. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Guess the term, "Cheap Bob Kraft" will forever be regulated to the oxymoron hall of fame...

    This is a win for the Patriots, even the numbers for Gronkoski make sense and only the first 3 years are fully guaranteed... Gronk is happy, we are happy and the Patriots are happy..

    From Mike Reiss' blog..


    Last edited: Jun 9, 2012
  11. RayClay

    RayClay Hall of Fame Poster

    #75 Jersey

    A lot of wacky assumptions there. The Patriots have a tight end in front of Hernandez? Ridiculous. If they didn't have Gronkowski, they'd need to get a real size tight end, Hernandez isn't one. He's a complimentary player.

    Welker is negotiating from great production, against age and the possibility he is much more valuable here than in what's left of his career elsewhere. As they always do, the Patriots negotiate each player, not some artificial standard from others.

    Sometimes. Players are connected, but these three really aren't. Gronk is young and awesome and will make any complementary receivers better. Hernandez is a great unique talent, but other hback types become available. He is not an NFL tight end and might fit here better than other places, but there are other players out ther, there is one Gronk IMO.

    Welker is a dynamite safety valve for Tom, but he's small and not a pup anymore. He has more value here than elsewhere, which is why I think they come to a deal. also, they need to anticipate a time when he's less effective.

    No doubt, they made the right move. Gronk is the unique talent, he would make lots of slot receivers, Hbacks or whatever mid range receiving options available better.

    You don't need to replace players with clones, you just need to replace production in the overall scheme. Gronk can't reasonably be replaced, most others can.
  12. robertweathers

    robertweathers Pro Bowl Player

    Good posts. As much as I loved the thought of bringing in a Mario Williams-type talent, if it means that the team can't extend Gronk & AH in a win/win scenario or not be able to tag WW, then its not worth it.

    In terms of choosing b/t/w WW and AH, tough call but I think we haven't seen the best from AH yet as I do think he has the pot'l to be a 100/1200/10 TD player.
  13. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Reading Walker's musings for a while now and he is THE ESPN regional lightweight. Has zero insight into any of the division teams and his observations and opinions run contrary even to his ESPN peers concensus (and I don't think he's aiming to be contrarian for effect) to the point they are headscratchers.

    As to the Welker Hernandez conundrum...

    This deal actually makes it easier to extend Wes for as long as they want to. The rub remains only for how long they are willing to extend and at what price. Looking back at what they offered, which was also going to be tacked on to a remaining low salary season, they seem to want 2 more years at what would have averaged just over $6M per ($3M, $8M, $8M) albeit with $16M guaranteed. He'd probably settle for a "true" $8M AAV or maybe even a little less structured to imply he sees at least 2 more years (via guaranteed money) on the horizon here and preferably a reasonable expectation of 3. Considering his 2011 salary is already banked, Welker isn't risking much by rolling the dice going forward beyond what the team is risking, his not being here. Financially it's down to the difference between $9.5M and $13M... He will get $3.5M from someone next season barring catatrophic career ending injury, and possibly a good deal more.

    I think the jury is still out on Hernandez as opposed to Gronk. They are down to catastrophic concerns with Gronk, and they have those about Brady. Aaron still has a slight tendancy to lose focus periodically. They probably want to see a little more consistency there as well as better general overall durability (he gets dinged and misses time and struggles when dinged which becomes a greater concern if you are often dinged). They could still get a similar deal done for him later this season, if Dunn is interested in one, provided Aaron doesn't want to play the what am I game. For him it might be shorter term (adding 4 to get to 6 increasing his likelihood of getting a 2nd bite at the big deal apple) with similar guarantee money as the tradeoff against lower total deal and new money and annual average numbers.

    The cap hits on Gronk's deal to match what Reiss laid out (absent workout money) project as:

    2012 $2.14M
    2013 $2.23M
    2014 $5.35M (if on the roster at season end another $4.75 in 2015 salary becomes guaranteed for injury - if not, dead cap if cut $3.2M or $2M*)
    2015 $6.35M (no more guaranteed money in the deal. Team option to pick up balance of contract comes between end of season and early next season)
    2016 $6.35M (Option bonus of $10M is earned when paid - dead cap if option not picked up $400K or zero*)
    2017 $6.75M (dead cap if cut or traded $7.5M or $6M*)
    2018 $10.5M (dead cap if cut or traded $5M or $4M*)
    2019 $11.5M (dead cap if cut or traded $2.5M or $2M*)

    The figures alter slightly* if $8M signing bonus is prorated over 4 years, but CBA says you can prorate into option year provided any voidable year is only voidable at team and not player discretion ($400K difference per*). Also if they pick up the $10M option before the end of the 2015 season rather than waiting until prior to the 2016 season, that option could be prorated over 5 rather than the remaining 4 seasons ($500K difference per*). Projecting the cap is difficult at this juncture, but if it remains basically flat thru 2014 (say $125M) and just rises $5M per thereafter as the TV deal revenues finally begin to kick in, the cap in 2019 would project to be $150M.

    If things don't work out the team can walk away from the player and the deal in 3 or 4 years. After the option is exercised they can again walk away after 6 years with manageable or minimal dead cap. If he's not a top 5 TE worth $8M+ at ages 29-30, or not worth it to a team who by then will probably be minus it's $20M QB and even it's HOF HC and on to the next chapter, they can cut him, trade him or restructure him. Conversely they could also tack another year or two onto the deal down the stretch by simply converting portions of the remaining salaries into up front bonus money.

    Meanwhile, having created a template for retaining elite young talent through their prime at managable cap and cash cost, most agents aren't going to go for this without a fight. Something to keep in mind before proposing this as the answer to all extension woes. I think the fact that Gronk is who he is and Rosenhaus needed some buzz (he's lost some clients lately and others are watching) created the perfect atmosphere to get this deal done. And it doesn't work quite as well if you're not working off the lowest tag valued position on the field at the moment and you weren't drafted in the second round or later. It's also not a template that will work for those drafted under the new CBA since it prohibits extensions prior to the player completing 3 years of service and they are only signed for 4 now with a 5th year prescribed tag or top 10/20 value option available only for 1st rounders after that 3rd season.
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2012
  14. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

    Those cap hits are not going to preclude resigning anyone we want to.
  15. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    This is very true. Walker is a lightweight among lightweights, and some of his stuff borders on the ludicrous. This particular piece isn't as much of a headscratcher as some, but it's by no means something that I agree with.
  16. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Chris Price speculates on who the next "under 30" player to get an extension could be:

    It Is What It Is » Who will be the next under-30 Patriot to get a new contract?

    I think he's identified the right 5 players, but right now none are at the level of a Mayo or Gronk, and all 5 have questions:

    1. Vollmer. The status of his back is the only major issue, but it's a big one. If he's healthy, the team needs to lock him up. He probably won't get Logan Mankins money, but it won't be a cheap deal. An issue could be whether the Pats try to pay him as a pure RT or not. Tennessee RT David Stewart signed a 6 year $38.9M extension with $10M guaranteed in 2008. Vollmer will get more than that if his back isn't a major issue. The Viking's Philip Loadholt is also a FA after 2012, and his contract could be a factor as well. I would guess that Vollmer will be somewhere in the ballpark of Michael Roos' 2008 deal: $43M/6 years with $15M guaranteed. Perhaps a bit more to compensate for a rising market. Denver is looking at extending Ryan Clady, but he's a pure LT and hopefully Vollmer won't be quite as expensive. I disagree with Price on this one - if Vollmer shows that he is healthy, I would hope that he gets a new deal sometime this season and not wait until he hits FA. The Pats could use the franchise tag on him in 2013, but that was $9.383M in 2012, which is a sizable cap hit (though it could be argued that it would just be transferring Welker's 2012 cap hit to Vollmer, assuming Welker isn't tagged again in 2013).

    2. Chung. Like Vollmer, injuries have been the issue. The Pats need to see how he does this year. But if they want to keep him I hope that a long term deal will be worked out before the end of the year.

    3. Hernandez. He's under contract through 2013, and the Gronk signing frees the team up to use a fairly reasonable franchise tag on him if necessary. I think that the Welker situation needs to be cleared up. If AHern wants to stay with the team and is willing to make it work something could get sorted out sooner, but I doubt we'll see an extension before 2013 and perhaps longer.

    4. Spikes. He's under contract under 2013. He's a very good player but not a 3-down LB, and the presence of Hightower may factor in to how far the Pats are willing to go to pay him. I think this could easily get done in 2013 if he wants to stay and is willing to work with the team, but it's not a given.

    5. McCourty. He's under contract the longest (through 2014), and the team needs time to evaluate whether he is closer to the player he was in 2010, or in 2011. If he bounces back from his 2011 sophomore slump, I could see an extension coming in 2013.
  17. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

    #50 Jersey

    Just a small addendum to the above: could the early re-ups for Mayo & Gronk suggest that they've decided to prioritize retention of homegrown talent over "rules" about when and how to negotiate contracts?
  18. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

    I think its not so much a change in philosophy, but an example of players who were willing to reup early. The player does take a risk in giving up free agency. I would imagine the Patriots approach all of their elite players in this way, some agree, some dont.
    I think the results in terms of decision making are sometimes used in error to estimate the philosophy. We do not know any of the attempted early signings that didn't happen, but I'm sure they exist.
  19. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    I hope so, at least as far as "foundation" players are concerned. One can argue that Gronk and Mayo are certainly more a part of the core of the team than Deion Branch or Asante Samuel were - both guys were very good players, but both were over-valued on the market IMHO. I think the Pats should have tied both players up long term, but I'm not convinced that either was a difference maker in the Gronk category. The Logan Mankins contract situation was I think a major learning point for both sides. I'm not sure the Pats ended up saving any money in the long term by taking a hard line approach with Mankins - they got him to play at a discount for half a season in 2010, but they lost him for half a season and they pretty much made up the difference in his huge signing bonus.

    As Robert Kraft's recent comments about the Welker situation suggests, it takes two to tango. Mayo and Gronk were willing to work out deals that worked to the advantage of both sides, and they were guys who the organization had identified as long term building blocks. The team has been a bit inflexible in the past, and hopefully that is changing for the better, but sometimes the players have been inflexible as well. I think the door will be open for other such deals with players in the future, but it will take a similar combination of the organization being sure it wants to build around those players and the players being wiling to work with the team.
  20. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

    #50 Jersey

    Andy, any evidence to support your certainty? It's certainly possible, but examples like Branch and Mankins seem to support the idea that past players wanted extensions BEFORE the team was willing to give them.

    Given zero examples of extensions prior to the final contract year in for a decade then two examples in the past year, I think a change in approach is pretty likely.
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