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This is my attempt to explain what has happened and could happen with Aaron Hernandez’s salary cap numbers. I used reports from Ian Rapoport, Field Yates, and Joel Corry as well as my own research for my source material. Any errors in this blog are solely mine.

Quick summary – Patriots received a $1,184,000 credit on their 2015 salary cap for grievances over guaranteed salary and offseason workout bonus money. Patriots should eventually receive a $3.25 million credit from Aaron Hernandez’s signing bonus. The credit should¬†not come from the Odin Lloyd conviction but from the expected double murder convictions¬†(Danny Abreu and Safiro Furtado).

In late August of 2012 Aaron Hernandez signed an extension with the Patriots. His signing bonus was $12.5 million. It was scheduled to be paid out over three installments. Hernandez received $6 million in August of 2012 and $3.25 million in March of 2013. Aaron is scheduled to receive the third and final payment- $3.25 million on March 31, 2014. Hernandez‚Äôs workout bonus clauses required successful completion of at least 90% of the workouts in New England‚Äôs voluntary offseason workout program. His 2013 salary – $1.323 million – was originally guaranteed for injury only and became fully guaranteed in March of 2013 since Aaron Hernandez was on the Patriots at that time. $1.137 million of his 2014 salary which was originally guaranteed for injury only also became fully guaranteed in March of 2013. Aaron’s 2014 $500,000 offseason workout bonus also became fully guaranteed in March of 2013 since he was on the Patriots roster at that time. Most NFL contracts include a “failure to perform” or “failure to practice” clause that will make any guarantees such as a signing bonus or guaranteed salaries within the contract null and void. On June 24th Ian Rapoport reported that according to Paragraph 32(d) of Hernandez’ extension, the 2014 workout bonus became “null and void” if the player fails to report and that the sections of the contract dealing with the guaranteeing of the 2013 and 2014 salaries did not not contain a “failure to perform” or “failure to report” clauses. According to Joel Corry, a former sports agent Paragraph 35 of Hernandez‚Äôs contract contains a clause where he represents and warrants that there weren‚Äôt any existing circumstances when he signed his deal that would prevent his continuing availability throughout the contract. Joel reported on CBSSportsline.Com that “There’s another clause explicitly stating that the Patriots wouldn’t have entered into the contract except for Hernandez’s representations.

aaronhis a screenshot of Aaron Hernandez’s deal with the Patriots. You will have to double-click it to see it completely

When Aaron Hernandez was waived by the Patriots on June 26, the other hand, his 2013 cap hit went from $4,073,000 to $2,550,000 (the 2013 proration of his 2010 and 2012 signing bonuses). His 2014 cap hit increased from $4,200,000 to $7,500,000 (the unamortized portion of his 2012 $12.5 million signing bonus). There were questions over whether or not the guaranteed salaries would hit the Patriots salary cap in 2013. It turns out that they did not.

Sometime after his release Aaron Hernandez¬†filed grievances for his 2013 and 2014 offseason workout bonuses and salaries which is why the Patriots lost over $1.1 million in cap space in late October of 2013. Per the CBA 40% of any¬†grievance amount goes¬†against the team’s cap until the grievance is settled or until the end of the League Year, in this case, 2013. The grievance amounts in question were the¬†2013 offseason workout bonus money of $82,000, 2013 salary of $1,323,000, 2014 offseason workout bonus money of $500,000, and 2013 salary of $1,137,000. Those four amounts totaled $3,042,000. 40% of $3,042,000 is $1,216,800. Jonathan Kraft is quoted as saying ‚ÄúYou have to hit 90 percent in our contract, and Aaron didn‚Äôt hit 90 percent, in our view,‚ÄĚ. Jonathan Kraft contended that Aaron attended 25 of 33 workouts. As Joel Corry opined – “Hernandez was recovering from shoulder surgery during the offseason which limited his participation in organized team activities and mini-camp. It may have also limited him during the workout program. Since Hernandez‚Äôs workout clause doesn‚Äôt account for supervised rehabilitation, the Patriots may contend that he didn‚Äôt fulfill his workout obligations because his shoulder surgery prevented him from successfully completing workouts. It remains to be seen whether the arbitrator would find this type of argument persuasive.”

For most of December 2013 and January 2014 the NFLPA site http://www.nflplayers.com/cap showed the Patriots were under their 2013 adjusted cap number by $4,024,801. Because of that I had expected that to be the amount that the Patriots would be rolling over into 2014. So when the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin tweeted that the Patriots are rolling over exactly $4,106,801 in cap space for 2014, I tried to figure out why would that number changed. The first thing I noticed is the difference between the two numbers is exactly Aaron Hernandez’ 2013 offseason bonus money – $82,000. I thought then that the Patriots had won the grievance over the 2013 offseason workout bonus money of $82,000. It turned out that conclusion was premature. The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin tweeted that $32,800 was counting against the Patriots 2014 cap because of an Aaron Hernandez’ grievance. 40% of $82,000 is $32,800. So it appeared¬†that the Patriots and Hernandez were still arguing over Hernandez’s 2013 offseason workout bonus money in 2014.

While conducting research for this blog post, I looked at a couple of cases to see how long it took a team to get a cap credit for recouped money. The Patriots released Jonathan Fanene on August 21, 2012 with a “failure to disclose physical condition” designation. The Patriots filed a grievance seeking some, if not all, of the $3.85 million signing bonus Fanene received when he signed with the team March 20. The grievance hearing was held in July of 2013. On September 21, 2013 ESPNBoston.Com’s Mike Reiss reported that “The Patriots and defensive lineman Jonathan Fanene (represented by the NFL Players Association) settled their grievance within the past week, according to sources, and part of the settlement is that the Patriots won’t have to pay Fanene the final $1.35 million of his $3.85 million signing bonus… We can now officially close the book on the Patriots’ failed Fanene signing, with Fanene able to keep $2.5 million of the original signing bonus and the Patriots receiving a credit on their 2013 salary cap.” On March 13, 2014 update OvertheCap’s owner, Jason Fitzgerald, tweeted referring to the Patriots 2014 adjusted cap number that “the official number (also includes the 504k adjust and 360k of fanene is a direct credit and not in adjustment”. To sum up it took the Patriots two years to get a credit for a grievance filed in 2012. It took the Falcons five years to get a $3 million credit for Michael Vick. In August 2007 they won a grievance against Vick for around $20 million.

Let’s now take a look at four amounts involved.

The 2013 offseason workout bonus money of $82,000. I think that the Patriots won this grievance.¬†The case for the Patriots (their contract has a strict threshold and Aaron did not meet it) is¬†stronger than¬†Aaron Hernandez’s (he did not meet the threshold because he was recovering from a football injury).¬†Think that the Patriots received an unreported credit of¬†$32,800 sometime during the 2013 season.

The 2014 offseason workout bonus money of $500,000. This was a slam dunk victory for the Patriots as there was no way Aaron could have attended the 2014 workouts. Patriots won this grievance and they received a $200,000 credit on their 2015 salary cap as part of the 2014 year-end adjustment. For more information on the credit please see this blog post from January.

The 2013 and 2014 guaranteed salaries - Even though¬†Hernandez’s contract was missing “failure to perform” or “failure to report” clauses when it came to these salaries,¬†Patriots won¬†the grievance over these guaranteed salaries. The $984,000 that was charged to the 2013 cap was credited back to the Patriots in January 2015 as part of the 2014 year-end adjustment. For more information on the credit please see this blog post from January.

The $7.5 million signing bonus proration that¬†hit the Patriots 2014 cap – I have seen some posts/tweets opining that the NFL should just simply give the Patriots a $7.5 million cap credit. I doubt that will happen. Why? Sean Taylor. Sean Taylor was a 1st round pick of the Washington Redskins who was murdered. A year after his murder he counted against the Redskins cap. If the Redskins did not get cap relief for a murdered player, cannot see the NFL giving cap relief for an alleged murderer. Given that the CBA provided the Patriots an avenue for recouping the signing bonus money (wait until start of the 2013 training camp when Aaron could not attend and he would have invoked this clause in the CBA – “Forfeitable Breach. Any player who (i) willfully fails to report, practice or play with the result that the player’s ability to fully participate and contribute to the team is substantially undermined (for example, without limitation, holding out or leaving the squad absent a showing of extreme personal hardship); or (ii) is unavailable to the team due to conduct by him that results in his incarceration; or (iii) is unavailable to the team due to a nonfootball injury that resulted from a material breach of Paragraph 3 of his NFL Player Contract; or (iv) voluntarily retires (collectively, any “Forfeitable Breach”) may be required to forfeit signing bonus, roster bonus, option bonus and/or reporting bonus, and no other Salary, for each League Year in which a Forfeitable Breach occurs (collectively, “Forfeitable Salary Allocations”), as set forth below”. As expected¬†in my first Aaron Hernardez blog ¬†the¬†Patriots chose not to pay Aaron the final installment of his $12.5 million bonus that was is due him on Monday, March 31st. Aaron Hernandez’s legal team¬†already filed a grievance¬†anticipating this¬†Patriots move. As we have seen with Jonathan Fanene and Michael Vick, it can take years for a team to obtain a cap credit for money recouped. Please note that the cap credit is for the actual cash recouped so if Aaron has spent most of his signing bonus money it is likely that the only credits that the Patriots may ever get is the $3.25 million signing bonus that they have¬†withheld.

If Aaron Hernandez is convicted¬†for crimes that occurred before July, 2012 (example – the July 16, 2012 murders¬†of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado)¬† the Patriots would then be able to go after the $12.5 million signing bonus because Aaron would have then violated the clause where he represented and warranted that there weren‚Äôt any existing circumstances when he signed his deal that would prevent his continuing availability throughout the contract and the clause that explicitly states that the Patriots wouldn’t have entered into the contract except for Hernandez’s representations. Once again, I have to note that any cap credit is for the actual cash recouped so if Aaron has spent most of his signing bonus money on lawyer fees or to settle civil cases against him¬†it is likely that the only credits that the Patriots may ever get is the $3.25 million signing bonus that they¬†withheld in March, 2014

Trying to anticipate questions that the blog post may cause:
Question: How much have the Patriots paid Aaron Hernandez? Answer: Aaron Hernandez has been paid in cash $11,260,000 from the Patriots.

  • $620,000 in 2010
  • $670,000 in 2011
  • $6,740,000 in 2012
  • $3,000,000 in 2013 (Hernandez received a $3 million installment of his signing bonus in March 2013).

Question: Will the Odin Lloyd conviction lead to salary cap relief for the New England Patriots? Answer: I think not. The murder occurred after he signed his extension. Therefore, the clause where Aaron Hernandez represented and warranted that there weren‚Äôt any existing circumstances when he signed his deal that would prevent his continuing availability throughout the contract and the clause that explicitly states that the Patriots wouldn’t have entered into the contract except for Hernandez’s representations are not applicable.

Question: How much cap space has Aaron Hernandez taken? Answer: Aaron Hernandez has taken up $13,292,000 in cap space.

  • $436,000 in 2010
  • $700,000 in 2011
  • $3,290,000 in 2012
  • $2,550,000 in 2013
  • $7,500,000 in 2014
  • $1,184,000 credit in 2015

Footnotes – Joel Corry’s reporting on Aaron Hernandez’s salary cap implications at the National Football Post

Super Bowl Champions Offseason Scorecard – Updated on 4/11/2015

Providing this look at the Patriots’ offseason activities:

Got this idea from reading Matt Maiocco’s 49ers scorecard. I like to thank Mrs. Yates’ son Field for tweeting about Matt’s scorecard.

I will be using this abbreviations in this blog post.
LTBE-Likely to Be Earned
NLTBE-Not Likely to Be Earned
UFA-Unrestricted free agent: Free to sign with any team
RFA-Restricted free agent: Patriots have right to match any offer sheet
ERFA-Exclusive rights free agent: Player has no outside negotiating power

SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 2015 OFFSEASON SCORECARD
Salary cap space
$6,148,315
(Figure updated as official signings and contracts are reported to the league: 75 players under contract; only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are currently counting against the cap.). On April 11, 2014 the New England Patriots had 64 players signed with $7,932,369 in cap space. On April 11, 2015 the Patriots have 75 players signed or tendered with $6,148,315
in cap space.
Source: http://www.patscap.com updated Friday, April 3, 9:50 a.m.

If you wish to learn more details about the player’s contract just follow the hyperlink to their salary cap page.

Additions
Antonio Johnson (DT) (Street Free Agent): 1 year/$755,000 including $10,000 offseason workout bonus. Deal qualifies for Minimum Salary Benefit lowering cap hit of salary from $745,000 to $585,000. Antonio Johnson’s 2015 cap number is $595,000
Rufus Johnson (LB) (Street Free Agent): 1 year/$435,000
Kevin Dorsey (WR) (Street Free Agent – Waived by Green Bay): 1 year/$510,000
Dion Lewis (RB) (Street Free Agent): 1 year/$585,000
Scott Chandler (TE) (Street Free Agent- released by Buffalo): 2 year/$5.3 million. $2 million signing bonus.
LB Jabaal Sheard (UFA; Cleveland): 2 years/$11 million, $4 million signing bonus
CB Bradley Fletcher (UFA; Philadelphia): 1 year/$2,131,250 (2.5 million maximum), $550,000 guaranteed
CB Robert McClain (UFA; Atlanta): 1 year/$1.24 million, $300,000 guaranteed
LB Jonathan Freeny (non-tendered RFA; Miami): 1 year/$850,000
RB Travaris Cadet (non-tendered RFA; New Orleans): 2 years/$1.7 million, $65,000 guaranteed
CB Chimdi Chewka (non-tendered RFA; Oakland): 1 year/$825,000 including $50,000 signing bonus and $30,000 offseason workout bonus. Deal qualifies for Minimum Salary Benefit lowering cap hit of salary from $745,000 to $585,000. Chewka’s 2015 cap number is $665,000
WR Brandon Gibson (Street Free Agent, released by Miami): 1 year/$825,000 including $40,000 signing bonus and $40,000 offseason workout bonus. Deal qualifies for Minimum Salary Benefit lowering cap hit of salary from $745,000 to $585,000. Gibson’s 2015 cap number is $665,000

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Re-signed/extensions/restructures
–WR Danny Amendola (restructure): Lowered 2015 salary from $4 million to $1.25 million while receiving $500,000 signing bonus. Replaces $500,000 receptions NLTBE incentive with $750,000 playing-time NLTBE incentive. Amendola played in 40% of the offensive snaps in 2014. The terms of the 2016 and 2017 contract years were not changed.

Amendola’s Old Deal
2015 2016 2017
Salary 4,000,000 5,000,000 6,000,000
2013 Signing Bonus Proration 1,200,000 1,200,000 1,200,000
Roster Bonus 500,000 500,000 500,000
Cap Number 5,700,000 6,700,000 7,700,000
Cash Received 4,500,000 5,500,000 6,500,000
Amendola’s New Deal
2015 2016 2017
Salary 1,250,000 5,000,000 6,000,000
2013 Signing Bonus Proration 1,200,000 1,200,000 1,200,000
2015 Signing Bonus Proration 166,666 166,666 166,668
Roster Bonus 500,000 500,000 500,000
Cap Number 3,116,666 6,866,666 7,866,668
Difference 2,583,334 -166,666 -166,668
Cash Received 2,250,000 5,500,000 6,500,000
Cash Difference -($2,250,000) 0 0

–DE Rob Ninkovich (restructure): Lowered 2015 salary from $2.1 million to $1.5 million while receiving $3,000,000 signing bonus. Eliminated 2015/2016 playing-time and Pro Bowl incentives. Increased 46-man active roster bonus from $250,000 to $400,000.

Ninkovich’s Old Deal
2015 2016
Salary 2,100,000 1,500,000
LTBE Playing-Time Incentive 250,000 1,650,000
2013 Signing Bonus Proration 1,250,000 1,250,000
Workout Bonus 100,000 100,000
Roster Bonus 250,000 300,000
Totals 3,950,000 4,800,000
Cash Received 2,700,000 3,550,000
Ninkovich’s New Deal
2015 2016
Salary 1,500,000 1,500,000
2013 Signing Bonus Proration 1,250,000 1,250,000
2015 Signing Bonus Proration 1,500,000 1,500,000
Roster Bonus 400,000 400,000
Workout Bonus 100,000 100,000
LTBE Playing-Time Incentive
Cap Number 4,750,000 4,750,000
Difference 800,000 -50,000
Cash Received 5,000,000 2,000,000
Cash Difference 2,300,000 -1,550,000

–WR Brian Tyms (ERFA; re-signed): 1 year/$600,000 including $15,000 offseason workout bonus
–DT Sealver Siliga (ERFA; re-signed): 1 year/$660,000
–TE/FB James Develin (ERFA; re-signed): 1 year/$660,000
LB Chris White (UFA; re-signed): 1 year/$795,000 including $50,000 signing bonus. Deal qualifies for Minimum Salary Benefit lowering cap hit of salary from $745,000 to $585,000. Chris White’s 2015 cap number is $635,000
–S Devin McCourty (UFA; re-signed): 5 years/$47.5 million. $22 million fully guaranteed. $15 million signing bonus.
–K Stephen Gostkowski (UFA; franchise tag): 1 year/$4.59 million. $4.44 million salary.$100,000 offseason workout bonus. $50,000 Pro Bowl bonus
DT Alan Branch (UFA; resigning): 2 years/$6.6 million maximum value, $700,000 signing bonus
LB James Morris (ERFA – resigned): 1 yr/$435,000
Dax Swanson (CB) (2014 Practice Squad member – signed): 1 yr, $435,000
Jake Bequette (DE) (2014 Practice Squad member – signed): 1 yr, $585,000
Chris Barker (OG) (2014 Practice Squad member – signed): 1 yr, $510,000
Caylin Hauptmann (OT) (2014 Practice Squad member – signed): 1 yr, $510,000
Eric Martin (LB) (2014 Practice Squad member – signed): 1 yr, $585,000
Jonathan Krause (WR) (2014 Practice Squad member – signed): 1 yr, $445,000, $10,000 signing bonus
Deontae Skinner (LB) (2014 Practice Squad member – signed): 1 yr, $510,000
Justin Green (CB) (2014 Practice Squad member – signed): 1 yr, $435,000
Garrett Gilbert (QB) (2014 Practice Squad member – signed): 1 yr, $445,000, $10,000 offseason workout bonus

Subtractions
–LB Akeem Ayers (UFA: St. Louis Rams): 2 years/$6 million, $2.75 million guaranteed)
–CB Brandon Browner (UFA; New Orleans): 3 years/$15 million contract
–RB Shane Vereen (UFA; New York Giants): 3 years/$12.35 million, $4.75 million guaranteed
–LB Jonathan Casillas (UFA;New York Giants): 3 years/$8 million, $2.975 million guaranteed
–DT Vince Wilfork (UFA; Houston): 2 years/$10 million, $5 million guaranteed
–CB Darrelle Revis (UFA; New York Jets: 5 years/$70 million, $39 million guaranteed
–RB Stevan Ridley

Unsigned free agents
–LS Danny Aiken
–G Dan Connolly
–WR Greg Orton (non-tendered as ERFA)

The below table attempts to show that the total cash outlay made to free agents or through re-signings. It also shows the amount of guarantees received by the player.

Name 2015Cash 2015Cap Full Guarantee Total Guarantee
McCourty, Devin $18,000,000 $6,000,000 $22,000,000 $28,500,000
Sheard, Jabaal $6,000,000 $4,000,000 $5,500,000 $6,000,000
Gostkowski, Stephen $4,590,000 $4,590,000 $4,400,000 $4,400,000
Chandler, Scott $3,250,000 $2,250,000 $2,000,000 $2,000,000
Branch, Alan $2,100,000 $2,150,000 $700,000 $700,000
Fletcher, Bradley $2,131,250 $1,481,250 $550,000 $550,000
McClain, Robert $1,090,000 $1,090,000 $300,000 $300,000
Freeny, Jonathan $1,000,000 $1,000,000 - -
Gibson, Brandon $825,000 $665,000 $40,000 $40,000
White, Chris $795,000 $635,000 $50,000 $50,000
Cadet, Travaris $775,000 $742,500 $62,500 $62,500
Chekwa, Chimdi $775,000 $665,000 $50,000 $50,000
Johnson, Antonio $755,000 $595,000 - -
Develin, James $660,000 $660,000 - -
Siliga, Sealver $660,000 $660,000 - -
Tyms, Brian $600,000 $600,000 - -
Martin, Eric $595,000 $595,000 - -
Bequette, Jake $585,000 - - -
Lewis, Dion $585,000 - - -
Vellano, Joe $585,000 - - -
Barker, Chris $510,000 - - -
Dorsey, Kevin $510,000 - - -
Hauptmann, Caylin $510,000 - - -
Skinner, Deontae $510,000 - - -
Gilbert, Garrett $445,000 - - -
Green, Justin $435,000 - - -
Johnson, Rufus $435,000 - - -
Krause, Jonathan $435,000 - $10,000 $10,000
Morris, James $435,000 - - -
Ott, Tyler $435,000 - - -
Swanson, Daxton $435,000 - - -
Totals $50,366,250 $28,378,750 $35,662,500 $42,662,500

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Patriots 2015 DRAFT PICKS
1. First round: Own pick, No. 32 overall
2. Second round: Own pick, No. 32 in round, 64th overall
3. Third round: Own pick, No. 32 in round, 96th overall
4. Third round: Compensatory pick for loss of Aqib Talib, No. 33 in round, 97th overall
5. Fourth round: Buccaneers – acquired as part of the Logan Mankins trade, 2nd in round,101st overall
6. Fourth round:Own pick. 32nd in round, 131st overall
Patriots’ fifth round assigned selection – Traded to the Buccaneers as part of the Jonathan Casillas trade
7. Sixth round: Buccaneers – acquired as part of the Jonathan Casillas trade, 2nd in round, 178th overall
Patriots’ sixth round assigned selection – Traded to the Titans as part of the Akeem Ayers trade
8. Seventh round: Titans – acquired as part of the Akeem Ayers trade, 2nd in round, 219th overall
Patriots’ seven round assigned selection – Traded to the Eagles as part of the Greg Salas trade
9. Seventh round: Compensatory pick for loss of Dane Fletcher, No. 36 in round, 253rd overall

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

OvertheCap.Com’s Nick Korte projects that the Patriots will receive a 3rd round compensatory pick in 2016 as well as 3 6th round compensatory picks. The Patriots received the Houston Texans’ 7th round pick as part of the Ryan Mallett trade.

You can see a timeline of upcoming events in my Patriots calendar salary cap post.

You can follow me on Twitter at @patscap.

A call for a donation

A long-time family friend, my youngest sister’s best friend, is on the board of directors of a soup kitchen and food pantry in Malden, Massachusetts that serves over 400 low-income and homeless families per month. I am asking that if you have found my salary cap pages/blogs useful that if you are able to do so, please make a donation to the Bread of Life soup kitchen/food pantry. Their address is:
Attn: Mea Quinn Mustone
Bread of Life
54 Eastern Avenue, Rear
Malden, MA 02148
Please mention this website with your donation. Thanks so much!!!

Like most of Patriots nation I was surprised when I heard that Darrelle Revis signed with the New York Jets within the first few hours of free agency on March 10th. None of us are privy to the negotiations that occurred between Darrelle Revis and the Patriots. The purpose of this blog post is to provide some background and to hopefully provide an educated guess at what happened.

Background information:

Darrelle Revis will be 30 years old when the 2015 season starts. Revis has been selected to six Pro Bowl (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2014) and has earned four first-team All Pro honors (2009, 2010, 2011 and 2014). Revis was named AFC Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 after finishing the year with 72 total tackles and six interceptions.

When Darrelle Revis signed with the Patriots on March 12, it was widely reported to be an one-year $12 million deal. On March 13 ESPNBoston.Com’s Mike Reiss reported that “An important wrinkle has been learned about the contract Darrelle Revis has agreed to with the Patriots. It has widely been reported as a one-year, $12 million deal, which is accurate. Revis will earn $12 million this season. But for salary-cap accounting purposes, and to protect Revis from being assigned the franchise tag in 2015, the sides have added a second year to the pact in 2015 that would pay Revis $20 million and count $25 million against the salary cap. The $20 million is an astronomical figure, as is the $25 million cap charge. That makes it unlikely the Patriots would pay it, thus making Revis an unrestricted free agent in 2015 or one of the highest-paid players in football. The second year helps the Patriots spread out the salary-cap charges for Revis over two seasons instead of taking one $12 million salary-cap hit in 2014. Revis’ cap charge for 2014 is now $7 million.”

Joel Corry tweeted that “the installments of Revis’ $12 million roster bonus if option picked up are $3M on 3/31, $3M on 10/31, $3M on 12/31 & $3M on 3/31/16.” Once the first payment is made the Patriots can not convert the $12 million roster bonus into a signing bonus. In effect, Patriots had two Revis-related deadlines (4PM March 9th to pick up option, 4PM March 31st to convert roster bonus into signing bonus)

No matter what (Revis signed extension with Patriots, option not picked up, Revis traded by Patriots to another, Revis played the 2015 season for Patiots with $25 million cap number), the $5 million proration of Revis’ 2014 $10 million signing bonus would have been on the Patriots 2015 cap. Teams cannot further prorate existing signing bonus proration. The 2015 signing bonus proration is a sunk cost of winning the Super Bowl. It was money well spent.

Hopefully, that’s enough background. Let’s look at some financial comparables. Richard Sherman is almost 3 years younger than Revis. Sherman‚Äôs contract contains $40 million in guarantees. His 2014 salary is fully guaranteed. His 2015 salary will become fully guaranteed five days after the Super Bowl. All of his 2016 salary and 5 million of his 2017 salary will become fully guaranteed five days after the 2016 Super Bowl. Richard Sherman has been selected to the AP All-Pro team for 3 straight years and to the Pro Bowl two straight years.

Richard Sherman – $11m signing bonus
Year Base Salary Prorated Bonus Cap Number Dead Money Cap Savings Cash Received Total Cash Received
2014 $1.431m $2,245,606 $3,676,606 $3,245,606 in 2014;$8,800,000 in 2015 0 $12,431,000 $12,431,000
2015 $10m $2.2m $12.2m $8.8m $3.4m $10m $22.431m
2016 $12.569m $2.2m $14.469m $6.6m $8.169m $12.569m $35m
2017 $11.431m $2.2m $13.631m $4.4m $9.231m $11.431m $46.431m
2018 $11m $2.2m $13m $2.2m $10.8m $11m $57.431m

Joe Haden is almost 4 years younger than Revis. Haden received over $45 million in guarantees, the most ever received by a cornerback. His 2014, 2015, and 2016 salaries are guaranteed. 4 million of his 2017 salary is guaranteed. Haden has a $100,000 incentive for making it to the Pro Bowl.

Joe Haden – $16m signing bonus
Year Salary Signing Bonus Pro Bowl Workout Cap No Dead Money Cap Savings Cash Total Cash
2014 $6,678,193 $5,149,702 $100,000 $200,000 $12,127,895 $45,078,193 ($32,950,298) $22,978,193 $22,978,193
2015 $8.3m $3.2m $100,000 $100,000 $11.7m $35.2m ($23.5m) $8.5m $31,478,193
2016 $10.1m $3.2m $100,000 $100,000 $13.5m $23.7m $(10.2m) $10.3m $41,778,193
2017 $11.1m $3.2m $100,000 $100,000 $14.5m $10.4m $4.1m $11.3m $53,078,193
2018 $11.1m $3.2m $100,000 $100,000 $14.5m $6.4m $8.1m $11.3m $64,378,193
2019 $10.4m $0 $100,000 $100,000 $10.6m $0 $10.6m $10.6m $74,978,193

Patrick Peterson is almost 5 years younger than Revis. Peterson, like Richard Sherman, was named to the first All-Pro team in 2013. Peterson’s 2014 salary is fully guaranteed. His 2015 and 2016 salary are guaranteed for injury now and will become fully guaranteed the 5th day of that year’s waiver period.

Patrick Peterson – $15,361,866 signing bonus
Year Base Salary Prorated Bonus Reporting Workout Cap Number Dead Money Cap Savings Cash Total Cash
2014 $889,114 $6,048,195 $0 $0 $6,937,309 $6,937,309 in 2014, $12,289,509 in 2015 $0 $16.25m $16.25m
2015 $11.619m $3,072,377 $0 $250,000 $14,941,377 $23,908,509 ($8,967,132) $11.869m $28.12m
2016 $9.75m $3,072,377 $0 $250,000 $13,072,377 $18,967,132 ($5,894,754) $10m $38.12m
2017 $9.75m $3,072,377 $0 $250,000 $13,072,377 $15,894,754 ($2,822,377) $10m $48.12m
2018 $11m $3,072,377 $0 $250,000 $14,322,377 $3,072,377 $11.25m $11.25m $59.37m
2019 $11m $0 $0 $250,000 $11.25m $0 $11.25m $11.25m $70.62m
2020 $12.05m $0 $250,000 $250,000 $12.55m $0 $12.55m $12.55m $83.17m

Summing up the above 3 deals in terms of fully guaranteed money received upon signing deal
Joe Haden-$22,078,193
Patrick Peterson-$16.25M
Richard Sherman-$14.231M

Summing up the above 3 deals in terms of cash received during the first 3 years
Joe Haden-$41,478,193
Patrick Peterson-$37,969,114
Richard Sherman-$35M

It seemed reasonable to venture that a Revis extension in the $13 to $15 million per year average range would have been fair for both sides and would recognize that Revis, while he may be better than Sherman, Haden, and Peterson, is also older than the aforementioned trio.

In my blog post that looked at Revis’s comparables and proposed several deals for him my preferred deal averaged 14.1 million per year in new money over the four extended years. That 14.1M APY would have given Revis highest APY for a cornerback and more cash in Years 1, 2 and 3 than any other cornerback in NFL history. The 2015 salary would be fully guaranteed. His 2016 salary would have been guaranteed for injury now and became fully guaranteed the 5th day after the 2016 Super Bowl. $4.5 million of his 2017 salary would have become fully guaranteed if Revis is on the 53-man roster on the last day of the 2016 regular season.

Darrelle Revis – 14.1M APY $22M signing bonus (My Preferred Deal)
Year Salary Prorated Bonus Roster Cap No Dead Money Cap Savings Cash Total Cash
2014 $1.5m $5m $500,000 $7m $12m $12m
2015 $4m $10.5m $500,000 $15m $26m ($11m) $26.5m $38.5m
2016 $9.5m $5.5m $500,000 $15.5m $26m ($10.5m) $10m $48.5m
2017 $9.5m $5.5m $500,000 $15.5m $15.5m $0 $10m $58.5m
2018 $9.5m $5.5m $500,000 $15.5m $5.5m $10m $10m $68.5m

This next deal is what has been reported about Revis’¬†deal with the Jets.

Darrelle Revis’s deal with the¬†Jets
Year Salary Prorated Bonus Roster Cap No Dead Money Cap Savings Cash Total Cash
2015 $16m $0 $0 $16m $39m ($23m) $16m $16m
2016 $17m $0 $0 $17 $23m ($6m) $17m $33m
2017 $13m $0 $2m $15m $6 $9m $15m $48m
2018 $11m $0 $0 $11m $0 $11m $11m $59m
2019 $11m $0 $0 $11m $0 $11m $11m $70m

Comparing my preferred deal to what Revis got

Component Preferred Deal Jets
Fully Guaranteed Money 26m 39m
Total Guarantees 40m 39m
Signing Bonus 22m 0m
Term 4 years 5 years
2015 cap number 15m 16m
APY 14.1m 14m
Cash 46.5m 48m

As you can see from above my preferred deal was close to what Revis got except in the structure. The Jets used a pay as you go feature where what Revis received in cash equals his cap number. The Jets were able to use the two advantages that they had over the Patriots in their construction of the deal. The Jets adjusted cap number is $156,149,394 while the Patriots is $144,578,084. Literally, the Jets could use $11,571,310 more cap space on Revis and build the rest of the 53-man roster than could the Patriots. $16 million takes up smaller percentage of $156 million than it does $144.5 million. Second advantage that the Jets had is that they have more cap space.

The question I am struggling is why would Revis prefer a pay as you go structure from the Jets over a signing bonus structure from the Patriots. With a signing bonus he gets most of the money up-front. Please note that the Patriots often pay their large signing bonus in installments. In a pay as you go structure Revis has to wait until September to first receive any money. That is, unless the Jets agreed to deviate from the usual payment plan of 17 paychecks during the regular season. Six months of interest on $20 million is pretty significant.

I am also puzzled why Revis would prefer the pay as you go structure of the Jets over a signing bonus from the Patriots. The Jets can get out of the deal and save cap space by releasing Revis before the start of the 2017 League Year. The Patriots can get out of  my preferred Revis deal and save cap space on June 2, 2017. By that time a replacement will not be available in free agency.

The Patriots could have done what they did with McCourty (fully guaranteed the 2015 and 2016 salaries and have the 2017 season eventually become fully guaranteed). This would have bumped his fully guaranteed money at time of signing to $35.5 million.

Should the Patriots have matched the Jets structure? No, it would have meant a $21 million cap number for Revis  ($16 million salary and $5 million signing bonus proration) in 2015. I currently have the Patriots under the cap by $13,611,603. Matching the Jets offer would have caused the Patriots to quickly create $2.4 million in cap space. As I show in this blog, the Patriots could have done so but it is not wise to make business decisions under pressure.

 

Trying to anticipate questions that the blog post may cause:
1.) Question: Has any team won¬†a Super Bowl with a player taking up a percentage as large as Revis’ if he played with a $21 million cap number? Answer: No.
2.) Question: If Revis played at a $21 million cap number in 2015 how much it would have cost to tag him in 2016? Answer: 120% of $21 million, or $25,200,000.
3.) Question: Are you surprised at what happened? Answer: Extremely so. I always thought that as long as Revis was willing to be paid in the neighborhood of the top cornerbacks ($12 to $14M APY) rather than the top defenders ($16M to $19M APY) a deal would get done.
4.) Question: Does the Revis  departure prove that the Patriots are cheap? Answer: Only if you believe that looking at a small sample of data is fair. Haters are going to hate. They were silent in 2012 when the Patriots was among the leaders in cash spending.
5.)¬†Question: Will Revis count as a compensatory pick.Answer:Yes. ¬†In Feb 2008 Pats declined option on Donte Stallworth. He signed FA deal with the Cleveland Browns on 3/1/2008. Pats got 2009 5th round compensatory pick that turned out to be George Bussey. So there is that precedent. Also, Darrelle Revis’ name is listed among the 2015 UFAs in the NFL’s free agency press release. Compensatory picks are meant to¬†help compensate a team for¬†its lost¬†free agents.
6.) Question: If the Patriots had reached an extension with Darrelle, could they have prorated the existing $5 million signing bonus proration.Answer:No
7.) Question: Why do you think that the Patriots and Revis could not reach a deal? Answer: He wanted to return to New York and only by receiving a much better offer that would not happen. It seems strange to me that in a passing league very few teams entered into his bidding. 4:45PM update Am now hearing that Revis was asking for $16M from the Patriots. He signed with the Jets for $14M APY.
8.) Question: Your report of $13.6 million in cap space even after Revis departure seems low. Please explain. Answer: Saved the best question for last. Hopefully, I am up to the task:)

  1. The big leaps: Four contracts had huge salary-cap increases in 2015 —¬†left tackle Nate Solder, right tackle Sebastian Vollmer and tight end Rob Gronkowski.¬†Solder’s cap cost went $2,717,429 to $7,438,000. Vollmer’s cap cost went from $3,750,000 in 2014 to $7,020,833. Gronk’s cap cost went from $5,400,000 in 2014 to $8,650,000 in 2015.
  2. Smaller bounces: The other cap jumps in 2015 were more modest. Vince Wilfork, Danny Amendola, Kyle Arrington, Rob Ninkovich,¬† and Julian Edelman¬†are all scheduled for increases between $1 million and $3 million. Dennard’s cap number increased by $972,000. Chung’s increased by $945,000. Cannon’s increased by over $800,000. Blount’s increased by over $600,000. No one else on the roster is scheduled to go up by more than $500,000
  3. Reached incentives in 2014 – A major reason for the first two reasons is that some players reached NLTBE (Not Likely To Be Earned) incentives in 2015 making them LTBE for 2015. Examples, Lafell’s receptions incentive now counts $300,000 against the 2015 cap. Edelman’s receptions incentives now counts $500,000. Wilfork’s playing-time incentive now counts $500,000. Vollmer’s playing-time incentive now counts $750,000. Wendell’s playing-time incentive now counts $850,000. In total, there are $3.5 million in LTBE incentives counting against the 2015 cap. There were $1.25 million in 2014.
  4. Reached incentives in 2014 (Part 2) – Patriots like to include 46-man active roster bonuses in their contracts. The amount that counts against the cap is dependent on the games that the Patriot played in the prior season. Amendola, Wilfork, Chung, and Hoomanawanui all played in more games in 2014 than they did in 2013. Their 46-man active roster bonuses are now counting against the cap for all 16 games.
  5. Players not signed past the 2015 season with large cap numbers –¬†Nate Solder and Stephen Gostkowski.

As of March 12, 2015¬†I have Pats under their adjusted cap number of $144,578,084 by $9,901,603. This purpose of this blog post is to illustrate some options that the New England Patriots have to further increase the $9.55 million cap space number. Please note that I will not be mentioning Brandon Browner, Darrelle Revis and Vince Wilfork here since their 2015 options were not be picked up. In the first edition of this blog I did predict that Wilfork’s option would be declined and that Revis would be extended. Keep that in mind that I am batting .500 while reading this:)

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 Amendola was released, his cap number would be lowered by $2,100,000, although the actual team savings would be only $1,590,000 because another player’s $510,000 base salary would be added to the team cap.

These numbers are in millions
Player Salary Bonuses Cap Number Dead Money Cap Savings after Top 51 effect
Tom Brady $8 $6 $14 $18 (-$4.51)
Jerod Mayo $6.25 $4 $10.2875 $6 $3.7775
Rob Gronkowski $4.75 $3.9 $8.65 $8.3 ($.016)
Sebastian Vollmer $2.25 $5.8 $8.02 $4.2 $3.34
Nate Solder $7.438 $0 $7.438 $0 $6.928
Danny Amendola $4 $1.7 $5.7 $3.6 $1.59
Kyle Arrington $3 $1.625 $4.625 $3.5 $.865
Julian Edelman $2.25 $1.9 $4.656 $5.75 (-$1.60375)
Rob Ninkovich $2.1 $1.85 $3.95 $2.5 $.94
Brandon Lafell $1.8 $1.7 $3.5 $2 $.99
Marcus Cannon $1.2 $1.4 $2.6 $2.1 $0
Matthew Slater $1 $.666 $1.666 $2.3 (-$1.08)
Ryan Wendell $1 $.6 $2.45 $.425 $1.515
Michael Hoomanawanui $.8 $.78 $1.58 $.18 $.89
Alfonzo Dennard $1.5724 $0.014462 $1.5724 $0.014462 $1.064
Tavon Wilson $.8 $.78 $1.58 $.18 $.89
LaGarrette Blount $.75 $.25 $1 $0 $.49

Some notes on the above numbers

  • Jerod Mayo’s dead money increases to $10.5 million if release is injury-related. $4.5 million of Mayo’s 2015 salary is guaranteed for injury.
  • Rob Gronkowski’s dead money increases to $10,300,000 the beginning of the 2015 League Year because the Patriots would have to count the 2015 proration of his 2016 $10 million option bonus as dead money if they released Gronk after the start of the 2015 League Year.
  • Nate Solder’s dead money increases to $7,438,000 the beginning of the 2015 League Year because his $7.438 million becomes fully guaranteed then
  • Matthew Slater’s dead money drops to $1,333,334 if traded because his $1 million salary is fully guaranteed
  • Julian Edelman’s dead money drops to $3,750,000 if traded because $2 million of his 2015 salary is fully guaranteed and his new team would be responsible for it.
  • Rob Ninkovich’s dead money increases to $3,500,000 the 5th day of the 2015 League Year because $1 million of his salary becomes fully guaranteed that day
  • Michael Hoomananawui’s dead money increases to $480,000 the 5th day of the 2015 League Year because he is due a $300,000 roster bonus then
  • LaGarrette Blount’s dead money increases to $100,000 the 5th day of the 2015 League Year because he is due a $100,000 roster bonus then
  • Ryan Wendell’s 2015 cap number may be increased if any part of his $1.25 million in playing-time incentives are classified as LTBE for the 2015 season.
  • Brandon Lafell’s 2015 cap number may be increased if any more part of his 2015 incentives are classified as LTBE for the 2015 season.

In the early years of the Bill Belichick era the Patriots would sometimes create cap space by converting a good portion of the player’s salary into a signing bonus. The below table shows the 2015 cap savings if the Patriots lowered the player’s salary to $1 million. The savings amount would also increase the future signing bonus prorations for the player. Example. Danny Amendola’s 2015 cap number would decrease from $5.7 million to $3.7 million but his 2016/2017 cap numbers would increase by $1 million each. The increased signing bonus prorations is probably why the Patriots have moved away from this practice recently.

Name Convert Salary Savings
Brady, Tom $4,666,667
Gronkowski, Rob $3,000,000
Vollmer, Sebastian $625,000
Amendola, Danny $2,000,000
Edelman, Julian $833,333
Arrington, Kyle $1,000,000
Ninkovich, Rob $550,000
Lafell, Brandon $400,000
Cannon, Marcus $100,000

Here are some other 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 for that particular player. Am NOT predicting that the Patriots will do all of the bolded moves, just that if they do a move with a player, that it will be the bolded one. There is no need for the Patriots to do all of the bolded moves. The players are listed in descending 2015 cap number. Please note that following some option will result in increasing the player’s cap numbers for future seasons.

  1. Redo Jerod Mayo’s deal similar to the 2014 Vince Wilfork restructure for a cap savings of $4,016,667
    Reaching a Wilfork-type deal with Jerod Mayo
  2. Release a healthy Jerod Mayo for a net cap savings of $3,777,500.
  3. Release an injured Jerod Mayo for a net cap loss of (-$722,500). I outline other cap scenarios for the Patriots and Jerod Mayo in this blog post
  4. Extend Sebastian Vollmer through the 2017 season for a net cap savings from 2 to 3 million.
  5. Extend Nate Solder for a net cap savings of $4.389 million. I would use the deal struck between the Arizona Cardinals and Jared Veldheer in March of 2014 as a template. 5 year, $35 million deal. $6.25 million signing bonus. $500,000 each year in 46-man active roster bonuses.
    • 2015 – $6.25m signing bonus, $1.25m fully guaranteed salary, $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses. 3 million cap number
    • 2016 – $5.5 million salary. $3 million guaranteed for injury at start of deal, becomes fully guaranteed at the start of 2016 season. $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses. $7.25 million cap number
    • 2017/2018/2019 – $6.5 million salary. $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses. $8.25 million cap number.

    As rich as this deal sounds, this would put Solder among the lowest paid left tackles who are NOT on a rookie contract.

  6. Release Nate Solder for a net cap savings of $6.928 million.
  7. Lower Danny Amendola’s salary from $4 million to $1.9 million while giving him the chance to earn back the money by reaching incentives – net cap savings of $2,100,000 which is $510,000 more than what would be achieved by releasing him. Amendola’s 2015 cap number would then be $3.6 million. Releasing Amendola before June 2nd would cause a dead money hit of $3.6 million. For the same amount of cap space as releasing him the Patriots would have on their roster a capable backup for Edelman. I outline other cap scenarios for the Patriots and Danny Amendola in this blog post.
  8. Release Danny Amendola for a net cap savings of $1,590,000
  9. Lower Danny Amendola’s salary from $4 million to $745,000, the lowest minimum salary for a player with Danny Amendola’s experience for a cap savings of $3,255,000. I just doubt that Amendola would agree to such a paycut.
  10. Release Ryan Wendell for a net cap savings of $1,505,000.
  11. Release Kyle Arrington for a net cap savings of $865,000
  12. Release Michael Hoomanawanui for a net cap savings of $890,000
  13. Trade or Waive Alfonzo Dennard – net cap savings of about $1 million. Because Alfonzo earned a Proven Performance Escalator, his 2015 salary will increase to the lowest RFA tender which is $1.542 million. Since it seems that both Logan Ryan and Malcolm Butler have passed Dennard on their depth chart, there are better uses for Dennard’s $1.542 million salary especially when Dennard has a minuscule dead money hit of $14,462.
  14. Release Tavon Wilson for a net cap savings of $455,166
  15. Release LaGarrett Blount for a net cap savings of $490,000
  16. Sign Stephen Gostkowski to a 5-year deal, $19 million deal. $5 million signing bonus for a net cap savings of $1 million. Would no longer have a $50,000 Pro Bowl bonus in his deal. Instead will increase his offseason workout bonus money from $100,000 to $150,000. This deal would make Stephen the highest paid kicker with a APY of $3.8 million.
    2015
    Base salary: $1.85 million (fully guaranteed)
    Offseason workout: $150,000
    Cap figure: $3,000,000
    2016
    Base salary: $1.85 million (fully guaranteed)
    Offseason workout: $150,000
    Cap figure: $3 million
    2017
    Base salary: $1.85 million (will become fully guaranteed)
    Offseason workout: $150,000
    Cap figure: $3 million
    2018
    Base salary: $3.35 million
    Offseason workout: $150,000
    Cap figure: $4.5 million
    2019
    Base salary: $4.35 million
    Offseason workout: $150,000
    Cap figure: $5.5 million

As you can see from above, the Pats could create up to $15 million in cap space if they chose to do all of my bolded predictions. The $15 million is in addition to the $9.9 million they already have.

Here are the moves that I think that will happen

  1. Restructure Mayo
  2. Lower Danny Amendola’s salary
  3. Extend Nate Solder
  4. Release Michael Hoomanawanui

The Patriots may wait to do some of the other bolded moves for when they need to create cap space.

Explaining the 89% cash spending floor’s impact on Super Bowl Champs Patriots

On February 17 USAToday.Com’s Tom Pelissero reported that “According to numbers compiled last week by the NFL Players Association, nearly one-third of the league’s clubs are below the minimum cash spending floor for the four-year window from 2013 to ’16”. Pelissero’s report named the Super Bowl Champions New England Patriots as one of those teams. On the 18th of February Boston.Com based a story on the USAToday’s report. That story has a very misleading headline - “Patriots Have Far More Salary Cap Room Than You Think”. The Boston.Com story understandably has caused confusion among Patriots fans since the Patriots were at the time of story were over the 2015 projected cap and as of March 3rd over $12 million over their adjusted cap number. In late February the¬†NFLPA¬†emailed the media a detailed report that showed that the New England Patriots spent 82.68 percent of the cap in cash over the last two years.

Year Cash  League Cap Percentage
2013 $99,394,571 $123,000,000 80.81%
2014 $112,263,177 $133,000,000 84.41%
Totals $211,657,748 $256,000,000 82.68%

The NFLPA report in late February led to several stories that contained misinformation. I am hoping that this second rendition does a better job of clarifying the facts than did the first version of this blog.

Background – In the new CBA (Article 12, Section 9) there is a Minimum Cash Requirement – “For each of the following four-League Year periods, 2013‚Äď2016 and 2017‚Äď2020, there shall be a guaranteed Minimum Team Cash Spending of 89% of the Salary Caps for such periods (e.g., if the Salary Caps for the 2013‚Äď16 and 2017‚Äď2020 are $100, 120, 130, and 150 million, respectively, each Club shall have a Minimum Team Cash Spending for that period of $445 million (89% of $500 million)). Cash Spending is defined as:

  1. Salary
  2. Signing bonuses (in one story it was contended that signing bonus installments count against the year that they are paid in).¬† The CBA states “Cash Spending in a League Year shall consist of the sum of…”signing bonus amounts earned or paid or committed to be paid to players (including amounts treated as signing bonus) without regard to proration”. Because of this Brady’s $30 million signing bonus counts as 2012 cash even though it was paid in 4 installments. The first installment was paid to Tom Brady during the 2012 League Year. Brady’s $30 million signing bonus for the purposes of cap was prorated over 5 years (2013/2014/2015/2016/2017) but for cash purposes counts against the 2012 League Year.
  3. Incentives
  4. Roster bonuses
  5. Reporting bonuses
  6. Offseason workout bonuses
  7. Weight bonuses
  8. Grievances settled and grievance awards
  9. Injury settlements
  10. Paragraph 5 Salary advances

Per the CBA – “Any shortfall in the League-Wide Cash Spending at the end of a period in which it applies (e.g., at the end of the 2011, 2012, 2016 or 2020 League Years) shall be paid on or before the first September 15 after the end of such League Year directly to the players who were on a Club roster at any time during the season(s), pursuant to reasonable allocation instructions of the NFLPA.

The League Cap was $123 million and $133 million in 2013 and in 2014 ¬†respectively. On March 2nd the 2015 League Cap was announced to be $143,280,000. Let’s say that the 2016 League is $153,720 million. As you can see in the below table the total for the 4 years (2013-2016) would then be $552,000,000. 89% of the $552,000,000 total is $491,280,000. The Patriots have already spent $$211,657,748. In order to reach the $491,280,000 total the Patriots would have to spend in cash $279,622,252 ($491,280,000 minus $211,657,748) before the end of the 2016 League Year which will take place sometime in early March of 2016. That $279.6 million figure would be close to $68 million more than the Pats spent in cash in 2013/2014. The $279,622,252 cash spending is 94.47% of the 2015 cap ($143.28 million) and the projected 2016 cap of ($153.72 million).

Year Cap 89%
2013 $123,000,000 $109,470,000
2014 $133,000,000 $118,370,000
2015 $143,280,000 $127,519,200
2016 $153,720,000 $136,810,800
Totals $553,000,000 $492,170,000

As noted above the 2015 League Cap is $143.28 million. The 2015 Patriots adjusted cap number is $144,578,554 (League Cap of $143.28 million plus prior year carryover of $5,258,054 plus $1.184 million Aaron Hernandez salary grievance credit minus LTBE/NLBE adjustment of (-$5,143,970). After projecting that the Patriots will tender their 5 ERFAs (James Develin, Sealver Siliga, Brian Tyms, James Morris, and Greg Orton) I have the Patriots total cap commitments as $156,579,147.

$156,579,147 minus $144,578,554 equals $12,000,063 overage. You can see my numbers at http://www.patscap.com. How do I reconcile my $12 million overage with “Patriots Have Far More Salary Cap Room Than You Think”? The article does not support the headline. The article seems to equate the fact that the Patriots can spend a great deal of cash in 2015/2016 as having more salary cap room. Let’s say that the Patriots had reached the 89% cash spending limit for the 2013/2014 years. There is nothing in the CBA that would prevent them from spending more than 100% of the cap in 2015/2016.

The article claims “But the money is there” but does not say where the money is coming from or how the money being there equates to having more salary cap room. The article also claims that the New England’s current 2015 cap hit of $155.4 million leaves it with plenty of room for 2016 but does not explain how. The article total of $155.4 million is not taking into account the Top 51 rule which only includes the salaries of the players with the 51st highest cap numbers.

The author opines “the underlying fact here is that there is money on the table for Revis, McCourty, Wilfork, Gostkowski and who[m]ever else the Patriots choose to keep.” That is his opinion that he fails to make a strong case with. For example, Malcolm Butler was paid $420,000, not $460,000 last year. See Page 146 of the CBA for a listing of a player’s minimum salaries. He claims that “in a perfect Belichickian world, every player would make a Super Bowl-winning play while earning the league minimum” while ignoring that the Patriots history of paying top players top money for their position (Milloy, Mankins, Adam, Gostkowski, Brady, Mayo, Paxton, Koppen, Moss, Adalius Thomas, etc.). His claim that “the [Patriots] don’t want to spend the money” is simply not supported by the facts. As you can see in this article by ESPNBoston.Com’s Mike Reiss the Patriots spent more than 100% of the cap in cash for 2 straight years (2011,2012)

Year Cap Patriots Cash Spending
2011 $120,000,000 $130,000,000
2012 $120,600,000 $168,000,000
Totals $240,600,000 $298,000,000

According to the author – “The Patriots can afford to keep Wilfork and his current deal in force, paying him $8.9 million next season. The question is: Do they want to pay him that much?. I simply do not accept his premise. First of all, Wilfork is not due $8.9 million in cash. He is due $8.5 million in cash as long as he reaches all of his incentives. His cap number is $8.9 million. The question is not whether the Patriots want to pay Wilfork $8.5 million in cash. The question is whether Wilfork is worth a $8.9 million cap hit in 2015.

The Patriots will indeed have to spend a great deal of cash the next two years to meet the 89% cash spending floor but I see no reason to completely change the Patriots way. The Patriots can reach the 89% cash spending floor by spending the money on their core players while front-loading cash payments into the 2015/2016 years. Here’s one example. Instead of having Revis play the 2015 season at his $25 million cap hit while paying him $20 million in cash, reach a long term deal with him paying him $26.5 million in cash while lowering his cap number from $25 million to $15 million.

Some stories about the 89% cash spending floor contend that since the Patriots have to spend more than 89% the rest of the way that it gives the Patriots an advantage over those who have spent over 89%. There are several holes in this theory:

  1. The 2014 League Year has not ended. Any deals made with players before 4PM, March 9th will count against 2014 spending.
  2. Some teams have adopted a pay as you go feature where the player’s cash number is their cap number because team did not give them a signing bonus which would be prorated over the life of the contract but instead a roster bonus which is not prorated. These teams have no reason to lower their cash spending as the structure of their contracts leaves very little dead money on the cap.
  3. The CBA states “Nothing contained herein shall preclude a Team from having Cash Spending in excess of the Minimum Team Cash Spending, provided that the Team complies with the accounting rules of the Salary Cap set forth in Article 13″. In other words, there is no cash ceiling. With no cash ceiling, teams can spend in cash over 89% each year without penalty. Teams that spend more than the Patriots can continue to spend more or as much as the Patriots.

Trying to anticipate questions that the blog post may cause:
1.) Question:How can the Patriots get under the 2015 cap? Answer: See this blog post for my listing of ways.
2.) Question: How much cash do the Patriots have committed to the 2015 season? Answer: According to my numbers, $132,046,526 (92% of the 2015 cap). ( Of course, this number will be fluid throughout the year as the Patriots sign/cut players. For example, my numbers do not yet include the 2015 draft class.
3.) Question: What can the Patriots do to reach the 89% cash spending floor? Answer: Give more players signing bonuses. Give out larger signing bonuses. Draft up in the draft (higher draft picks have larger signing bonuses). Reach extensions with Solder, Chandler Jones and Hightower rather than have them play the fifth-year seasons at their option amounts. Give Brady a signing bonus in either 2015 or in 2016. Reach extensions with Jamie Collins, Bryan Stork, Sealver Siliga, Ryan Allen, or Malcolm Butler before the end of the 2016 League Year.
4.) Question:Does the 82.68% cash prove that the Patriots are cheap? Answer: Only if you believe that looking at a small sample of data is fair. Haters are going to hate. They were silent in 2012 when the Patriots was among the leaders in cash spending.
5.) Question: Please reconcile the 82.68% cash spending percentage with the $12 million cap overage. Answer: Saved the best question for last. Hopefully, I am up to the task:)

  1. Cash is not cap. As I showed above with Tom Brady, the proration of signing bonus amounts creates a disconnect between cash and cap. Here’s another example. Logan Mankins will count $4 million against the 2015 cap. His cash amount will be zero.
  2. The big leaps: Five contracts had huge salary-cap increases in 2015 — cornerback Darrelle Revis, left tackle Nate Solder, right tackle Sebastian Vollmer and tight end Rob Gronkowski. Revis’ cap cost went from $7 million this year to $25 million. Solder’s cap cost went $2,717,429 to $7,438,000. Vollmer’s cap cost went from $3,750,000 in 2014 to $7,020,833. Gronk’s cap cost went from $5,400,000 in 2014 to $8,650,000 in 2015.
  3. Smaller bounces: The other cap jumps in 2015 were more modest. Vince Wilfork, Danny Amendola, Kyle Arrington, Rob Ninkovich, Julian Edelman and Brandon Browner are all scheduled for increases between $1 million and $3 million. Dennard’s cap number increased by $972,000. Chung’s increased by $945,000. Cannon’s increased by over $800,000. Blount’s increased by over $600,000. No one else on the roster is scheduled to go up by more than $500,000
  4. Reached incentives in 2014 – A major reason for the first two reasons is that some players reached NLTBE (Not Likely To Be Earned) incentives in 2015 making them LTBE for 2015. Examples, Lafell’s receptions incentive now counts $300,000 against the 2015 cap. Edelman’s receptions incentives now counts $500,000. Wilfork’s playing-time incentive now counts $500,000. Vollmer’s playing-time incentive now counts $750,000. Wendell’s playing-time incentive now counts $850,000. In total, there are $3.5 million in LTBE incentives counting against the 2015 cap. There were $1.25 million in 2014.
  5. Reached incentives in 2014 (Part 2) – Patriots like to include 46-man active roster bonuses in their contracts. The amount that counts against the cap is dependent on the games that the Patriot played in the prior season. Amendola, Wilfork, Chung, and Hoomanawanui all played in more games in 2014 than they did in 2013. Their 46-man active roster bonuses are now counting against the cap for all 16 games.
  6. Players not signed past the 2015 season with large cap numbers. If the Patriots and Darrelle Revis can agree to a long-term deal that included a large signing bonus. They could lower his 2015 cap number significantly ($10 to $12 million) while also increasing his 2015 cash total from $20 million. Ditto for Nate Solder and Stephen Gostkowski. I blog about possible Darrelle Revis’s contracts in this blog post

Sources: CBA:

My 2015 Offseason plan for the Super Bowl Champions New England Patriots

As of February 26, I have the Patriots 2015 total cap commitments as $152,495,147. This total is AFTER the Patriots signed all of its practice squad players to 2015 contracts and presumes that the Patriots will tender all 5 ERFAs. There have been several projections for the 2015 League cap. They have ranged from $138 million to $146 million. I will use the latest projection of $143 million. I project that that the Patriots adjusted cap number will be about $1.88 million higher than the league cap number. So, as of February 24 I project the Patriots to be over their projected cap number by about $7.6 million. So it appears that the Patriots will need to create cap space by releasing veterans or renegotiating existing contracts. There are plenty of opportunities to do both, thereby opening up millions of dollars under the cap.

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 Amendola was released, his cap number would be lowered by $2,100,000, although the actual team savings would be only $1,590,000 because another player’s $510,000 base salary would be added to the team cap.

Here’s how I predict that the Patriots will free up cap space. Please note that following some of these options will result in increasing the player’s cap numbers for future seasons. In another blog post I list some other ways that the Patriots could create cap space.

  1. Extend Darrelle Revis I outline several possible extensions between the Patriots and Darrelle Revis in this blog post. My preferred deal would create $10 million in cap space for 2015. Under this deal Revis’ 2016/2017/2018 cap numbers would be $15.5 million each.
  2. After Jerod Mayo passes a physical redo Jerod Mayo’s deal similar to the 2014 Vince Wilfork restructure but without a signing bonus for a cap savings of $4,450,000. Mayo accepting a Wilfork-type restructure
    It is likely that this restructure will not happen until after the spring. The $4.45 million cap savings would provide the cushion typically carried by the Patriots for the regular season.
  3. Release Vince Wilfork for a net cap savings of $7,556,667. As a huge fan of Vince Wilfork I would love to be wrong about this. I tried to find a comparable player to him and the closest I came was Kevin Williams last year who signed with the Seahawks for $2.1 million. Am very doubtful that Vince would agree to such a paycut.
  4. Extend Nate Solder for a net cap savings of $3.438 million. I would use the deal struck between the Arizona Cardinals and Jared Veldheer in March of 2014 as a template. 5 year, $35 million deal. $7.5 million signing bonus. 500,000 each year in 46-man active roster bonuses.
    • 2015 – $7.5m signing bonus, $2 million fully guaranteed salary, $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses. 4 million cap number
    • 2016 – $6 million salary. $3 million guaranteed for injury at start of deal, becomes fully guaranteed at the start of 2016 season. $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses. $8 million cap number
    • 2017 – $6 million salary. $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses. $8 million cap number.
    • 2018 – $5.5 million salary. $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses. $7.5 million cap number.
    • 2019 – $5.5 million salary. $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses. $7.5 million cap number.

    As rich as this deal sounds, this would put Solder among the lowest paid left tackles who are NOT on a rookie contract.

  5. Lower Danny Amendola’s salary from $4 million to $1.9 million – net cap savings of $2,100,000 which is $510,000 more than what would be achieved by releasing him. Amendola’s 2015 cap number would then be $3.6 million. Releasing Amendola before June 2nd would cause a dead money hit of $3.6 million. I would give Amendola the chance to earn back the money by reaching NLTBE incentives. The incentives could be for
    1.Receptions – Anything more than 27 receptions would be NLTBE
    2.Receiving Yards – Anything more than 200 receiving yards would be NLTBE
    3.Receiving TDs – Anything more than 1 receiving TD would be NLTBE
    4.Wins – Anything more than 12 wins would be NLTBEFor the same amount of cap space as releasing him the Patriots would have on their roster a capable backup for Edelman. I outline other cap scenarios for the Patriots and Danny Amendola in this blog post.
  6. Trade or Waive Alfonzo Dennard – net cap savings of about $1 million. Because Alfonzo earned a Proven Performance Escalator, his 2015 salary will increase to the lowest RFA tender which is currently projected to be $1.539 million. Since it seems that both Logan Ryan and Malcolm Butler have passed Dennard on their depth chart, there are better uses for Dennard’s $1.539 million salary especially when Dennard has a minuscule dead money hit of $14,462.
Revis $10,000,000
Mayo $4,450,000
Wilfork $7,556,667
Solder $3,438,000
Amendola $2,100,000
Dennard $1,029,000
Totals Savings $28,573,667

As you can see from above, doing all these moves will take the Pats from over by $7.6 million to under the cap by $21 million. The six above moves would increase

How I would use this $21 million in cap space.
1.) Sign Stephen Gostkowski to a 5-year deal, $19 million deal. $5 million signing bonus. Would no longer have a $50,000 Pro Bowl bonus in his deal. Instead will increase his offseason workout bonus money from $100,000 to $150,000. This deal would make Stephen the highest paid kicker with a APY of $3.8 million.
2015
Base salary: $1.85 million (fully guaranteed)
Offseason workout: $150,000
Cap figure: $3,000,000
2016
Base salary: $1.85 million
Offseason workout: $150,000
Cap figure: $3 million
2017
Base salary: $1.85 million
Offseason workout: $150,000
Cap figure: $3 million
2018
Base salary: $3.35 million
Offseason workout: $150,000
Cap figure: $4.5 million
2019
Base salary: $4.35 million
Offseason workout: $150,000
Cap figure: $5.5 million

2.) Sign Danny Aiken to a veteran minimum deal – Net impact to 2015 cap – $75,000
3.) Sign Chris White to a veteran minimum deal – Net impact to 2015 cap – $75,000
4.) Sign Jonathan Casillas to a two-year deal with a $1.5 million cap number in 2015 and $2 million cap number in 2016.
5.) Sign Alan Branch to an one-year deal worth $1 million.
6.) Sign Stevan Ridley to an incentive-laden deal worth $1 million.
7.) Reach a long-term deal with Devin McCourty. 2015 cap hit would be $4.2 million. $19.5 million ($12.5 million signing bonus) would be fully guaranteed at time of signing bonus
2015
Base salary: $3 million (fully guaranteed)
46-man active roster bonus: $500,000
Cap figure: $6,000,000
2016
Base salary: $5 million
46-man active roster bonus: $500,000
Cap figure: $7.5 million
2017
Base salary: $5.75 million
46-man active roster bonus: $500,000
Cap figure: $8.75 million
2018
Base salary: $6.25 million
46-man active roster bonus: $500,000
Cap figure: $9.25 million
2019
Base salary: $6.75 million
46-man active roster bonus: $500,000
Cap figure: $9.75 million

If you wish to see more details on my preferred McCourty deal, please review this blog post of mine.
8.) Pay for the 2015 draft class – $1.5 million in cap space.
9.) Pay for players 52 and 53 – $870,000
10.) Pay for the 10-man practice squad – ($6,600 *17 weeks * 10 players) = $1,122,000. Will round up to $1,250,000 since Patriots typically pay some practice squad players more than the minimum.
11.) Have a cushion for the NLTBE 46-man active roster bonuses that could be earned by Mayo, Edelman, Vollmer, Browner, Blount and Wendell. If all six players play in all sixteen games, the Patriots will then lose $1.2 million in cap space.
12.) Have a cushion for other reachable NLTBE incentives ($4.5 million). The $4.5 million comes from Browner’s playing-time incentives ($500,000), Vollmer’s playing-time incentive ($1 million) and Mayo’s playing-time incentives ($3 million).
13.) Have a cushion to replace injured players during preseason and regular season – $2 million.
14.) Have a cushion to extend players during regular season. The Patriots have 10 players scheduled to be RFAs after the 2015 season. It is likely that at least five of them make the 53-man roster – $2 million.

Player Date Cap Cost
Gostkowski March ($2,490,000)
Aiken March ($75,000)
White March ($75,000)
Casillas March ($490,000)
Branch March ($490,000)
Ridley March ($490,000)
McCourty March ($3,690,000)
2015 Draft Class May ($1,500,000)
Cushion to replace injured players July ($2,000,000)
Players 52 and 53 September ($870,000)
10-man practice squad September ($1,250,000)
Cap Space created by roster cuts September $2,000,000
46-man active roster bonus cushion September ($1,200,000)
NLTBE incentives cushion September ($4,500,000)
Extensions cushion September ($2,000,000)
($19,120,000)
Cap Space after the 6 moves $20,958,074
Cap Space to go after Free Agents $1,838,074

The Patriots will be still able to sign players from other teams under this scenario since it is very likely that
1.) I have overstated some player’s 2015 cap hits
2.) they may use lower cushion numbers that I should
3.) they could reach extensions/restructures with other players (Browner, Vollmer, Brady) that could create cap space

The below table shows the cap impact on future years

Player 2016 2017 2018 2019
Revis  $15,500,000  $15,500,000  $15,500,000  $               -
Solder  $  8,000,000  $  8,000,000  $  7,500,000  $  7,500,000
Gostkowski  $  3,000,000  $  3,000,000  $  4,500,000  $  5,500,000
Casillas  $  2,000,000  $               -  $               -  $               -
McCourty  $  6,700,000  $  8,700,000  $  9,450,000  $12,200,000
Totals  $35,200,000  $35,200,000  $36,950,000  $25,200,000

 

Listing the free agents that the Super Bowl Champions have after the end of the 2014 season. Please note that since Darrelle Revis is signed through the 2015 season I do not consider him a free agent. I have written a blog post that lists his comparables and lists several possible deals between him and the New England Patriots.

Before listing the free agents I should explain some of the terms that I will be frequently using in this blog post.

An Exclusive Rights Free Agent (ERFA) is defined as a player with an expiring contract who has less than three accrued seasons. He can only sign with his old club, provided that he is offered a one-year contract at the minimum salary for the upcoming year. If the exclusive rights free agent gets no such offer, he is completely free to sign with any team.

A Restricted Free Agent (RFA) is any player that has completed three accrued seasons and their contract has expired. A RFA must be tendered with an offer on or before the Restricted Free Agent Signing Period begins. The RFA can be tendered one of four offers. They are:

(1) Right of First Refusal

(2) Right of First Refusal and Draft Selection at player’s Original Draft Round but a second-round pick if the player was a first-round pick: This is a one year player contract at a salary of $1,389,000 (for 2014 – projected to be $1.539 million for 2015 ) or 110% of the players prior year’s salary (whichever is greater). If another club signs said RFA, the team tendering the offer receives one draft pick equal to the round the RFA was selected in during the draft but in the case the player was a first round pick the pick will be a second round pick.

(3) Right of First Refusal and a second-round pick: This is a one year player contract at a salary of $2,124,000 (for 2014) projected to be $2.351 million for 2015 or 110% of the players prior year’s salary (whichever is greater). If another club signs said RFA, the team tendering the offer receives one second round draft pick.

(4) Right of First Refusal and One First Round Draft Selection: This is a one year player contract at a salary of $3,023,000 (for 2014) projected to be $3.347 million for 2015 or 110% of the players prior year’s salary (whichever is greater). If another club signs said RFA, the team tendering the offer receives one first round draft pick.

An Unrestricted Free Agent (UFA) is any player with four or more accrued seasons whose contract has expired. A UFA is free to sign with any team without limitations and restrictions until July 15th. On July 16th, his rights revert back to his old club if it makes a tender offer (110% of the previous season’s salary) to him by June 1st. The club then has until the 10th week of the season to sign him. If he does not sign by the 10th week, he must sit out the season. If no tender is offered to the UFA by June 1st, he is free to sign with any club at any time. A club can designate one player a Franchise Player during any given year of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). There are two types of Franchise Players.
**** NOTE: For the next paragraphs regarding the franchise and transition tags salary is defined as the total of the Paragraph 5 Salary, roster and reporting bonuses, and the prorata portion of signing bonus salary, prorated signing bonus, and roster bonus but not LTBE incentives or offseason workout bonus money. To determine the franchise and transition tag amounts, the amounts of the franchise and transition tags at each position from the previous five seasons will be added up and divided by the sum of the league-wide salary cap number from the previous five seasons. For the uncapped 2010 season, the league uses the average of the 2009 and 2011 salary caps. The resulting percentage will be multiplied by the league-wide salary cap for the upcoming season to determine the non-exclusive franchise tag and transition tag amounts.

They are:
(1) “Exclusive” Franchise Player is a player that is not free to sign with another club.
(2)”Non-Exclusive” Franchise Player is a player that is free to negotiate with other clubs. His old club can match a new club’s offer, or receive two first-round draft choices if it decides not to match the offer.

Duration of Designation: Each Club that designates a Franchise Player to a player contract shall be deemed to have utilized its Franchise Player designation for the duration of the contract unless the club signs said Franchise Player to a long-term contract before the July 16th free agency deadline. If a franchise player does not sign a long-term deal with his team before EOB, July 16th, he can not sign a long-term deal with his team until after the regular season has ended.

Since the 2015 league cap number has not been announced the best I can do at this time is show the percentages that will be used and use a projected figure of $143 million for the 2015 League Cap. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported that the percentages have been announced to the teams:

A club can designate one player a Transition Player during any given year of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). A club must offer a minimum of the average of the Top 10 salaries or 120% of the player’s previous salary (whichever is greater). A Transition Player designation gives the club first-refusal right to match within seven days an offer sheet made by another club. If the club matches, it retains the player. If it does not match, it receives no compensation. Duration of Designation: Beginning in the 2006 League Year, teams will have a window beginning the day after the last day of the Franchise Player designation period and ending at 4:00 p.m. New York time July 15th during which, if the team signs its Franchise Player to a multi-year contract, the team may nonetheless retain its Franchise Player designation rights the following year.

Position Percentage Tag Number Based on $143m League Cap
Cornerback 9.125% $13,049,000
Defensive End 10.339% $14,785,000
Defensive Tackle 7.812% $11,171,000
Linebacker 9.209% $13,169,000
Offensive Line 9.034% $12,919,000
Punter/Kicker 2.880% $4,118,000
Quarterback 12.942% $18,507,000
Running Back 7.643% $10,929,000
Safety 6.713% $9,600,000
Tight End 5.825% $8,330,000
Wide Receiver 8.949% $12,797,000

Accrued Season -A season where a player was on, should have been on, full pay status for a total of six or more regular season games, but, regardless of the player’s pay status, shall not include Exempt Commisisioner Permission, Reserve PUP List (non-football injury), or a Club’s Practice or Developmental Squad. Plainly stated, any season that a player is on a club’s active/inactive roster, or reserve-injured or physically unable to perform list (football related).

  1. ERFA – Greg Orton, WR – Expect Orton to be tendered for the 2015 season at a salary of $510,000. Orton will be an ERFA because he does not have any accrued seasons. For more details on Greg Orton please see this blog post dedicated to him.
  2. ERFA – James Morris, LB – Expect Morris to be tendered for the 2015 season at a salary of $510,000. Morris will be an ERFA because he does not have any accrued seasons. For more
    details on James Morris please see this blog post dedicated to him.
  3. ERFA – Brian Tyms, WR – Expect Tyms to be tendered in 2015 at a salary of $585,000. Tyms will be an ERFA because he has two accrued seasons (2013 and 2014). 2012 does not count as an accrued season for Tyms as he spent it on the Dolphins practice squad. For more details on Brian Tyms please see this blog post dedicated to him.
  4. ERFA – James Develin, FB – Expect Develin to be tendered in 2015 at a salary of $660,000. Develin will be an ERFA because he has two accrued seasons (2013 and 2014). 2010 and 2011 do not count as an accrued seasons for Develin since he spent them on the Bengals practice squad. 2012 does not count as an accrued season because Develin was on the 53-man roster for just four games. Six games is the minimum needed. For more details on James Develin please see this blog post dedicated to him
  5. ERFA – Sealver Siliga, DT – Expect Siliga to be tendered in 2015 at a salary of $660,000. Siliga will be an ERFA because he has two accrued seasons (2012 and 2014).2013 does not count as an accrued season because Siliga was on the 53-man roster for five games. Six games is the minimum needed. For more details on Sealver Siliga please see this blog post dedicated to him.
  6. UFA – Danny Aiken, LS – Expect Aiken to be signed to another veteran minimum salary deal in 2015
  7. UFA – Akeem Ayers, LB – If Ayers continues to play at a high level, he will probably be looking to increase his salary from $1.1 million and therefore I expect that he will be moving on from the Patriots.
  8. UFA – Alan Branch, DT – I can see Branch returning as Wilfork insurance.
  9. UFA – Jonathan Casillas, LB – Expect Casillas to be signed to a two or three year-deal in the $1.5m to $2m range after incentives. For more details on Jonathan Casillas please see this blog post dedicated to him.
  10. UFA – Dan Connolly, G – Connolly will probably have to take a paycut from his 2014 $3 million salary to be on the Patriots on an one-year deal in 2015.
  11. UFA – Stephen Gostkowski, K – Expect the Ghost to be extended before the start of the 2015 League Year to a deal that averages between $3.75m and $4m per year in cap value. Franchising Gostowkski would make his 2015 salary cap number $4,590,000, which would be the second highest cap number for a kicker ever. The $4.59 million total is a summation of
    1. $4,440,000 salary (120% of 2014 $3.7 million cap number) +
    2. $100,000 offseason workout bonus +
    3. $50,000 Pro Bowl bonus

    Source- CBA, Article 10, Section 11

  12. UFA – Devin McCourty, S – As he gets closer to free agency, the cost to extend him should increase. McCourty is the one Patriot free agent who could be franchised in 2015. I talk about his comparables and propose a contract extension in this blog post.
  13. UFA – Stevan Ridley, RB – Expect Stevan Ridley to sign an one-year incentive-laden prove-it deal as he increase his value after his season-ending injury.
  14. UFA – Shane Vereen, RB – See Vereen leaving the Patriots in 2015 after he finds out before the start of free agency that there are couple of teams that will outbid the Patriots for his services.
  15. UFA – Chris White – Expect White to be signed to a veteran minimum salary benefit deal before the start of the 2015 League Year. For more details on Chris White please see this blog post focused on him.

Summary

  • Greg Orton – Stays – 2015 cap number – $510,000
  • James Morris – Stays – 2015 cap number – $510,000
  • Brian Tyms – Stays – 2015 cap number – $585,000
  • James Develin – Stays – 2015 cap number – $660,000
  • Sealver Siliga – Stays – 2015 cap number – $660,000
  • Danny Aiken – Stays – 2015 cap number – $665,000
  • Akeem Ayers – Leaves
  • Alan Branch – Stays – 2015 Cap Hit of $1 million
  • Jonathan Casillas – Stays – 2015 cap hit of¬†$1.5 million
  • Dan Connolly – Either leaves for another team on a two-year deal or stays with the Pats on an one-year deal with a cap value of $2 million with incentives that could increase the total value to between $3 and $3.5 million
  • Stephen Gostkowski – Stays – 2015 cap hit of $2.7 million
  • Devin McCourty – Stays – 2015 cap number – $4 million
  • Stevan Ridley – Stays – 2015 cap number – $1 million
  • Shane Vereen – Leaves
  • Chris White – Stays – 2015 cap number – $600,000

Please note that the the cap numbers for the five italicized players are already included in my numbers found at my salary cap page – http://www.patscap.com

Accountability check – In my first version of this blog post projected that
1.) Bolden would not be tendered. Result – Bolden was extended
2.) Chung would be extended. Result – Chung was indeed extended
3.) Steve Maneri would be signed to a veteran minimum deal – Maneri was released on January 17th.

For the record – I did a poor job at predicting what would happen with the 2014 Patriots free agents.

Jerod Mayo’s Salary Cap Scenarios with Super Bowl Champs New England Patriots

At his current cap number of $10,287,500 Jerod Mayo has the 2nd highest number of all inside linebackers and the 5th highest cap number of all linebackers.  After ending the past two seasons on Injured Reserve Jerod Mayo is not worth such a high cap number. Therefore, as we get closer to the start of the 2015 League Year we should look at the possible salary cap moves that exist between Jerod Mayo and the New England Patriots

As of February 3rd,¬†Jerod Mayo’s 2015 cap number is $10,287,500 which consists of

  • $6.25 million salary ($4.5 million of which is guaranteed for injury)
  • $3.6 million in signing bonus proration
  • $250,000 offseason workout bonus
  • $187,400 $31,250 per 46-man active roster bonus. If Mayo plays in all 16 games, this total increases to $500,000.
  • Jerod Mayo also has a $300,000 Pro Bowl bonus which is not counting against the 2015 cap.

His 2016 cap number of $10,087,500 consists of

  • $7.25 million salary
  • $2.4 million in signing bonus proration
  • $250,000 offseason workout bonus
  • $187,500 $31,250 per 46-man active roster bonus. If Mayo plays in all 16 games, this total increases to $500,000.
  • Jerod Mayo also has a $300,000 Pro Bowl bonus which is not counting against the cap

His 2017 cap number of $9,187,500 consists of

  • $8.75 million salary
  • $250,000 offseason workout bonus
  • $187,500 $31,250 per 46-man active roster bonus. If Mayo plays in all 16 games, this total increases to $500,000.
  • Jerod Mayo also has a $300,000 Pro Bowl bonus which is not counting against the cap

Now that we know the parameters of his current deal let’s look at possible moves by the Patriots. March 5, 2015 update As I tweeted in February please note that every player contract has this clause in it – “Player represents that he is and will maintain himself in excellent physical condition”. I take that to mean that the Patriots and Mayo can not redo his deal until Jerod passes a physical. March 12, 2015 update Some players have signed injury waivers . A couple of sources have told me that¬†they doubt Mayo would sign an injury waiver¬†until he was comfortable that he was healthy.

Cut an injured Jerod Mayo before June 2:

Mayo’s 2015 cap number would then increase from $10,287,500 to $10.5 million – the rest of his signing bonus proration ($6 million) and the $4.5 million salary that was guaranteed for injury. Since a player with a $510,000 salary would then take his place in the Top 51 list, the Patriots would lose $722,500 ($212,500 plus $510,000) in cap space
Mayo’s¬†2016 cap number would go from $10,087,500 to zero.
Mayo’s 2017 cap number would go from $9,187,500 to zero.

Current Deal Injured and Cut Before 6/2
Salary $6,250,000 $4,500,000
46-man active Roster Bonus $187,500
2012 Option Bonus Proration $2,400,000 $4,800,000
2011 Signing Bonus Proration $1,200,000 $1,200,000
OffSeason Workout Bonus $250,000
Totals $10,287,500 $10,500,000
2015 Gross Cap Savings ($212,500)

Cut or Trade a healthy Jerod Mayo before June 2:

Mayo’s 2015 cap number would then decrease from $10,287,500 to $6 million – the rest of his signing bonus proration. Since a player with a $510,000 salary would then take his place in the Top 51 list, the Patriots would gain $3,777,500 ($4,287,500 minus $510,000) in cap space
Mayo’s¬†2016 cap number would go from $10,087,500 to zero.
Mayo’s 2017 cap number would go from $9,187,500 to zero.

Current Deal Cut Before 6/2
Salary $6,250,000
46-man active Roster Bonus $187,500
2012 Option Bonus Proration $2,400,000 $4,800,000
2011 Signing Bonus Proration $1,200,000 $1,200,000
OffSeason Workout Bonus $250,000
Totals $10,287,500 $6,000,000
2015 Gross Cap Savings $4,287,500

Cut an injured Jerod Mayo before June 2 and make him a post June 1 designation:

That means the Pats would carry his $6.25 million salary and his $187,500 roster bonus on their books until June 2nd. On June 2nd he would be released. His 2015 cap number would then drop from $10,287,500 to $8,350,000 ($3.6 million signing bonus proration;$250,000 offseason workout;$4.5 million salary that was guaranteed for injury) Рgross cap savings in 2015 of $1,937,500, net cap savings of $1,352,500 since by June a player with a $585,000 salary would take his place in the Top 51. Please note that I am presuming that Mayo by rehabbing would qualify for earning his offseason workout bonus.
Mayo’s¬†2016 cap number would go from $10,087,500 to $2,400,000.
Mayo’s 2017 cap number would go from $9,187,500 to zero.

Current Deal Injured and Cut Before 6/2 and a post June 1 designation
Salary $6,250,000 $4,500,000
46-man active Roster Bonus $187,500
2012 Option Bonus Proration $2,400,000 $2,400,000
2011 Signing Bonus Proration $1,200,000 $1,200,000
OffSeason Workout Bonus $250,000 $250,000
Totals $10,287,500 $8,350,000
2015 Gross Cap Savings $1,937,500

Cut or Trade Jerod Mayo after June 1:

That means the Pats would carry his $6.25 million salary and his $187,500 roster bonus on their books until June 2nd. After June 1st he would be traded. His 2015 cap number would then drop from $10,287,500 to $3,850,000 ($3.6 million signing bonus proration;$250,000 offseason workout) Рgross cap savings in 2015 of $6,437,500, net cap savings of $5,852,500 since by June a player with a $585,000 salary would take his place in the Top 51. Please note that I am presuming that Mayo by rehabbing would qualify for earning his offseason workout bonus.
Mayo’s¬†2016 cap number would go from $10,087,500 to $2,400,000.
Mayo’s 2017 cap number would go from $9,187,500 to zero.

Current Deal Cut or Traded after June 1
Salary $6,250,000
46-man active Roster Bonus $187,500
2012 Option Bonus Proration $2,400,000 $2,400,000
2011 Signing Bonus Proration $1,200,000 $1,200,000
OffSeason Workout Bonus $250,000 $250,000
Totals $10,287,500 $3,850,000
2015 Gross Cap Savings $6,437,500

Lower Jerod Mayo’s salary from $6.25 million to $1.9 million:

This would lower his 2015 cap number from $10,287,500 to $5,937,500 for a cap savings of $4.35 million. The $5,937,500 cap hit with him on the 53-man roster is less than releasing him before June 2nd ($6 million).
Mayo’s¬†2016 cap number remains at $10,087,500.
Mayo’s 2017 cap number remains at $9,187,500.

Current Deal Lowered Salary to $1.9 million
Salary $6,250,000 $1,900,000
46-man active Roster Bonus $187,500 $187,500
2012 Option Bonus Proration $2,400,000 $2,400,000
2011 Signing Bonus Proration $1,200,000 $1,200,000
OffSeason Workout Bonus $250,000 $250,000
Totals $10,287,500 $5,937,500
2015 Gross Cap Savings $4,350,000

Lower Jerod Mayo’s salary from $6.25 million to $870,000 (the lowest possible salary for a player with Mayo’s experience)

This would lower his 2015 cap number from $10,287,500 to $4,907,500 for a cap savings of $5.38 million. The $4,907,500 cap hit with him on the 53-man roster is less than releasing him before June 2nd ($6 million).
Mayo’s¬†2016 cap number remains at $10,087,500.
Mayo’s 2017 cap number remains at $9,187,500.

Current Deal Lowered Salary to $870,000
Salary $6,250,000 $870,000
46-man active Roster Bonus $187,500 $187,500
2012 Option Bonus Proration $2,400,000 $2,400,000
2011 Signing Bonus Proration $1,200,000 $1,200,000
OffSeason Workout Bonus $250,000 $250,000
Totals $10,287,500 $4,907,500
2015 Gross Cap Savings $5,380,000

Offer Jerod Mayo the same exact deal as Vince Wilfork

This would lower his 2015 cap number from $10,287,500 to $6,270,833 for a cap savings of $4,016,667. The $6,270,833 cap hit with him on the 53-man roster is just more $270,833 more than releasing him before June 2nd ($6 million) while providing greater cap savings.
Mayo’s¬†2016 cap number would increase from $10,087,500 to $10,720,833.
Mayo’s 2017 cap number would increase from $9,187,500 to $9,620,834.
Offering Mayo Wilfork's restructure

Offer Jerod Mayo the same exact deal as Vince Wilfork but without the $1.3 million signing bonus.
This would lower his 2015 cap number from $10,287,500 to $5,837,500 for a cap savings of $4,450,000. The $5,837,500 cap hit with him on the 53-man roster is less than the one achieved by releasing him before June 2nd ($6 million) while providing greater cap savings.
Mayo’s¬†2016 cap number remains at $10,087,500.
Mayo’s 2017 cap number remains at $9,187,500.
Offering Mayo Wilfork's restructure

Super Bowl Champions New England Patriots Calendar

Customizing the NFL calendar for the best team of the NFL salary cap era – the New England Patriots.

December 29 Clubs may begin signing free agent players for the 2015 season. Patriots have already signed Rufus Johnson, Dion Lewis, and Antonio Johnson to 2015 contracts
December 29 Patriots may renegotiate or extend the rookie contract of a drafted rookie who was selected in the 2012 NFL Draft (Chandler Jones, Dont’a Hightower, Tavon Wilson, Nate Ebner, and Alfonzo Dennard). Any permissible renegotiated or extended player contract will not be considered a rookie contract, and will not be subject to the rules that limit rookie contracts.
December 29 Option exercise period begins for fifth-year option for first-rounds elections from the 2012 NFL Draft (Chandler Jones, Dont’a Hightower). To exercise the option, the club must give written notice to the player on or after December 29, 2014 but prior to May 3, 2015.
February 2 Waiver system begins for 2015
February 6 Rob Gronkowski’s 2015 $4.75 million salary and $250,000 offseason workout bonus became fully guaranteed.
February 10 Beginning at 12 noon, New York time, NFL clubs may begin to sign players whose 2014 CFL contracts have expired. Players under contract to a CFL club for the 2015 season or who have an option for the 2015 season are not eligible to be signed.
February 15 Tom Brady received final installment of his $30 million signing bonus guaranteed him in February,2013. Brady received $10 million upfront, $5 million on Valentine’s Day, 2014, $10 million during the 2014 season, and the final $5 million on February 15, 2015.
February 16 First day that the Patriots can designate a Franchise or Transition Player
February 27 February 28, 2014 was when the 2014 $133 million League Cap Number was announced. Expect that the 2015 League Cap number to be announced on Friday, February 27, 2015
March 2 Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for Patriots to designate a Franchise or Transition Player. If tagged, Stephen Gostkowski’s 2015 cap number would be $4,549,000. A player’s franchise tag number is the higher of 120% of his prior cap number plus all bonuses included in prior contract or the number achieved from the franchise tag number calculation. Gostowksi’s $4,549,000 figure is a total of his $4.44 million salary, $100,000 offseason workout bonus, and $50,000 Pro Bowl incentive.
On October 12th, 2014 CBS Sportline’s Jason LaCanfora reported that the percentage that will be used to determine the franchise tag number for safeties will be 6.713%. The below table lists the possible franchise tag numbers for McCourty if the league cap is between $140 million and $144 million.

League Cap Safety Franchise Tag Number
$140,000,000 $9,398,000
$141,000,000 $9,465,000
$142,000,000 $9,532,000
$143,000,000 $9,600,000
$143,500,000 $9,633,000
$144,000,000 $9,667,000
March 7-10 Patriots are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2014 contracts at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 10. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 10
4PM March 10 (End of 2014 League Year) Deadline for the New England Patriots to exercise options for Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, and Vince Wilfork. Revis’s option is for 2015 including a $12 million first day of the 2015 league year roster bonus. $3 million of which is payable on March 31, $3 million due on October 31, 2015, $3 million due on December 31, and $3 million on March 31,2016). If the option isn’t exercised, the Patriots can’t use their franchise or transition tag on Revis. Wilfork’s option is for 2015 and 2016 contract years. Wilfork is due a $4 million roster bonus. Brandon Browner’s option is for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Browner is due a $2 million roster bonus on March 10.
March 10 Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must exercise options for 2015 on all players who have option clauses in their 2014 contracts. Nate Solder’s $7.438 million salary becomes fully guaranteed. 2 million of Julian Edelman’s salary changes from being guaranteed for injury only to fully guaranteed.
March 10 Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, the Patriots must submit a Minimum Salary Tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2014 contracts and who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agency credit (Greg Orton – $435,000;James Morris – $435,000; Brian Tyms – $585,000; James Develin – $660,000; Sealver Siliga – $660,000)
March 10 Top-51 Begins. All clubs must be under the 2015 salary cap prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time
March 10 All 2014 player contracts expire at 4:00 p.m., New York time
March 10 The 2015 league year and free agency period begin at 4:00 p.m., New York time. The first day of the 2015 league year will end at 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 10. Clubs will receive a personnel notice that will include all transactions submitted to the league office during the period between 4:00 p.m., New York time, and 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 10
March 10 Trading period for 2015 begins at 4:00 p.m., New York time, after expiration of all 2014 contracts
March 10, 4PM After 4PM March 10 Patriots can apply the June 1 release designation to no more than two players. The player’s cap hit will remain the same until June 2nd when his 2015 salary and any unearned LTBE incentives would come off the books
March 12 Sebastian Vollmer is due a $1,000,000 roster bonus
March 14 $1 million of Rob Ninkovich’s 2015 salary becomes fully guaranteed. LaGarrette Blount is due a $100,000 roster bonus. Michael Hoomanawanui is due a $300,000 roster bonus
March 22-25 NFL Annual Meeting. It is during this meeting that the compensatory picks are announced. I am projecting a 3rd round pick for Patriots.
March 31 Darrelle Revis will receive $2 million as part of his 2014 $10 million signing bonus. Brandon Lafell will receive $1 million of his 2014 $3 million signing bonus. Julian Edelman will receive $2 million of his 2014 $5 million signing bonus.
April 15 Marcus Cannon has to weigh no more than 350 pounds on April 15 in order to earn a $30,000 weight clause.
April 20 All 32 NFL teams will be charged $561,600 on their caps to cover offseason workout bonus. $195 per workout times 80 players times 36 workouts equals $561,600. The Patriots offseason workout program begins.
April 24 Deadline for Patriots to sign Restricted Free Agents to offer sheets
April 30 – May 2 2015 NFL Draft, Chicago, Illinois.
May 2 Patriots can start signing undrafted players. In 2014 the Patriots could offer their UDFAs a total of $80,362 in signing bonuses. Actual total was $47,000
May 2 Patriots can start signing their drafted players. Because of the Top 51 rule signing the 2014 Patriots draft class took up $1,206,373 in cap space. Therefore, it seems safe to project that the Patriots will need between $1.2 and $2 million in cap space to sign its 2015 draft picks. Admajt13 wrote what I consider the best explanation of the rookie pool.. Please refer to it if you have any questions.
May 3 Option exercise period ends for fifth-year option for first-rounds elections from the 2012 NFL Draft (Chandler Jones, Dont’a Hightower). To exercise the option, the club must give written notice to the player prior to May 3, 2015.
June 1 For any Patriot removed from the club’s roster or whose contract is assigned via waivers or trade on or after June 1, any unamortized signing bonus amounts for future years will be included fully in team salary at the start of the 2016 League Year. These Patriots are currently signed past the 2015 season so they would be affected by the June 1 amortization rule (Tom Brady, Jerod Mayo, Jabaal Sheard, Chimdi Chewka, Scott Chandler, Alan Branch, Travaris, Cadet, Eric Martin, Jake Bequette, Rob Gronkowski, Sebastian Vollmer, Danny Amendola, Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington, Julian Edelman, Rob Ninkovich, Brandon Lafell, Marcus Cannon, Patrick Chung, Matthew Slater, Dominique Easley, Brandon Bolden, Jamie Collins, Aaron Dobson, Jimmy Garoppolo, Logan Ryan, Duron Harmon, Bryan Stork, James White, Michael Buchanan, Cameron Fleming, Chris Jones, Zach Moore, Cameron Gordon, Malcolm Butler, and Tyler Gaffney)
June 1 Deadline for prior club to send “June 1 Tender” to its unsigned Unrestricted Free Agents. If the player has not signed a contract with a club by July 22 or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later, he may negotiate or sign a contract from that date until the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, at 4:00 p.m., New York time, only with his prior club.
June 1 Marcus Cannon has to weigh no more than 345 pounds on June 1 in order to earn a $35,000 weight clause.
July 15 Marcus Cannon has to weigh no more than 340 pounds on July 15 in order to earn a $35,000 weight clause.
July 22 Signing Period ends for unrestricted Free Agents to whom a “June 1 Tender” was made by prior club. After this date and until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, prior club has exclusive negotiating rights.
July 22 Signing period ends for Transition Players with outstanding tenders. After this date and until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, prior club has exclusive negotiating rights.
August 5 Deadline for players under contract to report to their clubs to earn an Accrued Season for free
August 5 If a drafted rookie has not signed with his club by this date, he cannot be traded to any other club in 2015, and may sign a player contract only with the drafting club until the day of the draft in the 2016 League Year.
August 26 Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must reduce their rosters to a maximum of 75 players
August 27 All tryouts on this date and for the remainder of the season must be reported to the League
August 30 Prior to 6:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must reduce rosters to a maximum of 53 players on the Active/Inactive List.
August 30 Simultaneously with the cut-down to 53, clubs that have players in the categories of Active/Physically Unable to Perform or Active/Non-Football Injury or Illness must select one of the following options: place player on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform or Reserve/Non- Football Injury or Illness, whichever is applicable; request waivers; terminate contract; trade contract; or continue to count the player on the Active List.
August 31 Claiming period for players placed on waivers at the final roster reduction will expire at 12:00
August 31 Beginning at 12:00 p.m., New York time, clubs may establish a Practice Squad of ten players.A player is eligible if he does not have an accrued season of NFL experience. Players gain an accrued season by being on the active roster for at least six games.If a player has one accrued season, they can still be practice squad eligible if they were on the 46-man active game-day roster for less than nine regular season games.Under the new 2014 NFL rules, teams may sign no more than two players up to two accrued seasons.A player is deemed to have served a season on the practice squad if he remains on the practice squad for at least six weeks. Players are eligible to be on the practice squad for two seasons.Players can be eligible for a third practice squad season if their team maintains no less than 53 players on the active/inactive list at all times. The minimum salary for a practice squad player is  $6,600. $6,600 * 10 * 17 = $1,122,000. Since the Patriots have typically pay some of their practice squad players more than the minimum and sometimes have less than 10 players on their practice squad, I will use $1.25 million for budgeting purposes.
August 31 Final day of preseason training camp for all clubs, as defined in CBA Article 23, Section 9.
September 1 After 4:00 p.m., New York time, a club is permitted to place a player on Reserve/Injured as “Designated for Return.”
September 2 At 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for all NFL Player Contracts, Practice Player Contracts, tender offers, and miscellaneous amounts to
fit within each Club’s 2015 Salary Cap, in anticipation of the midnight expiration of the Top 51 Rule. The Pats will need to have $1.25 million in cap space
for their practice squad players. The Patriots will need another $870,000 in cap space to pay the salaries of players 52, and 53. The Patriots typically have a $2 million cushion to replace players placed on IR. The Patriots usually sign 1 to 2 players to extensions during the regular season taking anywhere between 1 to 2 million in cap space. Based on what happened last year the Patriots will have a $2 million cushion for NLBE incentives that are likely to be earned in 2015.

  • Vollmer’s Pro Bowl bonus – $250,000
  • Mayo’s 46-man active roster bonus – $312,500
  • Vollmer’s 46-man active roster bonus – $62,500
  • Edelman’s 46-man active roster bonus – $93,750
  • Wendell’s 46-man active roster bonus – $25,000
  • Alan Branch’s 46-man active roster bonus – $200,000
  • Bradley Fletcher’s 46-man active roster bonus – $18,750
  • Alan Branch’s playing-time incentive – $700,000
  • Vollmer’s 90% playing-time incentive – $1,000,000
  • Bradley Fletcher’s playing-time incentive-$350,000
  • Ryan Wendell’s playing-time incentive-$500,000

Therefore, the Patriots would probably like to enter Week 1 with about 5 to 6 million in cap space.

September 3 At 12:00 a.m., New York time, the Top 51 Rule expires for all NFL Clubs.
September 22 Beginning on the Tuesday following the third weekend of regular season games, the claiming priority is based on the inverse order of the standing of clubs in the current season’s games.
October 12 Beginning the day after the conclusion of the sixth regular season weekend and continuing through the day after the conclusion of the 11th regular season weekend, clubs are permitted to begin practicing players on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform and Reserve/Non-Football Injury or Illness for a period not to exceed 21 days. Players may be activated during the 21-day practice period or prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the day after the conclusion of the 21- day period.
October 26 All trading ends for 2015 at 4:00 p.m., New York time.
October 27 Players with at least four previous pension-credited seasons are subject to the waiver system for the remainder of the regular season and postseason.
October 31 If Revis’ 2015 $12 million option is picked up, he is due a $3 million payment on Halloween.
November 10 At 4:00 p.m., New York time, signing period ends for Franchise Players who are eligible to receive Offer Sheets.
November 10 Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to sign their unsigned Franchise and Transition Players, including Franchise Players who were eligible to receive Offer Sheets until this date. If still unsigned after this date, such players are prohibited from playing in the NFL in 2015.
November 10 Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to sign their Unrestricted Free Agents to whom the “June 1 Tender” was made. If still¬†unsigned after this date, such players are prohibited from playing in the NFL in 2015.
November 10 Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for Clubs to sign their drafted rookies. If such players remain unsigned after this date, they are prohibited from playing in NFL in 2015.
November 28 Deadline at 4:00 p.m., New York time, for reinstatement of players in Reserve List categories of Retired, Did Not Report, and Exclusive Rights, and of players who were placed on Reserve/Left Squad in a previous season.
December 27 17th Week of Regular Season Games.
December 28 Clubs may begin signing free agent players for the 2016 season.
December 28 Earliest permissible date for clubs to renegotiate or extend the rookie contract of a drafted rookie who was selected in any round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Any permissible renegotiated or extended player contract will not be considered a rookie contract, and will not be subject to the rules that
limit rookie contracts.

Current roster status of the defending Super Bowl Champions New England Patriots

The following tables attempt to show the current roster status of the 72 Patriots who were on the Patriots roster the day of Super Bowl XLIX.

Surname First End of 2014 Status Current Status
Aiken Danny 53 man roster Unsigned
Allen Ryan 53 man roster 75 man roster
Amendola Danny 53 man roster 75 man roster
Arrington Kyle 53 man roster 75 man roster
Ayers Akeem 53 man roster Signed with another team
Barker Chris Practice Squad 75 man roster
Bequette Jake Practice Squad 75 man roster
Blount LeGarrette 53 man roster 75 man roster
Bolden Brandon 53 man roster 75 man roster
Boyce Josh 53 man roster 75 man roster
Brady Tom 53 man roster 75 man roster
Branch Alan 53 man roster 75 man roster
Browner Brandon 53 man roster Signed with another team
Buchanan Michael IR 75 man roster
Butler Malcolm 53 man roster 75 man roster
Cannon Marcus 53 man roster 75 man roster
Casillas Jonathan 53 man roster Signed with another team
Chung Patrick 53 man roster 75 man roster
Collins Jamie 53 man roster 75 man roster
Connolly Dan 53 man roster Unsigned
Dennard Alfonzo 53 man roster 75 man roster
Develin James 53 man roster 75 man roster
Devey Jordan 53 man roster 75 man roster
Dobson Aaron IR 75 man roster
Easley Dominique IR 75 man roster
Ebner Nate 53 man roster 75 man roster
Edelman Julian 53 man roster 75 man roster
Fleming Cameron 53 man roster 75 man roster
Fleming Darius 53 man roster 75 man roster
Gaffney Tyler IR 75 man roster
Garoppolo Jimmy 53 man roster 75 man roster
Gilbert Garrett Practice Squad 75 man roster
Gordon Cameron IR 75 man roster
Gostkowski Stephen 53 man roster 75 man roster
Gray Jonas 53 man roster 75 man roster
Green Justin Practice Squad 75 man roster
Gronkowski Rob 53 man roster 75 man roster
Harmon Duron 53 man roster 75 man roster
Hauptmann Caylin Practice Squad 75 man roster
Hightower Dont’a 53 man roster 75 man roster
Hoomanawanui Michael 53 man roster 75 man roster
Jones Chandler 53 man roster 75 man roster
Jones Chris 53 man roster 75 man roster
Kline Josh 53 man roster 75 man roster
Krause Jonathan Practice Squad 75 man roster
Lafell Brandon 53 man roster 75 man roster
Martin Eric Practice Squad 75 man roster
Mayo Jerod IR 75 man roster
McCourty Devin 53 man roster 75 man roster
Moore Zach 53 man roster 75 man roster
Morris James IR 75 man roster
Ninkovich Rob 53 man roster 75 man roster
Orton Greg IR Unsigned
Revis Darrelle 53 man roster Signed with another team
Ridley Stevan IR Signed with another team
Ryan Logan 53 man roster 75 man roster
Siliga Sealver 53 man roster 75 man roster
Skinner Deontae Practice Squad 75 man roster
Slater Matthew 53 man roster 75 man roster
Solder Nate 53 man roster 75 man roster
Stork Bryan 53 man roster 75 man roster
Swanson Dax Practice Squad 75 man roster
Tyms Brian 53 man roster 75 man roster
Vellano Joe 53 man roster 75 man roster
Vereen Shane 53 man roster Signed with another team
Vollmer Sebastian 53 man roster 75 man roster
Wendell Ryan 53 man roster 75 man roster
White Chris 53 man roster 75 man roster
White James 53 man roster 75 man roster
Wilfork Vince 53 man roster Signed with another team
Wilson Tavon 53 man roster 75 man roster
Wright Tim 53 man roster 75 man roster

Below is a summary.

53 man roster 53
73 man roster 45
Signed with Another Team 6
Unsigned 2
IR 10
53 man roster 8
Signed with Another Team 1
Unsigned 1
Practice Squad 9
75 man roster 9
Grand Total 72
75 man roster 62
Signed with Another Team 7
Unsigned 3

2015 Super Bowl Champions New England Patriots Salary Cap Breakdown – Dead Money

Darrelle Revis- $5,000,000 (prorated signing bonus). I write more about Darrelle Revis in another blog post.
Logan Mankins – $4,000,000 (prorated signing bonus plus offseason workout bonus money)
Vince Wilfork – $866,667 (prorated signing bonus)
Josh Boyce – $238,500 (prorated signing bonus). Josh Boyce was waived on August 30, 2014.
Armond Armstead – $143,222 (The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin was the first to report Armond’s 2015 injury settlement amount)
Jake Bequette – $134,950 (prorated signing bonus). Jake Bequette was waived on August 30, 2014.
Jon Halapio – $92,235 (prorated signing bonus)
Jemea Thomas – $69,834 (prorated signing bonus)
Jeremy Gallon – $35,694 (prorated signing bonus)
Steve Beauharnais – $23,796 (prorated signing bonus)
Stephen Houston – $5,000 (Stephen Houston was waived by the New England Patriots on August 31, 2014 after receiving a $7,500 signing bonus on May 10. The $5,000 is the 2015 dead money hit that resulted from his waiver)
Roy Finch – $3,334 (Roy Finch was waived by the New England Patriots on August 31, 2014 after receiving a $5,000 signing bonus on May 10. The $3,334 is the 2015 dead money hit that resulted from his waiver)
Shamiel Gary – $3,334 (Shamiel Gary was waived by the New England Patriots on August 31, 2014 after receiving a $5,000 signing bonus on May 10. The $3,334 is the 2015 dead money hit that resulted from his waiver)
Travis Hawkins – $3,334 (Travis Hawkins was waived by the New England Patriots on August 31, 2014 after receiving a $5,000 signing bonus on May 10. The $3,334 is the 2015 dead money hit that resulted from his waiver
Justin Jones – $3,334 (Justin Jones was waived by the New England Patriots on August 31, 2014 after receiving a $5,000 signing bonus on May 10. The $3,334 is the 2015 dead money hit that resulted from his waiver
Asa Watson – $2,000 (Watson was waived by the New England Patriots on August 10, 2014 after receiving a $3,000 signing bonus on May 10. The $2,000 is the 2015 dead money hit that resulted from his waiver)
Mark Harrison – $1,000 (prorated signing bonus)
Kenbrell Thompkins – $834 (prorated signing bonus)
Total – $10,626,708

The $10,626,708 is 7.35% of the 2015 Patriots adjusted cap number of $144,578,084.
The average dead money hit for the 32 NFL teams is $9,571,953 so the Patriots’ amount is about a million dollars more than the league average.
Comparing Patriots Dead Money to League Average
The Patriots have the 11th highest dead money amount in the league.

Source for Patriots numbers – myself
Source for league numbers – http://www.overthecap.com

Today Aaron Wilson tweeted that
“Alan Branch has up to $750,000 playtime incentives each year, up to $400,000 weight bonus each year”
“Alan Branch $25K per game roster bonus 2015, $400,000 roster bonus first day of 2016 league year, $25K per game 2016 roster bonus”
“Alan Branch two-year Patriots deal, $4.3M, $700K bonus, salaries $1.2M, $1.2M, 2016 option year to be exercised by end of 2015 league yr”

Let’s take a look at the salary cap consequences of each tweet.

  • Since Alan Branch played in only 14% of the Patriots defensive snaps in 2014, it is very likely that his trigger level is above 14%. I define a trigger level as the condition needed to earn the incentive. In Alan Branch’s case I mean the percentage of defensive snaps needed to earn his playing-time incentive. Could be 20%, 30%, 40%, or ¬†75%. Do not know. We will have to wait for his final contract details to come in.
  • Alan Branch’s $400,000 weight bonus is considered LTBE (Likely to Be Earned) and therefore counts against the 2015 cap. Quoting the CBA – “Any incentive within the sole control of the player (e.g., non-guaranteed reporting bonuses, offseason workout and weight bonuses) shall be deemed “likely to be earned”.
  • Since Alan played in 8 games in 2014, his $25,000 46-man active roster bonus will be considered LTBE for 8 games and NLTBE for 8 games. $25,000 times 8 = $200,000. In 2016 his 46-man active roster bonus will be reevaluated based on how many games he plays in 2015. If Alan Branch plays in all 16 games, the value of his 46-man roster bonus will go from $200,000 in $2015 to $400,000 in 2016. Please note that as Alan Branch plays in more games in 2015 than he did in 2014, the Patriots will lose $25,000 in cap space the following Tuesday. From CBA – “(xix) Any incentive bonus that is stated in terms of a per play or per game occurrence automatically will be deemed ‚Äúlikely to be earned‚ÄĚ to the extent the specified performance was achieved by the player (if an individual incentive) or by the team (if a team incentive) in the previous year….(xxi) Any portion of an incentive bonus that is earned, but which had not been deemed likely to be earned, will be deemed earned at the end of the season and not immediately upon attainment of the required performance level, except: (1) as provided in Subsection (xix) above in regards to per play or per game occurrences;”
  • The 2016 $400,000 roster bonus will be considered LTBE because the trigger date is in the preseason. Once again, quoting CBA – “Preseason roster bonuses are automatically deemed ‚Äúlikely to be earned.‚ÄĚ
  • The $700,000 signing bonus will be prorated over two years, $350,000 per year. Note that signing bonuses can only be prorated for a maximum of 5 years, even if the contract is for a longer term.
  • If the Patriots do pick up Alan Branch’s 2016 option, he is due a $400,000 roster bonus the 1st day of the 2016 League Year. If the Patriots do not pick up Alan Branch’s 2016 option, he will become eligible to be included in the 2017 compensatory pick calculations.
  • A player’s salary cap number is the total of
    1. his salary
    2. signing bonus proration, if any
    3. any LTBE incentives
Alan Branch’s deal
Year Salary Prorated Bonus Roster Weight Cap No Dead Money Cap Savings Cash Total Cash
2015 $1.2m 350K 200K 400K 2.15m 700K 815K $2.5m $2.5m
2016 $1.2m 350K 600K 400K 2.55m 350K 1.675m $2.2m $4.7m

The 2015 cap savings presumes a release after June 1st while the 2016 cap savings presumes that the Patriots do not pick up his 2016 option.
How do we get to the reported maximum of $6.6 million.
Add $4.7 million from above table to
$1.5 million in playing-times incentives to
$400,000 in NLTBE 46-man active roster bonuses.

The below table shows the impact on Alan Branch’s 2016 cap number if he plays in all 16 games in 2015 and also earns all of his $750,000 playing-time incentive.

Alan Branch’s deal
Year Salary Prorated Bonus Roster Weight Playing-Time Incentive Cap No Dead Money Cap Savings Cash Total Cash
2015 $1.2m 350K 200K 400K 2.15m 700K 815K $2.5m $2.5m
2016 $1.2m 350K 800K 400K 750K 3.5m 350K 2.625m $3.15m $5.65m

Please follow me on twitter – @patscap.

It was reported/rumored during the first week in June, 2014 that the Patriots and Devin McCourty had started talks about extending his contract which will expire after the 2014 season. It seemed appropriate in June to now look at his comparables and propose a contract that I consider fair to both him and the Patriots. Please note that I consider McCourty to be an elite safety.

Updated on February 16 to add free agency rankings
Updated on March 1 to have guarantee numbers in some proposed deals match cash received if tagged for two straight years. Also added the free agency ranking of NFL.Com and ProFootball Focus

Background information: Devin was the 1st round pick of the Patriots in 2010. Devin was drafted as a cornerback and was permanently switched to safety during the 2012 season. Top cornerbacks are paid higher than top safeties. For example, the franchise tag figure for cornerbacks this year was $10.081 million while the franchise tag for safeties was $7.253 million. Earl Thomas who is the highest paid safety averages 10 million cap hit in his deal. There are four cornerbacks with a higher average. Devin had earned enough escalators in his rookie contract to increase his 2014 salary by $3,050,000 to $3,920,000. His 2014 cap number is $5,115,000. Devin McCourty who will be 28 when the 2015 season starts was selected to the Associated Press’s All-Pro 2nd team in 2013. Before the 2014 season started there were four rankings of the NFL’s Top 100 players. They were done by Pro Football Focus, CBS Sportsline’s Pete Prisco, CBS Sportsline’s Pat Kirwan, and NFL players as tabulated by NFL Network.

Player Pro Football Focus Pete Prisco Pat Kirwan NFL Players
Earl Thomas 20 10 12 17
Eric Berry 37 54 33 50
Kam Chancellor 28 73 72 65
Troy Polamalu 95 99 100 61
Eric Weddle 96 34 92
T.J. Ward 100 76
Devin McCourty 22 62
Jarius Byrd 71 37
Antrell Rolle 72

AzCentral.Com’s Bob McManaman rates McCourty the 10th best available free agent. USA Today¬†also rates McCourty the 10th best available free agent. ESPN has McCourty as the 5th
best available free agent. The New York Post also considers Devin the 5th best free agent. AOL rates McCourty as the 9th best available free agent. NFL.Com rates McCourty as the 6th best available agent. Pro Football Focus wrote this about McCourty – “After switching from corner early in his career McCourty has really hit his stride as a center fielder that you really shouldn‚Äôt try testing. A valuable skill in any era”

Rater Ranking
AzCentral.Com 10
USAToday 10
ESPN 5
New York Post 5
AOL 9
NFL 6
ProFootballFocus 4

Now let’s look at some financial comparables. Jarius Byrd is 10 months older than McCourty and played under the franchise tag ($6.916 million) in 2013. Byrd‚Äôs contract contains $26.3 million in guarantees, a record for a veteran safety deal. His 2014 salary is fully guaranteed. His 2015 $6 million roster bonus became fully guaranteed in late March so it is treated like a signing bonus. 6 million of his 2016 salary is now guaranteed for injury. Will become fully guaranteed the 3rd day of the 2016 League Year.

Jarius Byrd – 9M APY
Year Salary Prorated Bonus Roster Bonus Workout Bonus Cap Number Dead Money Cap Savings
2014 $1,300,000 $2,200,000 $0 $100,000 $3,500,000 $18,300,000 ($14,800,000)
2015 $2,000,000 $3,400,000 $0 $100,000 $5,500,000 $14,800,000 ($9,300,000)
2016 $7,400,000 $3,400,000 $0 $100,000 $10,900,000 $11,400,000 ($500,000)
2017 $7,900,000 $3,400,000 $300,000 $100,000 $11,700,000 $8,000,000 $3,700,000
2018 $8,400,000 $3,400,000 $300,000 $100,000 $12,200,000 $4,600,000 $7,600,000
2019 $8,600,000 $1,200,000 $300,000 $100,000 $10,200,000 $1,200,000 $9,000,000

Earl Thomas was also drafted in the first round in 2010. Thomas was selected in 2011 to the Associated Press Second-team All-Pro In 2012 and in 2013 Earl Thomas was selected to the Associated Press’ All-Pro first team, Sporting News’ All Pro team, and the Pro Football Writers of America’s All-Pro team. Earl Thomas is a year and 9 months younger than McCourty. His 2014 and 2015 salaries are fully guaranteed. 6 million of his 2016 salary is guaranteed. Do not know if the 2016 guarantee is currently full or guaranteed for injury now and then become fully guaranteed later.

Earl Thomas
Year Salary 2014 Prorated Bonus 2010 Signing Bonus Proration 2011 Salary Advance Proration Cap Number Dead Money Cap Savings
2014 $4,750,000 $1,900,000 $100,000 $648,212 $7,373,212 $14,225,000 ($6,851,788)
2015 $5,500,000 $1,900,000 $0 $0 $7,400,000 $12,100,000 ($4,700,000)
2016 $8,000,000 $1,900,000 $0 $0 $9,900,000 $5,700,000 $4,200,000
2017 $8,500,000 $1,900,000 $0 $0 $10,400,000 $3,800,000 $6,600,000
2018 $8,500,000 $1,900,000 $0 $0 $10,400,000 $1,900,000 $8,500,000

Eric Weddle, a member of the 2013 Associated Press’ All Pro 2nd team, signed his current 5 year $40 million deal in 2011. Kam Chancellor, yet another member of the AP All Pro 2nd team, signed a four-year, $28 million extension in April, 2013. Antrell Rolle, one more member of the AP All-Pro 2nd team, signed a five year, $37 million deal with the Giants in 2010 when he was 27. Dashon Goldson signed his 5-year, $41.5 million deal in March, 2013. William Moore signed his 5-year, $30 million deal in March, 2013. Michael Griffin signed his 5-year, $35 million deal in June of 2012. This offseason six safeties got deals that averaged over 5 million a year. Mike Mitchell who will turn 27 in June received a 5-year $25 million deal. Reshad Jones who is 26 years old got a 5yr $29.3m deal from the Dolphins. Antoine Bethea got a 4yr, 22m deal from the 49ers. Donte Whitner signed a four year, $28 million contract with the Browns on March 11, 2014.
T.J. Ward got a four-year, $22.5 million contract from the Broncos. T.J. received a $5 million signing bonus. His 2014 salary is fully guaranteed. His 2015 salary and roster bonus are currently guaranteed for injury only. Will become fully guaranteed the 5th day of the 2015 League Year.

T.J. Ward
Year Salary 2014 Signing Bonus Proration Roster Bonus Cap Number Dead Money Cap Savings
2014 $2,000,000 $1,250,000 $0 $3,250,000 $13,500,000 ($10,250,000)
2015 $4,000,000 $1,250,000 $2,000,000 $6,250,000 $9,750,000 ($3,000,000)
2016 $4,500,000 $1,250,000 $0 $5,750,000 $2,500,000 $3,250,000
2017 $4,500,000 $1,250,000 $0 $5,750,000 $1,250,000 $4,500,000

Eric Weddle received a $13 million signing bonus. His 2011 and 2012 salaries were fully guaranteed.

Eric Weddle
Year Salary 2011 Signing Bonus Proration Cap Number Dead Money Cap Savings
2011 $1,000,000 $2,600,000 $3,600,000 $19,000,000 ($15,400,000)
2012 $5,000,000 $2,600,000 $7,600,000 $15,400,000 ($7,800,000)
2013 $6,000,000 $2,600,000 $8,600,000 $7,800,000 $200,000
2014 $7,500,000 $2,600,000 $10,100,000 $5,200,000 $5,900,000
2015 $7,500,000 $2,600,000 $10,100,000 $2,600,000 $7,500,000

On October 12th, 2014 CBS Sportline’s Jason LaCanfora reported that the percentage that will be used to determine the franchise tag number for safeties will be 6.713%. The 2015 cap is $143.28 million. The tag number for a safety was $9.61 million. It seems reasonable to venture that a McCourty deal in the $8 to $9 million per year average range would be fair for both sides, would recognize that McCourty sacrificed dollars in his move from the cornerback position to the safety position and would also recognize that McCourty has assumed all of the injury risk. The 2015 and 2016 salaries would be fully guaranteed. 3 million of his 2017 salary would be guaranteed for injury when the deal is reached in 2015 but would become fully guaranteed if McCourty is on the 53-man roster at the end of the 2016 season. McCourty would receive a $10 million signing bonus. This deal averages 8M in value over the 5-year period and would tie Eric Weddle for the 5th best safety deal.

Devin McCourty – $8M APY
Year Salary Signing Bonus Proration Roster Bonus Cap Number Dead Money Cap Savings Cash Received Total Cash
2015 $1.5 $2 $.5 $4 $15 ($11) $12 $12
2016 $3.5 $2 $.5 $6 $11.5 ($5.5) $4 $16
2017 $5.5 $2 $.5 $8 $9 ($1) $6 $22
2018 $7.5 $2 $.5 $10 $4 $6 $8 $30
2019 $9.5 $2 $.5 $12 $2 $10 $10 $40

This next deal averages $8.25 million over a 5-year period and would make Devin McCourty the 4th highest paid safety. The 2015 and 2016 salaries would be fully guaranteed. 2 million of his 2017 salary would be guaranteed for injury when the deal is reached in 2015 but would become fully guaranteed if McCourty is on the 53-man roster at the end of the 2016 season. McCourty would receive a $12.5 million signing bonus.

Devin McCourty – $8.25M APY (Preferred Deal)
Number in Millions
Year Salary Signing Bonus Proration Roster Bonus Cap Number Dead Money Cap Savings Cash Received Total Cash
2015 $3 $2.5 $.5 $6 $19.5 ($13.5) $16 $16
2016 $5 $2.5 $.5 $7.5 $14 ($6.5) $5 $21
2017 $5.75 $2.5 $.5 $8.75 $9.5 ($07.5) $6.25 $27.25
2018 $6.25 $2.5 $.5 $9.25 $5 $4.25 $6.75 $34
2019 $6.75 $2.5 $.5 $9.75 $2.5 $7.25 $7.25 $41.25

This next deal averages $8.5 million over a 5-year period and would make McCourty the 3rd highest paid safety. The 2015 and 2016 salaries would be fully guaranteed. 3 million of his 2017 salary would be guaranteed for injury when the deal is reached in 2015 but would become fully guaranteed if McCourty is on the 53-man roster at the end of the 2016 season. McCourty would receive a $11 million signing bonus.

Devin McCourty – $8.5M APY
Year Salary Signing Bonus Proration Roster Bonus Cap Number Dead Money Cap Savings Cash Received Total Cash
2015 $1.3 $2.2 $.5 $4 $16.1 ($12,100,000) $12,800,000 $12.8
2016 $3.8 $2.2 $.5 $6.5 $12.6 ($6,100,000) $4,300,000 $17.1
2017 $5.9 $2.2 $.5 $8.6 $9.6 ($1,000,000) $6,400,000 $23.5
2018 $8.1 $2.2 $.5 $10.8 $4.4 $6,400,000 $8,600,000 $32.1
2019 $9.9 $2.2 $.5 $12.6 $2.2 $10,400,000 $10,400,000 $42.5

This next deal averages $9 million over a 5-year period and would tie for Jarius Byrd for the 2nd highest paid safety. The 2015 and 2016 salaries would be fully guaranteed. 3 million of his 2017 salary would be guaranteed for injury when the deal is reached in 2015 but would become fully guaranteed if McCourty is on the 53-man roster at the end of the 2016 season. McCourty would receive a $12.5 million signing bonus.

Devin McCourty – $9M APY
Year Salary Signing Bonus Proration Roster Bonus Cap Number Dead Money Cap Savings Cash Received Total Cash
2015 $1.5 $2.5 $.5 $4.5 $18 ($13.5) $14.5 $14.5
2016 $4 $2.5 $.5 $7 $14 ($7) $4.5 $19
2017 $6.5 $2.5 $.5 $9.5 $10.5 ($1) $7 $26
2018 $8 $2.5 $.5 $11 $5 $6 $8.5 $34.5
2019 $10.5 $2.5 $.5 $13 $2.5 $10.5 $10.5 $45

http://overthecap.com/freeagents.php?Position=S&Year=2015 lists the safeties who like McCourty will become a free agent after this season. As of now, Devin McCourty should be considered the best available free agent safety. The only projected free agent safety that I consider in McCourty’s class is Antrell Rolle, who is close to 4 1/2 years older than McCourty.

http://overthecap.com/top-player-salaries.php?Position=S
lists the APYs for safeties.

A deal with a 4M APY would make McCourty the 24th highest paid safety.
5M APY would tie McCourty for 20th
6M APY would tie McCourty for 14th
7M APY would tie McCourty for 9th
7.5M APY would make McCourty the 6th highest paid safety
8M APY would tie McCourty for 5th
8.25M APY would tie McCourty for 4th
8.5M APY would make McCourty the 3rd highest paid safety
9M APY would tie McCourty for 2nd
9.5M APY would make McCourty the 2nd highest paid safety
10M would tie McCourty for 1st
>10M would make McCourty the highest paid safety