Updating my Patriots salary cap picture after the Revis signing but before accounting for the Browner, Lafell, and Edelman signings. I will be updating this post once their numbers come in.
Right now, I have the Patriots 2014 cap commitments as $128,725,017. The 2014 Patriots adjusted cap number is $139,109,051. The Patriots 2014 adjusted cap number of $139,109,051 minus cap commitment of $128,725,017 equals $10,384,034 in cap space with 59 signed players. This cap space number is before taking into the impact of the Browner, Lafell, and Edelman signings and includes Wilfork’s $11.6 million cap number.
As you can see, based on my numbers above, the Patriots are under their projected 2014 cap by $10.3 million if they do not cut any veterans or renegotiate any contracts. There are plenty of opportunities to do both, thereby opening up millions of dollars under the cap. Here are some possible ways that the Pats could free up cap space. Please note that I am NOT advocating that the Patriots do all of these salary-cap maneuvers. The bolded maneuvers are my current predictions.
1a.) Release Dan Connolly – net cap savings of $2.58 million
1b.) Extend Dan Connolly through the 2015 season converting $2 million of his $3 million salary into a signing bonus – cap savings of $1 million
2a.)Reduce Wilfork’s salary from $7.5 million to $4 million while converting $3.5million of his salary into a NTLBE incentive – cap savings of $3.5 million
2b) Release Wilfork – net cap savings of $7.58 million
2c) Extend Wilfork through the 2016 season – converting $6 million of his $7.5 million salary into a signing bonus – cap savings of $4 million
For more ways to lower Wilfork’s cap hit see this blog entry.
3.) Convert $4.5 million of Mankins’s $6.5 million salary into a signing bonus – cap savings of $3 million while pushing out $1.5 million of signing bonus proration to the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
4.) Extend Gostkowski’s contract by 4 years while giving him a $5 million signing bonus and lowering his salary from $2.9 million to $900,000 – cap savings – $1,000,000
5.) Extend McCourty’s contract by 4 years while giving him a $10 million signing bonus while lowering his 2014 salary from $3.92 million to $1 million – cap savings – $1,000,000
6.) Release Adrian Wilson – net cap savings of $746,666
As you can see from above, the Pats could create more than $16.75 million in additional cap room if they chose to do so. The Pats could create more than $10 million in additional cap room WITHOUT releasing a single player. That is, the $16.75 million and the $10 million figures are in addition to the $10 million in cap space that I believe that the Pats have before accounting for the impact of the Browner, Lafell, and Edelman signings and includes Wilfork’s $11.6 million cap number.
When determining the cap savings from releasing players, keep in mind the Rule of 51. When a player from the top 51 is released or traded, the base salary of the player with the 52nd-highest cap number is added to the cap. For example, if Connolly was released, his cap number would be lowered by $3,000,000, although the actual team savings would be only $2,580,000 because another player’s $420,000 base salary or tender would be added to the team cap.
The Rule of 51 also applies when free agents are signed. If the free agent’s cap number is among the 51-highest on the team, the base salary of the player whose cap number had been 51st-highest no longer counts against the cap. In most cases, then, the effect of signing a free agent will be $495,000 less than his cap number for 2014. To determine about how much can be spent on free agents, add $495,000 to the team’s cap room per free agent signed. So, if the Patriots enter the free-agency period $7,000,000 under the cap, they could sign one free agent for a 2014 cap number of $7,495,000, or two free agents for a combined cap number $7,990,000, or three for $8,485,000, or four for $8,980,000, and so on.
At the time of the draft, the Patriots figure to have far more than 51 players signed or tendered. They will not need any additional cap room in order to draft, since all of the draft choices’ automatic rookie tenders of $490,000 will be below the 51st-highest cap number on the team. The Patriots’ 2014 rookie pool figures to be approximately $4,000,000, although the exact number will not be determined until after the draft. Of the rookie pool amount, only about $2 million will count against the cap, due to the Rule of 51. Somewhere between $90,000 and $100,000 of that will be used immediately after the draft to sign undrafted Free Agents. The rest will not be needed until July, when the draft choices are signed.
The Patriots would also need to reserve at least $1,696,800 in order to pay for a 8-man practice squad and to pay for players, 52 and 53.
Over the past couple of years the Patriots have used about 2 million dollars for in-season replacements.
I consider the Patriots to have at maximum 4 million in easily reached NLTBE incentives. Do not know if the Patriots leave themselves a cushion for those. Wanted to mention them since any reached NLTBE incentives in 2014 will likely lower the Patriots adjusted cap number. For the purposes of this exercise, I will guess that the Patriots will leave themselves a cushion for half of the amount or $2 million.
- Mayo’s per-game roster bonus – $312,500
- Mayo’s Pro Bowl bonus – $300,000
- Vollmer’s playing time incentive – $2 million
- Kelly’s per-game roster bonus – $550,000
- Kelly’s playing time incentive maxes at $645,000
- Amendola’s per-game roster bonus – $125,000
- Hoomanawanui’s per-game roster bonus – $18,750
Please note that as Jocelyn Robichaud once pointed out in an email: “The current cap status is calculated with the top 51 earners. On the other hand, not all of these players will make the team. Thus, as the team shrinks its roster to 53 players, it will create cap room unless it keeps all of its top earners. For example, let us say that Jake Bequette ($570,000 in salary) does not make the team and is replaced by Ja’Gared Davis ($420,000 in salary). This would free $150,000 in cap room for the Patriots. If Justin Green makes the team instead of Tavon Wilson, that would create $353,444 in cap space. If Armond Armstead makes the 53-man roster instead of Marcus Forston, that would create $150,000 in cap space. With just 3 those roster decisions the Patriots could create over $650,000 in cap space when the rosters are cut down to 53 players. Figuring that the Robichaud roster effect will create about $2 million in cap space the Patriots would probably like to enter training camp under their adjusted cap by about 6 million dollars.
Current cap space – 10,300,000
Draft picks = (-2,000,000)
Players 52, 53, and practice squad (-1,700,000)
Robichaud roster effect – (2,000,000)
Cushion for replacing injured players during the season (-2,000,000)
Cushion for reached NLTBE incentives (-2,000,000)
leaves a total of $6.6 million in cap space to account for Lafell, Browner, Edelman, and future free agent signings.
My Positional Breakdowns