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Proposing a contract between Matt Forte and the New England Patriots

Written by: Miguel Benzan
Posted February 7, 2016 at 2:06 pm

As part of part of my 2016 offseason plan I recommended that the Patriots sign Bears running back Matt Forte to a 3 year, $12 million deal in which his cap hits would be $4 million each year. I used Frank Gore’s 2015 contract with the Indianapolis Colts as a comparable. Gore got $12 million over 3 years with $6.5 million guaranteed.

Frank Gore’s cap hits are as follows
2015 – 4.5 million
2016 – 4 million
2017 – $3.5 million

Frank Gore's contract

My January 9th proposed deal to Matt Forte would have looked like

Matt Forte's contract

After reading Chris Wesseling’s report that Matt Forte wants to be in Super Bowls I now think that a deal that includes incentives would work.

Matt Forte’s 2015 statistics can be easily used to create NLTBE (Not to be Likely Incentives) for the 2016 season.
centiv898 rushing yards – 900 rushing yards would be considered NLTBE
4 rushing TDs – 5 rushing TDs would be considered NLTBE
44 catches – 45 catches would be considered NLTBE
389 receiving yards – 400 catches would be considered NLTBE
56% Playing-Time – 60% playing-time would be considered NLTBE
Getting to the Super Bowl in 2016 would be considered NLBTE since both he and the Patriots did not do so in 2015.
Winning a Super Bowl would be considered NLBTE since both he and the Patriots did not do so in 2015.

My new proposal to Matt Forte would be a 3 year, $8.65 million with a chance to earn $2.5 million in incentives each year. His 2016 cap number would be the 22nd highest for a running back in the NFL.

The Patriots have a long history of having incentives in their contracts. Vince Wilfork earned $3 million in incentives in 2014 while helping the Patriots win a Super Bowl. In 2005 Corey Dillon earned $1.35 million in incentives when the Patriots adjusted cap was over $82 million. I project the 2016 Patriots adjusted cap to be over $158 million. $2.5 million in incentives in 2016 for Matt Forte would be around the same percentage of the Patriots adjusted cap as was Dillon’s incentives in 2005.

How would I make room for Matt Forte? I would release Marcus Cannon and would still have about a million left over in cap space to improve the Patriots 2016 roster.

Why would Matt Forte sign with the Patriots? Out of the twelve 2015 playoff teams the Patriots may be the best fit.
1.) Arizona Cardinals have David Johnson
2.) Pittsburgh Steelers have LeVeon Bell
3.) The Bengals have Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard
4.) Packers have Eddie Lacy and James Starks
5.) Vikings have Adrian Peterson
6.) Seahawks have Thomas Rawls
7.) Texans do not have a starting QB capable of winning a Super Bowl
8.) Broncos have C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman.
9.) Chiefs have Jamaal Charles and West
10.) Redskins would also be a good fit
11.) Panthers have Jonathan Stewart.

Please note that the minimum salary for Matt Forte in 2016 is $885,000.

Matt Forte's contract

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 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 Patscap.Com with your donation.

You can have a portion of your Amazon.Com purchases donated to the Bread of Life.
You can learn how to do so by watching a YouTube video at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eA-t4XxeOc

Projecting the contracts of 2016 Patriots free agents

Written by: Miguel Benzan
Posted February 4, 2016 at 7:44 pm

The New England Patriots as well as the rest of the NFL will have several free agents set to hit the market in March. Free agency will begin at 4PM, March 9th. Teams can start to release players on February 8th. Released veterans can then be immediately signed by another team while players with less than 4 accrued seasons go through the waiver season.

Some basic definitions –

Accrued Season
The number of accrued seasons determines the free agency status for the player. To gain an accrued season the player must be at full pay status for a minimum of 6 regular season games. They player does not gain an accrued season if the player is on Reserve PUP, Commissioner’s Exempt List, or a team’s practice squad. Games on IR do count in the accrued season calculation.

Exclusive Rights Free Agent – ERFA
A player with 2 or less accrued seasons at the completion of their contract.

Restricted Free Agent
A player with 3 or less accrued seasons at the completion of their contract. The team can choose one of three right of refusal tenders on the player. A first round tender, second round tender, or original draft position tender. Each tender has an assigned contract value amount. Another team can attempt to sign the player to a new contract, but the original team has the right to match it. If the original team does not match they will receive draft value equaling the original tender.

Unrestricted Free Agent
A player with 4 or more accrued seasons at the completion of their contract. Unrestricted free agents are free to sign with any team as soon as they become a free agent. Unrestricted free agents become part of the compensatory picks calculation.

My look at NFL free agency will start off with the Patriots free agents.

The below graphic lists the snaps played. The total snaps sums up the player’s snaps on special teams and the player’s snaps on his unit (offense/defense).

Patriots Free Agents Snaps

Cameron Fleming who will be an ERFA. I expect the Patriots to tender him. His 2016 salary will be $600,000. It will not be not guaranteed. If tendered, Cameron Fleming must sign the tender in order to play in the NFL in 2016. If the Patriots do not tender Cameron Fleming, he will then become a street free agent at the start of free agency and the Patriots will not receive any compensation if he signs elsewhere. Level of confidence that Cameron Fleming will get tendered – 80%. Cap space taken up – $0 because the Patriots already have 51 players with cap hits of at least $600,000. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

CB Justin Coleman who will be an ERFA. I expect the Patriots to tender him. His 2016 salary will be $525,000. It will not be not guaranteed. If tendered, Justin Coleman must sign the tender in order to play in the NFL in 2016. If the Patriots do not tender Justin Coleman, he will then become a street free agent at the start of free agency and the Patriots will not receive any compensation if he signs elsewhere. Level of confidence that Justin Coleman will get tendered – 100%. Cap space taken up – $0 because the Patriots already have 51 players with cap hits of at least $600,000. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

S Brandon King who will be an ERFA. I expect the Patriots to tender him. His 2016 salary will be $525,000. It will not be not guaranteed. If tendered, Brandon King must sign the tender in order to play in the NFL in 2016. If the Patriots do not tender Brandon King, he will then become a street free agent at the start of free agency and the Patriots will not receive any compensation if he signs elsewhere. Level of confidence that Brandon King will get tendered – 80%. Cap space taken up – $0 because the Patriots already have 51 players with cap hits of at least $600,000. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

WR Josh Boyce who will be an ERFA. I expect the Patriots to tender him. His 2016 salary will be $525,000. It will not be not guaranteed. If tendered, Josh Boyce must sign the tender in order to play in the NFL in 2016. If the Patriots do not tender Josh Boyce, he will then become a street free agent at the start of free agency and the Patriots will not receive any compensation if he signs elsewhere. Because he was placed on Injured Reserve before the start of the 2015 regular season (August 31) and Boyce’s name was not shown on the Patriots.Com roster the entire season my level of confidence that Josh Boyce will get tendered is 50%. That is, I go back and forth on whether Boyce will get tendered. I understand the argument for not tendering him – time to move on. Cap space taken up – $0 because the Patriots already have 51 players with cap hits of at least $600,000. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

OT Kevin Hughes who will be an ERFA. I expect the Patriots to tender him. His 2016 salary will be $525,000. It will not be not guaranteed. If tendered, Kevin Hughes must sign the tender in order to play in the NFL in 2016. If the Patriots do not tender Kevin Hughes, he will then become a street free agent at the start of free agency and the Patriots will not receive any compensation if he signs elsewhere. Because he was placed on Injured Reserve before the start of the 2015 regular season (August 3) and Hughes’ name was not shown on the Patriots.Com roster the entire season my level of confidence that Kevin Hughes will get tendered is 60%. It is only because he plays the offensive tackle position that my confidence level for Hughes is higher than it is for Boyce. Cap space taken up – $0 because the Patriots already have 51 players with cap hits of at least $600,000. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

LB Rufus Johnson who will be an ERFA. I expect the Patriots to tender him. His 2016 salary will be $525,000. It will not be not guaranteed. If tendered, Rufus Johnson must sign the tender in order to play in the NFL in 2016. If the Patriots do not tender Rufus Johnson, he will then become a street free agent at the start of free agency and the Patriots will not receive any compensation if he signs elsewhere. Rufus Johnson was signed to a futures contract on January 7th and was placed on Non-Football Injury on October 25. Confidence level that Rufus Johnson will get tendered is 60% only because he plays the linebacker position. Cap space taken up – $0 because the Patriots already have 51 players with cap hits of at least $600,000. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

In January, 2015 the Patriots signed Brandon Bolden to a two-year extension. Bolden was scheduled to be a RFA in March, 2015. The low RFA tender in 2015 was $1.542 million.  While in January the exact amount of the low RFA tender level was not known it was known what its range could be between $1,503,000 and $1,574,000.  Below are the details of the Bolden’s deal.

2015:
Signing bonus: $300,000
Base salary: $660,000
Roster bonus: $200,000 ($12,500 per game on 46-man roster)
Workout bonus: $25,000
Cap hit: $1.035 million – Savings from the low RFA tender  was over $500,000.

2016:
Base salary: $760,000
Roster bonus: $350,000 ($21,875 per game on 46-man roster)
Workout bonus: $25,000
Cap hit: $1.285 million

While its exact amount is not known at the current time, we do know the range for the low RFA tender in 2016. Its lowest possible amount is $1,619,000. Its highest possible amount is $1,696,000.

It is likely that any 2016 extensions for the 4 RFAs (James Develin, Sealver Siliga, Brian Tyms, and LaAdrian Waddle) will use Bolden’s as a template. If the Patriots do not tender a RFA, they will be a street at the start of free agency and the Patriots will not receive any compensation if he signs elsewhere.

James Develin

2016:
Signing bonus: $250,000
Base salary: $675,000
Roster bonus: $200,000 ($12,500 per game on 46-man roster)
Workout bonus: $25,000
Cap hit: $1,025,000 – Savings from the low RFA tender would be over $600,000. Cap space taken up – $425,000 because the Patriots already have 51 players with cap hits of at least $600,000. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

2017:
Base salary: $775,000
Roster bonus: $400,000 ($25,000 per game on 46-man roster)
Workout bonus: $25,000
Cap hit: $1.325 million

LaAdrian Waddle

2016:
Signing bonus: $250,000
Base salary: $675,000
Roster bonus: $200,000 ($12,500 per game on 46-man roster)
Workout bonus: $25,000
Cap hit: $1,025,000 – Savings from the low RFA tender would be over $600,000. Cap space taken up – $425,000 because the Patriots already have 51 players with cap hits of at least $600,000. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

2017:
Base salary: $775,000
Roster bonus: $400,000 ($25,000 per game on 46-man roster)
Workout bonus: $25,000
Cap hit: $1.325 million

Sealver Siliga

2016:
Signing bonus: $0
Base salary: $675,000
Roster bonus: $200,000 ($12,500 per game on 46-man roster)
Workout bonus: $25,000
Cap hit: $900,000 – Savings from the low RFA tender would be over $700,000. Cap space taken up – $300,000 because the Patriots already have 51 players with cap hits of at least $600,000. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

2017:
Base salary: $775,000
Roster bonus: $400,000 ($25,000 per game on 46-man roster)
Workout bonus: $25,000
Cap hit: $1.2 million

Brian Tyms

2016:
Signing bonus: $0
Base salary: $675,000
Roster bonus: $200,000 ($12,500 per game on 46-man roster)
Workout bonus: $25,000
Cap hit: $900,000 – Savings from the low RFA tender would be over $700,000. Cap space taken up – $300,000 because the Patriots already have 51 players with cap hits of at least $600,000. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

2017:
Base salary: $775,000
Roster bonus: $400,000 ($25,000 per game on 46-man roster)
Workout bonus: $25,000
Cap hit: $1.2 million

On January 9th I made these projections for the Patriots UFAs. Over 3 weeks later I will stick with most of them , exception being Nate Ebner.

LB Dekoda Watson – signed to a Minimum Salary Benefit deal – 2016 cap number = $680,000. Cap space taken up = $80,000.

OL Ryan Wendell – either signs with another team or retires

CB Tarell Brown – signed to a similar deal in 2016 but since incentives are now NLTBE a smaller cap hit. Smaller signing bonus ($150K) and no week 1 $100,000 roster bonus. Deal would have $350,000 in 46-man active roster bonus. 2016 Cap number = $1,215,625. Cap space taken up = $615,265.

WR Brandon Gibson – Signed to a Minimum Salary Benefit deal – 2016 cap number = $680,000. Cap space taken up = $80,000.

WR KeShawn Martin – Signed to a small two-year incentive-laden deal- Already done. 2016 cap number=$1,287,500. Cap space taken up = $687,500.

DT Akiem Hicks – signs with another team in the hopes of more playing time and bigger contract than he would likely get from the Patriots.

RB LeGarette Blount – signs with the Patriots to another $1 million deal. Would include incentives starting at 750 yards and 30% playing-time so that they would be classified NLTBE (Not Likely to be Earned in 2016) as Blount rushed for 703 yards in 2015 while playing in 28% of the offensive snaps. Cap space taken up = $400,000.

RB Stephen Jackson – Retires

S Nate Ebner – On January 9th I projected that Ebner would be signed to a veteran minimum deal. Now think that he will sign a three-year deal with the Patriots similar to the 2014 Matthew Slater extension. Slater received a $2 million signing bonus and had $3 million guaranteed. I would guarantee Ebner $2 million. This deal positions Ebner to take on more Slater’s special-teams role in 2017 as Matthew Slater is not signed for the 2017 season.

2016:
Signing bonus: $1,200,000
Base salary: $800,000
Roster bonus: $200,000 ($12,500 per game on 46-man roster)
Cap hit: $1.4 million – Cap space taken up = $800,000

2017:
Base salary: $1,000,000
Roster bonus: $200,000 ($12,500 per game on 46-man roster)
Cap hit: $1.6 million

2018:
Base salary: $1,000,000
Roster bonus: $200,000 ($12,500 per game on 46-man roster)
Cap hit: $1.6 million

S Tavon Wilson – Signs with another team

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 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 Patscap.Com with your donation.

You can have a portion of your Amazon.Com purchases donated to the Bread of Life.
You can learn how to do so by watching a YouTube video at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eA-t4XxeOc

My offseason plan for the 2016 New England Patriots

Written by: Miguel Benzan
Posted January 29, 2016 at 9:29 pm

As of January 29 I have the Patriots 2016 total cap commitment as $153,419,971. This total is AFTER the Patriots signed all of its practice squad players to 2016 contracts and presumes that the Patriots will tender all 5 ERFAs. There have been several projections for the 2016 League cap. I will use the latest projection of $154 million. I project that that the Patriots adjusted cap number will be about $4.7 million higher than the league cap number ($158,736,007) So, as of January 29 I project the Patriots to be under their 2016 projected cap number by about $5.3 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.

10:20 PM update – Please note that during the roster cutdowns cap space will be created as lower-salaried players beat out veterans for roster spots. Example, if Kevin Snyder were to beat out Jonathan Freeney for a roster spot that would create close to $800,000 in cap space.

11:30 PM update – Noted that the $12.3 million should be enough to sign Brian Tyms, James Develin, Sealver Siliga, and Nate Ebner to deals for the 2016 season.

January 30, 10:30 AM update – Another reason for the amount of Amendola’s paycut is that I believe Edelman should get more cash than Amendola who is a lesser player. As of late January Edelman is due to receive $3.5 million if he plays all 16 games. Add another $500,000 to his total since if he does play 16 games he will earn his receptions incentive. Amendola is due to receive $5.5 million if he plays all 16 games.

There are two ways to address this imbalance.
1.) Increase Edelman’s cash intake
2.) Decrease Amendola’s cash intake

Option 2 is the more likely scenario this offseason.

January 31 – 9:15 AM Update – Why would the Patriots cut a player when it causes very little cap savings? Protect themselves from the possibility of the player who is probably not in their long-term plans from getting injured in offseason workout sessions, OTAs or training camp? Precedent-

Cameron Gordon LB 2015-05-18 Waived
Devin Gardner QB/WR 2015-05-18 Waived
Chimdi Chekwa CB 2015-05-18 Waived
Kyle Arrington CB 2015-05-11 Waived
Michael Buchanan DE 2015-05-07 Waived
Deontae Skinner LB 2015-05-05 Waived
Tyler Ott LS 2015-05-05 Waived
Alfonzo Dennard CB 2015-05-05 Waived

January 31 – 10PM update – Wanted to make clear that my offseason plan includes tendering the Patriots ERFAs (Cameron Fleming, Josh Boyce, Justin Coleman, Kevin Hughes, Rufus Johnson, and Brandon King)

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 Lafell was released, his cap number would be lowered by $2,675,000, although the actual team savings would be only $2,15,000 because another player’s $525,000 base salary would be added to the team cap.

Here’s my offseason plan for the 2016 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 a good number of alternative ways that the Patriots could create cap space.

1.) Not pick up Jerod Mayo’s option

2.) Release Brandon Lafell

3.) Release Scott Chandler

4.) Release Marcus Cannon

5.) Waive Jon Bostic

6.) Waive Aaron Dobson Why would the Patriots cut a player when it causes very little cap savings? Protect themselves from the possibility of the player who is probably not in their long-term plans from getting injured in offseason workout sessions, OTAs or training camp? 2015 Precedents –

Cameron Gordon LB 2015-05-18 Waived
Devin Gardner QB/WR 2015-05-18 Waived
Chimdi Chekwa CB 2015-05-18 Waived
Kyle Arrington CB 2015-05-11 Waived
Michael Buchanan DE 2015-05-07 Waived
Deontae Skinner LB 2015-05-05 Waived
Tyler Ott LS 2015-05-05 Waived
Alfonzo Dennard CB 2015-05-05 Waived

7.) Redo Danny Amendola’s deal lowering his $5 million salary to $1.5 million while giving him a 1m roster bonus with the chance to earn 1m back with incentives starting at 70 catches so that they would be considered NLTBE. Cap savings of $2.5 million. In 2015 his cash intake went from $4 million to $1.75m with a chance to earn $750K back. Am proposing that cash intake go from $5,437,500 to $2,937,500 with a chance to earn $750K. Pay cut is only $250,000 more than it was in 2015 while increasing cash intake from 2015. Have to credit Joel Corry @corryjoel for deal parameters. Another reason for the amount of Amendola’s paycut is that I believe Edelman should get more cash than Amendola who is a lesser player. As of late January Edelman is due to receive $3.5 million if he plays all 16 games. Add another $500,000 to his total since if he does play 16 games he will earn his receptions incentive. Amendola is due to receive $5.5 million if he plays all 16 games.

8.) Extend Donta’ Hightower through the 2020 season with a deal that would pay over $50 million over 5 years.
16 million signing bonus
Over 23 million guaranteed.
Cap numbers
2016 – 6.45m
2017 – 8.5m
2017 – 10.7m
2018 – 11.7m
2019 – 12.7m

9.) Extend Jamie Collins through the 2020 season with a deal that would pay $47.75 million over 5 years.
15 million signing bonus
22 million guaranteed.
Cap numbers
2016 – 5.5m
2017 – 8.5m
2017 – 10.25m
2018 – 11.5m
2019 – 12m

10.) Sign Tarell Brown to a similar deal as his 2015 deal except with a smaller signing bonus ($150K) and no week 1 $100,000 roster bonus. Deal would have $350,000 in 46-man active roster bonus. Cap number = $1,215,625

11.) Lower Chris Jones’ 2016 cap number to $800,000.

12.) Sign Matt Forte to a 3-year $12 million deal (same totals as an older Frank Gore got from the Colts last year)
Cap numbers in each year will equal $4 million

or go after a young, big wideout like a Marvin Jones, Mohammed Sanu, or a Rishard Matthews

13.) Sign a young tight end like a Dwayne Allen or a Ladarius Green. 2016 Cap number of $2.5 million

14.) Sign a veteran offensive lineman – 2016 cap number of $4 million.

15.) Extend Jabaal Sheard through the 2020 season with a deal that would pay $45 million over 5 years.
10 million signing bonus
16.5 million guaranteed.
Cap numbers
2016 – 5.8125m
2017 – 8.5m
2017 – 9.75m
2018 – 10.75m
2019 – 12m

16.) Tendering the Patriots ERFAs (Cameron Fleming, Josh Boyce, Justin Coleman, Kevin Hughes, Rufus Johnson, and Brandon King). Fleming at 600K. The others at 525K. They must accept offer if they wish to play in the NFL in 2016.

After all of these moves the Patriots would have $12,355,980 in cap space which is more than enough to pay for

* Sign Brian Tyms, James Develin, Sealver Siliga, and Nate Ebner to small deals (less than 1m each) for the 2016 season.

* the 2016 draft class – $1 million in cap space.

* Pay for players 52 and 53 – $900,000

* Pay for the 10-man practice squad – ($6,600 * 17 weeks * 10 players) = $1,122,000. Will round up to $1,500,000 since Patriots typically pay some practice squad players more than the minimum and the Patriots have cut players after 4PM Tuesday when the player has earned that week’s salary.

* Have a cushion for the NLTBE 46-man active roster bonuses that could be earned by Sheard, Bolden, Kline, Freeny, Fletcher, Amendola, Lewis Edelman, Vollmer, Solder, Gronkowski, McCourty, and Chung. If all thirteen players play in all sixteen games in 2016, the Patriots will then lose $1.5 million in cap space.

* Have a cushion for other reachable NLTBE incentives (1.5 million) which consist of Vollmer’s playing-time incentive ($1 million) and Edelman’s receptions incentives ($500,000).

* Have a cushion to replace injured players during preseason and regular season – $2 to $ 4 million.

* Have a cushion to extend players during regular season. $1 to $2 million.

The Pats would certainly have cap space one of their starting cornerbacks (Logan Ryan or Malcolm Butler).

The Patriots would still have the capability of creating even more cap space by extending or trading Chandler Jones.

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 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 Patscap.Com with your donation.

You can have a portion of your Amazon.Com purchases donated to the Bread of Life.
You can learn how to do so by watching a YouTube video at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eA-t4XxeOc

Listing the big decisions that the New England Patriots have to make right around the start of the 2016 League Year.

Written by: Miguel Benzan
Posted January 28, 2016 at 9:52 am

Listing the big decisions that the New England Patriots have to make right around the start of the 2016 League Year.

Last updated on January 28th.

  • Jerod Mayo – The Patriots have a $4 million option on Mayo’s first day of 2016 League Year roster bonus. They must decide to pick up the option or not by the end of the 2015 League Year. Have created a blog post dedicated to examining Jerod Mayo’s restructure
  • Alan Branch – The Patriots have a $400,000 option on Branch’s first day of 2016 League Year roster bonus. They must decide to pick up the option or not by the end of the 2015 League Year. Have created a blog post dedicated to examining Alan Branch’s deal with the Patriots
  • Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower’s 2016 options which are now guaranteed for injury only become fully guaranteed on 4PM, March 9th.
  • The Pats will have until the start of the 2016 League 4PM, March 9th to make ERFA tender offer to these six potential ERFAs (Cameron Fleming, Rufus Johnson, Kevin Hughes, Josh Boyce, Justin Coleman and Brandon King), The tender offer equals the minimum salary for a player with the amount of credited seasons. The tender offer for Cameron Fleming will be $600,000 while the tender offers for Kevin Hughes, Josh Boyce, Justin Coleman and Brandon King will be $525,000.
  • The Pats will have until the start of the 2016 League Year to these potential RFAs (James Develin, Brian Tyms, Sealver Siliga, and LaAdrain Waddle). The 2015 tenders were $3.354 million for the 1st round tender, $2.356 million for the 2nd round tender, and $1.542 million for original round tenders. The minimum increase is 5%. The maximum increase is 10%.
  • Out of the potential UFAs (Ryan Wendell, Brandon Gibson, Tarell Brown, Akiem Hicks, Tavon Wilson, DaKoda Watson, Stephen Jackson, Nate Ebner, and LaGarette Blount) none of them are worthy of a franchise tag.
  • Pats have a total of 74 players (53 active, 2 PUP, 18 IR, 1 NFI).
    55 of them signed for 2016
    6 will be ERFA
    4 will be RFA
    9 will be UFA
  • Rob Gronkowski – The Patriots will have until the start of the 2016 League to pick up Gronkowski’s $6 million option bonus. If they do, he will be signed through the 2019 season. As it stands right now, Gronk will have the 9th highest cap hit for a tight end in 2016, 7th highest in 2017, and the highest in both 2018 and 2019. The option bonus was originally $10 million but on July 30th the Patriots paid Gronkowski $4 million. Source for Gronk’s rankings: http://www.overthecap.com. If the Patriots do not, Gronk will become a free agent at the start of the 2016 League Year and the Patriots can not place the franchise tag on him.
  • Jabaal Sheard – $500,000 of Sheard’s 2016 salary becomes fully guaranteed the 5th day of the 2016 league year.

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 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
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Malden, MA 02148
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Tracking New England Patriots Incentives after the AFC Championship Game

Written by: Miguel Benzan
Posted January 27, 2016 at 7:42 pm

LTBE incentives count against the team’s salary cap in the year that they are scheduled to be earned. All but 1 (46-man active roster) NLTBE bonuses do not.
LTBE = Likely to Be Earned
NLTBE= Not Likely to be Earned

At the end of the season, the NFL calculates how much each team had set aside for LTBEs that weren’t earned – or said differently, it figures out how much was charged to the team’s cap that was not actually spent. Similarly, the NFL calculates the amount of incentives designated NLTBE that were actually earned. If the unearned LTBEs are greater than the earned NLTBEs, then the following year’s salary cap for that team is increased by the net amount. Similarly, if the earned NLTBEs exceed the unearned LTBEs, then the team’s cap for the following year is lowered by that amount. You can see an example of the effect of cap adjustments at NFLPlayers.Com. The teams with negative cap adjustments had most likely earned more NLTBE incentives in 2014 than they did not earn LTBE incentives.

In 2015 the Patriots received a debit of $5,143,970 toward their 2015 cap number because of the LTBE/NTLBE calculation.
The 2015 Patriots adjusted cap of $144,578,084 consists of $143,280,000 (League Cap) + $5,258,054 (rollover amount from 2014 season) + $1,184,000 (Aaron Hernandez credit) – $5,143,970 (LTBE/NTLE adjustment).

LTBE Incentives ($3,617,500 total)

* Matthew Slater has a $100,000 Pro Bowl incentive – Earned
* Alan Branch’s weight bonus – $400,000 – Probable
* Marcus Cannon’s weight bonus – $100,000- Probable
* Travaris Cadet’s one-time 53-man roster bonus – $50,000 – Earned Week 1
* Joe Cardona’s one-time 53-man roster bonus – $17,500 – Earned Week 1
* Tarell Brown’s one-time 53-man roster bonus – $100,000 – Earned Week 1

* Julian Edelman has a $500,000 receptions incentive that can be earned in one of the following four ways:
1.)1,057 receiving yards – Unearned
2.)70 receptions plus seven TDs – Unearned
3.)80 receptions plus 13 wins – Unearned
4.)80 receptions plus Super Bowl appearance – Unearned
After 16 games, Julian has 61 receptions totaling 692 yards. He has 7 receiving touchdowns and the Patriots have won twelve games. Unearned

* Brandon Lafell has a $300,000 incentive that is tied to receiving yards. $200,000 is earned at the 800 yard level. Another $100,000 is earned at the 900 yard level. After 16 games Lafell has 515 receiving yards – 800 yards – Unearned. 900 yards – Unearned
* Tarell Brown’s playing time incentive – $500,000. Given that Tarell Brown will miss 13 games in 2015, it will be impossible for him to earn this playing-time incentive – Unearned
* Ryan Wendell’s playing time incentive – $800,000. Wendell played in 77.8% of the offensive snaps in 2014. After 15 games Wendell has played in about 1% of the snaps so far. Given that Ryan Wendell is now on IR he will probably end the year playing 1% of the snaps. – Unearned
* Sebastian Vollmer’s 80% playing-time incentive- $750,000. After 15 games Vollmer played in 77.1% of the snaps so far in 2015. – Since he missed the Dolphins game, Vollmer can’t earn this incentive. Unearned

46-man per-game roster bonuses – As of January 3, 2016, 9:00 PM, the Patriots have $5,878,750 in 46-man active roster bonuses that are now counting against their 2015 cap

* Jabaal Sheard has a $62,500 per active game roster bonus. Sheard played in 16 games in 2014 so his LTBE amount is $1,000,000 ($62,500*16). Sheard has been active for 13 games this year.
* Sebastian Vollmer has a $62,500 per game roster bonus. Vollmer played in 15 games in 2014 so his LTBE amount is $937,500 ($62,500*15). Vollmer has been active for 14 games this year.
* Julian Edelman has a $46,875 per game roster bonus. Edelman played in 14 games in 2014 so his LTBE amount is $656,250 ($46,875*14). Edelman has been active for 9 games this year.
* Devin McCourty has a $31,250 per game roster bonus. McCourty played in 16 games in 2014 so his LTBE amount is $500,000 ($31,250*16). McCourty has been active for 14 games this year.
* Danny Amendola has a $31,250 per game roster bonus. Amendola played in 16 games in 2014 so his LTBE amount is $500,000 ($31,250*16). Amendola has been active for 14 games this year.
* Rob Ninkovich has a $25,000 per game roster bonus. Ninkovich played in 16 games in 2014 so his LTBE amount is $400,000 ($25,000*16). Ninkovich has been active for all 16 games this year.
* Brandon Lafell has a $25,000 per game roster bonus. Lafell played in 16 games last year so his LTBE amount is $400,000 ($25,000 *16). Lafell has been active for 11 games this year.
* Marcus Cannon has a $15,625 per game roster bonus. Cannon played in 16 games in 2014 so his LTBE amount is $250,000 ($15,625*16). Cannon has been active for 12 games this year.
* Alan Branch has a $25,000 per game roster bonus. Branch played in 8 games in 2014 so his LTBE amount is $200,000 ($25,000*16). Branch has been active for all 16 games this year.
* Patrick Chung has a $12,500 per game roster bonus. Chung played in 16 games in 2014 so his LTBE amount is $200,000 ($12,500*16). Chung has been active for 16 games this year
* Stephen Gostkowski has a $12,500 per game roster bonus. Gostkowski played in 16 games in 2014 so his LTBE amount is $200,000 ($12,500*16). Gostkowski has been active for all 16 games this year.
* Brandon Bolden has a $12,500 per game roster bonus. Bolden played in 16 games in 2014 so his LTBE amount is $200,000 ($12,500*16). Bolden has been active for 15 games this year.
* Ryan Wendell has a $12,500 per game roster bonus. Wendell played in 14 games last year so his LTBE amount is $175,000 ($12,500 *14). Wendell was active for 2 games this year before being placed on IR.
* Michael Hoomanawanui had a $6,250 per game roster bonus. Hoomanawanui played in 16 games in 2014 so his LTBE amount was $100,000 ($6,250 *16). Hoomanawanui was inactive for 1 game before being traded.
* LaGarrette Blount had a $6,250 per game roster bonus. Blount played in 16 games in 2014 so his LTBE amount was $100,000 ($6,250 *16). Blount was active for 12 games this year before being placed on IR on December 16th.
* Dane Fletcher had a $6,000 per game roster bonus that maxes at $60,000 (10 games). Dane Fletcher played in 16 games in 2014 so his LTBE amount is $60,000. Dane Fletcher has not been active for a game this year.

NLTBE Incentives ($6,381,250 total)

* Sebastian Vollmer has a 250K NLTBE Pro Bowl incentive – Unearned
* Jerod Mayo has a 300K NLTBE Pro Bowl incentive- Unearned
* Nate Solder has a 500K NLTBE Pro Bowl incentive – Unearned
* LaGarrette Blount’s 20% playing time incentive – Earned since Blount played in 27.5% of the offensive snaps in 2015.
* LaGarrette Blount has a $100,000 incentive tied to rushing yards – Earned by rushing over 600 yards.
* Sebastian Vollmer’s playing time incentive – $1 million if he plays in 90% of the offensive snaps. Vollmer has played less than 77% of the offensive snaps this year making it impossible for him to earn this incentive. – Unearned
* Marcus Cannon’s playing time incentive – $250,000 if he plays in 80% of the offensive snaps. Cannon has placed in 50.8% of the offensive snaps this year making it impossible for him to earn this incentive. – Unearned
* Alan Branch’s playing time incentive – $750,000. Branch has played in 40% of the defensive snaps in 2015 making it impossible for earn this incentive.
50% playing-time – $250,000 – Unearned
55% playing-time for another $250,000 ($500,000 total) – Unearned
65% playing-time for another $250,000 ($750,000 total) – Unearned
* Jerod Mayo can earn up to $1.5 million in playing-time incentives if he plays in 85% of the snaps. Mayo has played in 29% of the snaps making it impossible for him to earn this incentive. – Unearned

Danny Amendola has a $750,000 NLTBE incentive that is tied to receptions. His incentive is tiered. ($150,000 for 40 catches, another $150,000 for 50 receptions, another $225,000 for 60 catches, and another $225,000 for 70 receptions). After 16 games Amendola has caught 65 passes already surpassing the three lowest levels) –
40 catches for $150,000 – Earned
50 catches for another $150,000 ($300,000 total) – Earned
60 catches for another $225,000 ($525,000 total) – Earned
70 catches for another $150,000 ($750,000 total) – Unearned

Per the CBA, “Any roster bonus which is deemed not “likely to be earned” based upon the player’s performance during the prior year shall immediately be included in Team Salary when earned” so as the below players play in more games in 2015 than they did in 2014 the Patriots will lose cap space in the amount of the 46-man active roster bonus. Example – Alan Branch played in 8 games in 2014. He played in 16 games in 2015. The Patriots have lost $200,000 ($25,000 * 8) in cap space so far this season.

* Alan Branch has a $25,000 46-man active per game roster bonus. Branch played in 8 games in 2014 so his NLTBE amount is $200,000 ($25,000 * 8). Branch has been active for 16 games this year.
* Sebastian Vollmer has a $62,500 46-man active per game roster bonus. Vollmer played in 15 games in 2014 so his NLTBE amount is $62,500 ($62,500*1). Since Vollmer has missed two games this year, it will not be possible for Vollmer to reach this incentive.
* Julian Edelman has a $46,875 46-man active per game roster bonus. Edelman played in 14 games in 2014 so his NLTBE amount is $93,750 ($46,875*2). Since Edelman missed seven games this year, it will not be possible for Vollmer to reach this incentive.

Amount - Event - Likelihood
   $250,000 - Vollmer making the Pro Bowl                                    - Unearned
   $500,000 - Solder making the Pro Bowl                                     - Unearned
   $300,000 - Mayo making the Pro Bowl                                       - Unearned
 $1,000,000 - Vollmer exceeding 90% playing time                             - Unearned
   $100,000 - Blount exceeding 20% playing time                              - Earned
   $100,000 - Blount exceeding 600 yards rushing                             - Earned
   $150,000 - Amendola catching 40 receptions                                - Earned
   $300,000 - Amendola catching 50 catches                                   - Earned
   $525,000 - Amendola catching 60 catches                                   - Earned
   $750,000 - Amendola catching 70 catches                                   - Unearned
 $1,500,000 - Mayo's 85% playing-time incentive                              - Unearned
   $750,000 - Alan Branch's playing-time incentive                           - Unearned
   $500,000 - Wendell's playing-time incentive                               - Unearned
   $200,000 - Branch being on the 46-man active roster for more than 8 games - Earned and already counting against 2015 cap
    $25,000 - Wendell being on the 46-man roster for all 16 games            - Unearned
    $93,750 - Edelman being on the 46-man roster for 16 games                - Unearned

Totals
$5,456,250 Unearned
  $200,000 Earned and counting against 2015 cap
  $725,000 Earned and will count against 2016 cap
$6,381,250 NLTBE incentive

As far as I know, the Patriots will not be credited with any unreached LTBE incentives (Tarell Brown’s playing-time, for example) in 2015. What will happened is that any unreached LTBE incentives will be used to offset NLTBE incentives that were actually earned by other players at the end of the year and there will be an adjustment made to the Patriots 2016 cap number.

After the AFC Championship Game
Negative means that the player will reached or has reached a NLTBE incentive
Positive means that the player did not earned a LTBE incentive

* Ryan Wendell’s playing-time ($800,000)
* Sebastian Vollmer’s playing-time ($750,000)
* Julian Edelman’s receptions ($500,000)
* Tarell Brown’s playing-time ($500,000)
* Brandon Lafell’s reception yardage (900 yards total) ($300,000)
* Julian Edelman’s 46-man active roster bonus ($243,375)
* Jabaal Sheard’s 46-man active roster bonus ($187,500)
* Ryan Wendell’s 46-man active roster bonus ($150,000)
* Brandon Lafell’s 46-man active roster bonus ($125,000)
* Danny Amendola’s 46-man active roster bonus ($62,500)
* Sebastian Vollmer’s 46-man active roster bonus ($62,500)
* Devin McCourty’s 46-man active roster bonus ($62,500)
* Marcus Cannon’s 46-man active roster bonus ($62,500)
* Dane Fletcher’s 46-man active roster bonus ($60,000)
* Brandon Bolden’s 46-man active roster bonus ($12,500)
* LaGarrette Blount’s 46-man active roster bonus ($25,000)
* Michael Hoomanawanui’s 46-man active roster bonus ($6,250)
* LaGarrette Blount’s rushing incentive (-$100,000)
* LaGarrette Blount’s playing-time incentive (-$100,000)
* Danny Amendola’s receptions incentives (-$525,000)
* Totals ($3,188,125)

The $3,188,125 LTBE/NLTBE adjustment will be included in the Patriots 2016 adjusted salary cap number calculation as a credit. If 2016 League Cap is $154 million, the Patriots 2016 adjusted cap number would then be $157,188,125 before including the 2015 rollover amount. The 2015 rollover amount will be $1,347,882. So my current projection for the Patriots 2016 adjusted cap number is $158,536,007 (League Cap of $154 million plus $1,347,882 rollover plus $3,188,125 adjustment).

Another way that incentives will affect the Patriots salary cap in 2015 is how the incentives changed the player’s 2016 cap number.

* Nate Solder’s $31,250 per active game roster bonus is now LTBE for 4 games, not 16 in 2016 – an decrease of $375,000
* Jabaal Sheard’s $62,500 per game roster bonus is now LTBE for all 13 games in 2016. It was 16 in 2015 – an decrease of $187,500
* Marcus Cannon’s $15,625 per game roster bonus is now LTBE for 12 games in 2016. It was 16 in 2015 – an decrease of $62,500
* Brandon Lafell’s $25,000 per game roster bonus is now LTBE for 11 games in 2016. It was 16 in 2015 – an decrease of $125,000
* Alan Branch’s $25,000 per game roster bonus is LTBE for 15 games in 2016. It was 8 in 2015 – an increase of $175,000
* Brandon Bolden’s $21,875 per game roster bonus is LTBE for 15 games in 2016. It was 16 in 2015 – an decrease of $21,875
* Sebastian Vollmer’s $62,500 per game roster bonus is LTBE for 14 games in 2016. It was 15 in 2015 – an decrease of $62,500
* By playing in 73% of the snaps Sebastian Vollmer did not earn his 1 million roster bonus for 2016 that was tied to 80% playing time.
* Rob Gronkowski’s $31,250 per game roster bonus is LTBE for 15 games in 2016, not 16 – an decrease of $31,250
* Danny Amendola’s $31,250 per game roster bonus is LTBE for 14 games in 2016. It was 16 in 2015 – an decrease of $62,500
* Devin McCourty’s $31,250 per game roster bonus is LTBE for 14 games in 2016. It was 16 in 2015 – an decrease of $62,500
* Julian Edelman’s $46,875 per game roster bonus is now LTBE for 9 games in 2016. It was LTBE for 14 games in 2015, a decrease of $234,375.
* Julian Edelman’s $500,000 incentive that can be earned in one of the following four ways:
1.) 1,057 receiving yards
2.) 70 receptions plus seven TDs
3.) 80 receptions plus 13 wins
4.) 80 receptions plus Super Bowl appearance
is now NLTBE for 2016, a decrease of $500,000

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
useful that if you are able to do so, please make a donation to the Bread of Life
soup kitchen/food pantry. http://www.breadoflifemalden.org/
Their address is
Attn: Mea Quinn Mustone
Bread of Life
54 Eastern Avenue, Rear
Malden, MA 02148
Please mention this website Patscap.Com with your donation.
You can have a portion of your Amazon.Com purchases donated to the Bread of Life.
You can learn how to do so by watching a YouTube video at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eA-t4XxeOc

How the New England Patriots can create cap space in 2016

Written by: Miguel Benzan
Posted January 24, 2016 at 11:47 pm

As of January 24, I have the Patriots 2016 total cap commitments as $153,419,971. The $153,419,971 total presumes that the Patriots will sign all of its practice squad players to 2016 contracts as well as tender all 6 of its Exclusive Rights Free Agents (ERFAs). There are several projections for the 2016 League cap. For the time being, I am using $154 million. I project that that the Patriots adjusted cap number will be about $4,736,007 higher than the league cap number. So, as of January 24th I project the Patriots to be under their projected cap number by about $5.3 million. So it appears that the Patriots will need to create cap space by releasing veterans or renegotiating existing contracts in order to stay under the cap during the 2016 season. 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 Mayo’s option was not picked up, his cap number would be lowered by $7,000,000, although the actual team savings would be only $6,475,000 because another player’s $525,000 base salary would be added to the team cap.

You can see all of the possible cap savings for all of the 2016 Patriots at patscap.com

Here are some possible ways that the Pats could free up cap space. Please note that I am NOT advocating nor I am suggesting 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 2016 cap number. Please note that following some option will result in increasing the player’s cap numbers for future seasons.

1.) Extend Tom Brady through the 2020 season while paying him a $33 million signing bonus and lowering his 2016 salary to 1 million. This would lower his 2016 cap number from $15 million to $13.6 million
2.)Convert 8 million of Tom Brady’s 2016 salary into a signing bonus lowering his 2016 cap number from $15 million to $11 million while increasing his 2017 cap number from $16 million to $20 million
3.) Not pick up Jerod Mayo’s option creating net cap savings of $6.425 million.
4.) Lower’s Mayo’ 2016 cash intake from $8 million to 1 million for a net cap savings of 7 million
5.) Trade Chandler Jones for a net cap savings of $7,274,000
6.) Sign Chandler Jones to an extension. A deal that is slightly better than Robert Quinn’s would create $1.249 million in cap space
Chandler Jones' extension
7.)Sign Donta’ Hightower to an extension. A deal that is slightly better than Bobby Wagner’s would create $1.301 million in cap space
Donta' Hightower's extension

8.) Extend or Restructure Danny Amendola’s deal giving him a signing bonus in return for a lower salary in 2016 with a chance to make up some of the lost money in with incentives – net cap savings of between $2 million and $3 million
9.) Cut Danny Amendola for a net cap savings of $4,070,832
10.) Extend Jabaal Sheard through the 2020 season for a net cap savings of 1 million.
Jabaal Sheard' extension
11.) Release Marcus Cannon for a net cap savings of $3,162,500
12.) Release Brandon Lafell for a net cap savings of $2.15 million
13.) Release Scott Chandler for a net cap savings of $1.525 million
14.) Have Chris Jones take a paycut from $1.668 million with a chance to earn some money by reaching incentives – net cap savings ranging from 600K to 800K.
15.) Waive Chris Jones for a net cap savings of around $1 million
16.) Waive Aaron Dobson for a net cap savings of $347,505
17.) Waive Jon Bostic for a net cap savings of $417,381
18.) Not pick up Alan Branch’s option for a net cap savings of $1.875 million
19.) Release Sebastion Vollmer for a net cap savings of $2.6 million
20.) Release Rob Ninkovich for a net cap savings of $1.475 million.
21.) Release Josh Kline for a net cap savings of $1.4 million

Here are the moves that I think that will happen

Extend Hightower
Restructure Danny Amendola
Release Lafell
Not pick up Mayo’s option
Release Scott Chandler
Release Marcus Cannon
Waive Chris Jones

As you can see from above, the Pats could create over 20 million in cap space if they chose to do all of my bolded predictions.

The Patriots may wait to do the other bolded moves for when they need to create cap space or during roster cutdowns.

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 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 Patscap.Com with your donation.

You can have a portion of your Amazon.Com purchases donated to the Bread of Life.
You can learn how to do so by watching a YouTube video at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eA-t4XxeOc

Previewing the New England Patriots 2016 Salary Cap (Part 2) – Offense and Special Teams

Written by: Miguel Benzan
Posted January 9, 2016 at 6:25 pm

A couple of my Twitter followers asked for a New England Patriots 2016 salary cap preview. Please note that I have used Brian McFarland’s preview of the Ravens 2016 salary cap a template for this blog post.

These numbers were last updated on January 9, 2016.

January 31 update – Noted that KeShawn Martin was extended after this blog was first published on January 9th.

Quick summary – The Patriots are going to have to make several difficult decisions in the next couple of years about which young players to retain. I will presume that the 2016 salary cap will be $154 million. Given that we are about 2 months away from the start of the 2016 League Year (4PM, March 9) this preview may be premature so I plan to update this later this year as we come close to the start of the 2016 League Year.

In order to keep these blog posts relatively short I had to break up this preview into 3 pieces.
The first blog explains my projections for the 2016 Patriots adjusted salary cap number. This post projects what will happen with the Patriots unrestricted free agents, the players on the offensive side of the ball and the special teamers. The third blog will project what will happen with the defensive players.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (UFAs)
The following 9 Patriots are Unrestricted Free Agents (UFAs) and will be free to sign with other teams if they haven’t re-signed with the Patriots before Free Agency begins on March 9th at 4:00 p.m.:

LB – Dekoda Watson ($585,000 salary, $34,412 cap)
OL – Ryan Wendell ($2,406,240 cap)
CB – Tarell Brown ($2,000,000 cap)
WR – Brandon Gibson ($671,240 cap)
DT – Akiem Hicks ($1,542,000 salary, $1,259,588 cap)
RB – LeGarette Blount ($962,122 cap)
RB – Stephen Jackson ($970,000 salary, $114,117 cap)
S – Nate Ebner ($690,390 cap)
S – Tavon Wilson ($1,348,297 cap)

The Patriots do not have any UFAs that must be re-signed. 4 UFAs (Wendell, Brown, Gibson, Blount) are currently on IR. There is no chance that any of the nine UFAs will be given the franchise tag.

1/9 projections on what will happen with the 10 UFAs
LB – Dekoda Watson – signed to a Minimum Salary Benefit deal
OL – Ryan Wendell – either signs with another team or retires
CB – Tarell Brown – signed to a similar deal in 2016 but since incentives are now NLTBE a smaller cap hit
WR – Brandon Gibson – Signed to a Minimum Salary Benefit deal
WR – KeShawn Martin – Signed to a small two-year incentive-laden deal – Done
DT – Akiem Hicks – signs with another team in the hopes of more playing time
RB – LeGarette Blount – signs with the Patriots to another $1 million deal.
RB – Stephen Jackson – Retires
S – Nate Ebner – Signs a Minimum Salary Benefit deal and competes for a roster spot during training camp
S – Tavon Wilson – Signs with another team

I am now going to examine by position the most likely 2016 salary cap consequences for the player.

Background information – The CBA says that “a Rookie Contract for a Drafted Rookie may not be renegotiated, amended or altered in any way until after the final regular season game of the player’s third contract year” which means that the contracts of the Patriots drafted in 2014 or 2015 can not be redone at all during the 2016 season. This affects Dominique Easley, Jimmy Garoppolo, Bryan Stork, James White, Tyler Gaffney, Malcom Brown, Jordan Richards, Geneo Grissom, Trey Flowers, Tre’ Jackson, Shaq Mason, Joe Cardona, A.J. Derby and Darryl Roberts. The CBA also says that a “Rookie Contract for an Undrafted Rookie may not be renegotiated, amended or altered in any way until after the final regular season game of the player’s second contract year” which means that David Andrews’ contract can not be redone during the 2016 season.

More background information – The 2016 League Year starts at 4PM, March 9th. By the time the 2016 League Year the player with the 51st highest cap number will have a salary of $600,000. Am presuming that the Patriots will tender all of the ERFAs (Exclusive Rights Free Agents).

The first number after the player is their 2016 salary cap number. The second number is the year that the player is signed through.

QBs (2): Tom Brady ($15M, 2017 ); Jimmy Garoppolo ($950,154, 2017)

Per the CBA Jimmy Garoppolo’s contract can not be touched until after the 2016 season so his 2016 salary cap number will remain at $950,154 – a bargain price for a backup quarterback. Like Jimmy Garoppolo Tom Brady is signed through the 2017 season.

In the past the Patriots and Tom Brady have reached extensions when he has two years left on his deal. Given how Tom Brady’s willingness to play at a discount price for such an elite quarterback the most likely scenario is that Brady plays out the 2016 season at his $15 million cap number, which is currently the 19th highest cap number for a quarterback in 2016. Brady will move up the ranking to 16th after Peyton Manning, Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick are released by their current teams. There is a small possibility that the Patriots reach an 3-year extension with Brady keeping him with the team through the 2020 season. Such a deal could lower Brady’s salary to $1 million while giving him a signing bonus. Any extension with Brady would likely lower his 2016 cap number by a couple of million dollars

RBs (4): Brandon Bolden ($1,263,125, 2016); Dion Lewis ($1.0875M, 2017 ); James White ($699,272, 2017 ); Tyler Gaffney ($600K, 2017);

Per the CBA the contracts of James White and Tyler Gaffney can not be touched until after the 2016 season so their 2016 salary cap number will remain the same.

Since Dion Lewis just signed an extension and is coming off a season-ending injury, can’t imagine that his deal will be touched this year so he will remain a bargain. Please note that as Dion Lewis is active for more games than he was in 2015 (7) his salary cap number will go up by $12,500 as he earns a NLTBE (Not Likely to Be Earned) 46-man active roster bonus.

I fully expect Brandon Bolden to play the 2016 season on his current deal and to reach a deal with the Patriots soon after the 2016 season. If Brandon Bolden is active for all 16 games during the 2016 season his salary cap number will go up by $21,875 as he earns a NLTBE (Not Likely to Be Earned) 46-man active roster bonus.

The Patriots will need to reserve a total of $134,375 just in case both Lewis and Bolden are active for 16 games.

WRs (6): Danny Amendola ($7,329,166,2017); Julian Edelman ($4,421,875,2017); Brandon Lafell ($3.675M, 2016); Aaron Dobson ($1,090,845, 2016); Chris Harper ($525K, 2016); Boyce ($525K)

Expect that Chris Harper will be competing for a roster spot during training camp. But if cut before then Harper would leave no dead money on the cap while not creating any cap space since it is very likely that Harper will not have the 51 highest salary cap numbers therefore his $525K salary would not count against the cap. While waiving Dodson creates little cap space ($272,505 total) I expect him to be waived before the start of training camp, probably in March so as to avoid the possibility of him getting injured.

Expect that Josh Boyce will be tendered as an ERFA and that he will compete for a roster spot during training camp. If cut Boyce would leave no dead money on the cap while not creating any cap space since it is very likely that Boyces will not have the 51 highest salary cap numbers therefore his $525K salary would not count against the cap.

After missing 7 games during the 2015 season I expect Julian Edelman to play the 2016 season without a change to his contract. Please note that as Edelman is active for more games than he was in 2015 (9) his salary cap number will go up by $46,875 as he earns a NLTBE (Not Likely to Be Earned) 46-man active roster bonus. The Patriots will need to reserve a total of $328,125 just in case Edelman is active for all 16 games during the 2016 season. Edelman has a $500,000 NLTBE incentive if one of the following four things happens in 2016:

  1. 1,057 receiving yards
  2. 70 receptions plus seven TDs
  3. 80 receptions plus 13 wins
  4. 80 receptions plus Super Bowl appearance

Given his 2015 poor season and the Patriots’ need to create cap space for the 2016 season I project Lafell to be cut before the start of the 2016 League Year. Cutting Lafell will create $2,075,000 in cap space while creating 1 million in dead money.

I project that Danny Amendola will reach another restructure with the Patriots that lowers his 2016 cap number. His 2016 cap number is currently the 24th highest among all wideouts and is close to 3 million more than Edelman’s. Since Edelman is a superior player expect Pats to attempt to lower the 3 million difference. Most likely scenario is an deal that lowers Amendola’s salary to maybe a million while giving a small signing bonus (2 to 3 million) in return. Such a deal would lower his 2016 cap number by $3 million while increasing his 2017 cap number by 1 million to $9,391,668. Another scenario would be a straight paycut. Another scenario, however unlikely, is that the Patriots completely redo Amendola’s deal by extending him while paying him a medium signing bonus ($5 to 8 million). Such an extension would lower both his 2016 and 2017 cap numbers.

TE (4): Rob Gronkowski ($6,618,750, 2019); Scott Chandler ($3.050M, 2016 ); Michael Williams ($525K, 2016); A.J. Derby ($478,013, 2018)

Per the CBA A.J. Derby’s contract can not be touched until after the 2016 season so his 2016 salary cap number will remain the same.

Expect that Michael Williams will be competing for a roster spot during training camp. But if cut before then Williams would leave no dead money on the cap while not creating any cap space since it is very likely that Williams will not have the 51 highest salary cap numbers therefore his $525K salary would not count against the cap.

Given his 2015 poor season and the Patriots’ need to create cap space for the 2016 season I project Scott Chandler to be cut before the start of the 2016 League Year. Cutting Scott Chandler will create $1,450,000 in cap space while creating 1 million in dead money.

The Patriots have until 4PM March 9th to pick up Gronkowski’s option. Fully expect them to do so. Do not expect any changes to his 2016 cap number since it is such a bargain price for one of the game’s best players.

OL (10): Nate Solder ($10,322,666, 2017); Sebastian Vollmer ($5,208,334, 2016 ); Marcus Cannon ($4,754,168, 2016); Josh Kline ($2.175M, 2017); Bryan Stork ($719,250, 2017); Tre’ Jackson ($655,935,2018); Shaq Mason ($635,881, 2018), David Andrews ($530K, 2017), Cameron Fleming ($600K, 2016), Kevin Hughes ($525K, 2016)

Per the CBA the contracts of Bryan Stork and David Andrews can not be touched until after the 2016 season so their 2016 salary cap number will remain the same. Per the CBA the contracts of Tre’ Jackson and Shaq Mason can not be touched until after the 2017 season so their 2016 salary cap number will remain the sameGiven the Patriots need to develop backup offensive tackles expect Kevin Hughes who spent the entire season on IR to be tendered as an ERFA. Also expect that Kevin Hughes will be competing for a roster spot during training camp. If cut Hughes would leave no dead money on the cap while not creating any cap space since it is very likely that Hughes will not have the 51 highest salary cap numbers therefore his $525K salary would not count against the cap.

Expect Cameron Fleming who started 5 games at right tackle and one at left tackle to be tendered as an ERFA. Also expect that Kevin Hughes will be competing for a roster spot during training camp. If cut Cameron Fleming would leave no dead money on the cap while not creating any cap space since it is very likely that he will be tied for the 51 highest salary cap number therefore his $600K salary would not count against the cap.

Since Solder’s 2016 6 million salary is fully guaranteed, there is no chance that the Patriots will release him during the 2016 season as there would be very little cap savings in doing so. Please note that as Solder is active for more games than he was in 2015 (4) his salary cap number will go up by $31,250 as he earns a NLTBE (Not Likely to Be Earned) 46-man active roster bonus. The Patriots will need to reserve a total of $375,000 just in case Edelman is active for all 16 games during the 2016 season.

Since Josh Kline signed an extension in 2015, can’t imagine that his deal will be touched this year so he will remain a bargain for an interior linemen. Please note that as Kline is active for more games than he was in 2015 (14) his salary cap number will go up by $12,500 as he earns a NLTBE (Not Likely to Be Earned) 46-man active roster bonus. The Patriots will need to reserve a total of $25,000 just in case Kline is active for all 16 games during the 2016 season.

Because he did not earn his 75% playing-time incentive Vollmer’s 2016 salary cap number of just over $5.2 million is a bargain for a starting right tackle in the league.

Project Marcus Cannon to be cut sometime during the 2016 season. The Patriots may cut him early during the 2016 League Year if they feel the need to create cap space in order to sign/extend other players. They may wait until the roster cutdowns to cut Cannon just in case they have not found a capable replacement for him. Cutting Cannon would create $3,087,500 in cap space.

ST (4): Stephen Gostkowski ($4.1M) Matthew Slater ($1,766,668); Ryan Allen ($1.7M); Joe Cardona ($587.5K)

Do not expect any changes to any of the four contracts in 2016.

My next blog will cover the defensive side of the ball.

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 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 Patscap.Com with your donation.

You can have a portion of your Amazon.Com purchases donated to the Bread of Life.
You can learn how to do so by watching a YouTube video at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eA-t4XxeOc

Previewing the New England Patriots 2016 Salary Cap (Part 1)

Written by: Miguel Benzan
Posted January 6, 2016 at 7:34 pm

A couple of my Twitter followers asked for a New England Patiots 2016 salary cap preview. Please note that I have used Brian McFarland’s preview of the Ravens 2016 salary cap a template for this blog post.

These numbers were last updated on January 6, 2016.

Quick summary – The Patriots are going to have to make several difficult decisions in the next couple of years about which young players to retain. I will presume that the 2016 salary cap will be $154 million. Given that we are about 2 months away from the start of the 2016 League Year (4PM, March 9) this preview is a bit premature so I plan to update this in February after the Super Bowl.

PLAYERS UNDER CONTRACT
The Patriots presently have the following 53 players under contract for 2016 (with Cap Numbers indicated):

QBs (2): Tom Brady ($15M); Jimmy Garoppolo ($950,154)

RBs (4): Brandon Bolden ($1,263,125); Dion Lewis ($1.0875M); James White ($699,272); Tyler Gaffney ($600K);

WRs (5): Danny Amendola ($7,329,166); Julian Edelman ($4,421,875); Brandon Lafell ($3.675M); Aaron Dobson ($1,090,845); Chris Harper ($525K)

TE (4): Rob Gronkowski ($6,618,750); Scott Chandler ($3.050M); Michael Williams ($525K); A.J. Derby ($478,013)

OL (8): Nate Solder ($10,322,666); Sebastian Vollmer ($5,208,334); Marcus Cannon ($4,754,168); Josh Kline ($2.175M); Bryan Stork ($719,250); Tre’ Jackson ($655,935); Shaq Mason ($635,881), David Andrews ($530K)

DL (10): Chandler Jones ($7.799M); Jabaal Sheard ($6.8125M); Rob Ninkovich ($4.75M); Alan Branch ($2.8M); Dominique Easley ($1,991,877); Malcom Brown ($1,730,280); Chris Jones ($1.668M); Ishmaa’ily Kitchen, Geneo Grissom ($680,487); Trey Flowers ($664,733)

LBs (8): Jerod Mayo ($11.4M); Dont’a Hightower ($7.751M); Jonathan Freeney ($1,453,125); Jamie Collins($1,196,683); Jonathan Bostic($942,381); Darius Fleming ($675K); Eric Martin ($675K); Dane Fletcher ($600K)

CBs (3): Logan Ryan ($1,828,813); Leonard Johnson ($760K); Malcolm Butler ($600K); Darryl Roberts ($463,556);

S (4): Devin McCourty ($7,937,500); Patrick Chung ($3,287,500); Jordan Richards($843,534); Duron Harmon ($814.4K);

ST (4): Stephen Gostkowski ($4.1M) Matthew Slater ($1,766,668); Ryan Allen ($1.7M); Joe Cardona ($587.5K)

The above 53 players are under contract for a total Salary Cap commitment (which includes dead money from players no longer on the team) of $151,202,871.

Initial projections have estimated that the 2016 Salary Cap would see an increase of $11M, moving the Cap up to around $154M.

So, using the figure of $154M for the estimated Cap, the Patriots will initially have around $2,797,129 in Cap space.

This will be the basis for early reports on the status of the Patriots’ Salary Cap, but it’s important to keep in mind that this number is based only on the 53 players that are presently under contract and nowhere near representative of the team’s Cap with a full roster.

So, between now and March 9th at 4:00 p.m., when the new league year begins and free agency begins, the Patriots will have a lot of work to do.

PRACTICE SQUAD FREE AGENTS (FAs)
In past years, the Patriots have usually re-signed all of their Practice Squad players to contracts for the coming year. The announcement of those signed should come right after the Super Bowl.

The 9 players currently on the Practice Squad are:

RB – Montee Ball
LB – Kevin Snyder
FB – Joey Iosefa
S – Brock Vereen
G – Chris Barker
CB – Rashaan Melvin
OL – Keavon Milton
OL – Torrian Wilson
WR – DeAndre Carter

Kevin Snyder, DeAndre Carter, Joey Iosefa and Torrian Wilson will be signed to contracts with 2016 salaries equaling $450K. Based on already having a credited season in the NFL, Chris Barker and Keavon Milton would receive contracts with 2016 salaries equaling $525K. With two credited seasons Montee Ball and Brock Vereen would receive contracts with 2016 salaries equaling $600K. With three credited seasons Rashaan Melvin would receive a contract whose 2016 salary is $675K. Melvin will displace a player with a $525K salary while Ball and Vereen will displace two players with a $525K salary from the Top 51 list increasing the total cap commitment by $300K. Patriots total cap commitment after signing their nine practice squad members is $151,502,871.

2015 SALARY CAP CARRYOVER
Under the terms of the CBA, teams are now allowed to carry over excess Salary Cap space from one year to the next. As of 1/6/2016 I am projecting that the Patriots will end the 2015 season with $1.3 million in cap space. Add $1.3m to our League Cap Projection of $154m and we now have the Patriots adjusted cap as $155.3 million. Subtract Pats commitment of $151,502,871 from $155.7 million and we get about $3.8 million in cap space with 62 players on the Patriots 2016 roster.

OTHER SALARY CAP ADJUSTMENTS
WORKOUT BONUS ADJUSTMENT: All teams will have an adjustment of $561,600 (80 players times 36 workouts times $195 per workout) added to their Cap for team workout bonuses. This number is essentially the total amount of CBA mandated workout bonuses that could be earned by the players in the offseason. This amount is a debit from the Cap. Once training camp begins, this debit will be removed and the actual amount of workout bonuses earned by the players will be added onto the Cap. Add $561,600 to the Total Cap Commitment number and we get $152,064,471. Subtract $152,064,471 from $155.7 million and we get around 3.2 million in cap space.

INCENTIVE ADJUSTMENTS:The Patriots’ 2016 Cap will also see adjustments for incentives earned that didn’t count against the 2015 Cap (“Not Likely To Be Earned” incentives) that were actually earned and incentives that did count against the 2015 Cap (“Likely To Be Earned” incentives) but weren’t earned. The total of these incentive adjustments are usually not disclosed until the beginning of the 2016 league year in March. I currently project that the Patriots will get a credit of $3,388,125. my blog post that tracks the Patriots incentives to see the underlying details behind this projection. Add $3,388,125 to the prior Patriots adjusted cap number of $155.7 million and we now have our final projection of the Patriots 2016 adjusted cap number as $158,688,125. Subtract $152,064,471 from $158.7 million and we get about $6.6 million in cap space.

2011/2012 CAP ADJUSTMENT REPAYMENT: When the new CBA was agreed upon in 2011, the Salary Cap saw a reduction and, for the first few years, stagnation. Foreseeing this, the terms of the CBA allowed for teams to borrow ($3M in 2011; $1.5M in 2012) against future Caps, but forced teams to repay that amount during the 2014 through 2017 league years. The CBA left it up to the team to decide when to repay those amounts. I have been unable to determine if the Patriots borrow any cap space in 2011 or in 2012. But if they did, they will have to pay it back by the 2017 season.

AARON HERNANDEZ: While I expect the Patriots to receive a $3.25M credit for Aaron Hernandez, I expect the credit to come in the 2017 season. detailed why in this linked blog post

PROVEN PERFORMANCE ESCALATOR: The Patriots have 3 players who were drafted in the 3rd through 7th rounds of the 2013 draft who are likely to achieve the Proven Performance Escalator, thereby seeing their base salaries rise from the scheduled amount of $675K up to the (estimated) low RFA tender amount of $1.668M. Since the 2011 CBA mandated 4-year contracts for all draft picks, thus removing the player’s chance to receive the higher paying RFA tender in their 4th year, the Proven Performance Escalator was put in place to allow lower draft picks to make the equivalent of the low RFA tender if they performed well. The player’s “performance” is measured by playing time, so the escalator is earned if the player either (1) plays in 35% of offensive or defensive snaps in 2 of the player’s first 3 seasons or (2) plays in 35% of the cumulative snaps over his first 3 seasons.

The 3 Patriots who have already earned the escalator are DT Chris Jones, S Duron Harmon and CB Logan Ryan. My projected salaries of $1.668M for them are already included in the total cap commitment number of $152,357,471.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS (ERFAs)
These players must be tendered contracts of the league minimum, based on the player’s length of service in the league ($600K, $525K or $450K). Once tendered, these players are fully under the team’s control and are not free to negotiate with other teams.

The Patriots have 6 players who will become Exclusive Rights Free Agents (ERFAs) after this season

OT – Cameron Fleming ($600K)
WR – Josh Boyce ($525K)
OT – Kevin Hughes ($525K)
CB – Justin Coleman ($525K)
S – Brandon King ($525K)
LB – Rufus Johnson ($525K)

In the past, the Patriots have usually tendered all of their ERFAs who played some during the regular season. The Patriots have sometimes not tendered a player who spent the entire prior season on IR (Greg Orton – 2014 season). Tendering their 6 ERFAs will increase the Patriots total commitment by $75,000 as Cameron Fleming will displace a player with a $525K salary from the Top 51 list. Our new total cap commitment number is $152,139,471. Subtract that from our $158.7m projection for the 2016 Patriots adjusted cap number and we get about $6.5 million in cap space.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (RFAs)
These are players whose contracts have expired and who have 3 years of accrued service time. The team must tender the player with an RFA offer. Once tendered, another team can sign the player to a RFA offer sheet, but the Patriots then have 7 days to match that offer sheet and retain the player under the terms of that offer sheet. If the Patriots were to choose not to match the offer sheet, they would then receive compensation based on the level of RFA tender made to the player.

There are 3 RFA Tenders

* 1st Round Tender: allows the team to receive compensation of a 1st round – $3.586M (est)
* 2nd Round Tender: allows the team to receive compensation of 2nd round pick – $2.52M (est)
* Low Tender: allows the team to receive compensation of a draft pick equal to the round in which the player was originally drafted or the Right of First Refusal (ROFR) for an undrafted player – $1.668M (est)

Note: The 2011 CBA eliminated the “high” tender of 1st and 3rd round draft picks as compensation

The above Tender amounts are just estimates at this point. Under the terms of the CBA, the RFA Tender amounts increase at the same rate as the overall Salary Cap, with the minimum increase being 5%. An increase in the Salary Cap from $143.28M to $154M would represent a 8% increase in the Cap, so the above estimates for the RFA tenders are based on a 8% increase over the 2015 RFA tenders.

The Patriots have 4 players who are scheduled to be Restricted Free Agents (RFAs) after the 2015 season.

DT – Sealver Siliga (undrafted)
FB – James Develin (undrafted)
CB – Rashaan Melvin (undrafted)
WR – Brian Tyms (undrafted)
OT – LaAdrian Waddle (undrafted)
Over the years, the Patriots have tendered some of their RFAs and non-tendered others with the hopes of re-signing them to cheaper 1- or 2-year deals with a small signing bonus and veteran minimum salaries. The veteran minimum salary for Waddle, Develin and Siliga for 2016 is $760K. The minimum salary for Melvin and Tyms is $675K.

It is possible that the Patriots will not tender all 5 of the above RFAs. If the Patriots do tender a RFA, I expect it to be Waddle at the lowest level which should be around $1.668 million.

Keeping in mind, though, that RFA/ERFA tenders are not guaranteed, so just because a player is tendered (as either as a RFA or ERFA) that is no guarantee that the player will ultimately make the final 53-man roster.

PROJECTED ADJUSTED TEAM CAP AND RULE OF 51 SALARY CAP COMMITMENT

Based on all of the above, I am projecting that the Patriots will have an adjusted Team Salary Cap of $158.7M. The team’s adjusted Cap consists of the projected league-wide Salary Cap of $154M, plus the carryover of the 2015 excess Cap space of $1.3M (estimated), and incentive/Cap repayment adjustments (estimated $3.4M).

So, for the purposes of this projection – and presenting the worst place scenario as the starting point – if the team signs and tenders all of their practice squad players and ERFAs and prior to the team making any other roster moves (releases or retirements) or the restructure of any contracts, the team will have 68 players under contract.

During the offseason, though, when rosters can balloon to up to 90 players, only the highest 51 Salary Cap numbers (and all 2016 signing bonus prorations and all dead money from released players) are counted for Salary Cap purposes.

As such, the Patriots’ estimated Rule of 51 number – again, if they sign all 10 practice squad players and tender all 6 ERFAs would be a Cap commitment of just over $152.1M

Estimates
2016 Cap-154m
2015 Carryover-1.3m
2016 Adjustments-3.4m
2016 Pats adjusted cap- 158.7m
Cap Commitment (68 players)-152.1m
Space=6.6m

That would leave the Patriots projected 2016 cap number at $6.6M under their projected adjusted cap number. They will likely release some players and restructure some contracts in order to create more cap space. I will talk about those moves along with discussing the players who will become free agents in 2016/2017 in Part 2.

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 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 Patscap.Com with your donation.

You can have a portion of your Amazon.Com purchases donated to the Bread of Life.
You can learn how to do so by watching a YouTube video at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eA-t4XxeOc

Customizing the 2016 NFL calendar for the New England Patriots.

Written by: Miguel Benzan
Posted January 4, 2016 at 6:49 pm

Customizing the 2016 NFL calendar for the best team of the NFL salary cap era – the New England Patriots.

January 4 – Clubs could start signing free agent players for the 2016 season. In 2015 Patriots signed Rufus Johnson, Dion Lewis, and Antonio Johnson to 2015 contracts

January 4 – Patriots may renegotiate or extend the rookie contract of a drafted rookie who was selected in the 2013 NFL Draft (Jamie Collins, Aaron Dobson, Logan Ryan, Duron Harmon and Chris Jones). 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.

January 4 – Patriots may renegotiate or extend the rookie contract of a undrafted rookie who was not selected in the 2014 NFL Draft (Malcolm Butler). 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

January 10-11 – Patriots Assistant coaches like Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia may be interviewed for head coaching positions through the conclusion of the Wild Card games.

January 16 – The Patriots hosted the Kansas City Chiefs at 4:35 PM

January 18 – Deadline for college players that are underclassmen to apply for special eligibility. A list of players who are accepted into the NFL Draft will be sent to clubs on January 22.

January 24 – AFC and NFC Championship Games

January 31 – Deadline for NFL clubs to try out and negotiate with CFL players whose 2015 contracts are due to expire at 12 noon, New York time, on February 9

February 7 – Super Bowl 50

February 8 – Waiver system begins for 2015

February 9 – Beginning at 12 noon, New York time, NFL clubs could sign players whose 2015 CFL contracts have expired. Players under contract to a CFL club for the 2016 season or who have an option for the 2016 season are not eligible to be signed.

February 16 – First day that the Patriots could designate a Franchise or Transition Player.

March 1 – Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for Patriots to designate a Franchise or Transition Player. Can’t imagine that the Patriots will tag any of the following
Watson, Dekoda
Brown, Tarell
Wendell, Ryan
Gibson, Brandon
Hicks, Akiem
Blount, LeGarette
Jackson, Stephen
Ebner, Nate
Wilson, Tavon

March 7-9 – Patriots were permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with the certified agents of players who would become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2015 contracts at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 9. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 9

4PM March 9 (End of 2015 League Year) – Deadline for the New England Patriots to exercise options for Rob Gronkowski, Jerod Mayo and Alan Branch. Gronkowski’s $6 million option is for the 2016/2017/2018/2019 years. If Gronk’s option is not picked up, he can not get the franchise tag. Mayo’s option is for 2016 including a $4 million first day of the 2016 league year roster bonus. Branch’s option is for the 2016 season. Branch was due a $400,000 roster bonus.

March 9 – 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 2015 contracts and who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agency credit (Cameron Fleming – $600,000; Josh Boyce – $525,000; Justin Coleman – $525,000; Kevin Hughes – $525,000; Rufus Johnson – $525,000; Brandon King – $525,000).

March 9 – Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must submit qualifying offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts and to whom they desire to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation. James Develin, Brian Tyms, Sealver Siliga, and LaAdrian Waddle are scheduled to become RFAs.

March 9The use of the Top 51 rule Begins. All clubs had to have been their 2015 adjusted cap number prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time. The 2015 League cap is projected to be $154,000,000. In my .tracking incentives blog I explain why I think that the 2016 Patriots adjusted cap will be about $4 million more than the League Cap.

March 9 – All 2015 player contracts expired at 4:00 p.m., New York time

March 9 – 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 9

March 9 – Trading period for 2016 begins at 4:00 p.m., New York time, after expiration of all 2015 contracts

March 9, 4PM – After 4PM March 9 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 2016 salary and any unearned LTBE incentives would come off the books

March 13, 4PM – $500,000 of Jabaal Sheard’s $4 million salary becomes fully guaranteed.

March 20 through March 23 – NFL Annual Meeting. It will be during this meeting that the compensatory picks will be announced. The compensatory pick guru @nickkorte projects that the Patriots will receive a 3rd round pick (Darrelle Revis), 5th round pick (Vince Wilfork), 6th round pick (Shane Vereen) and 7th round pick (Akeem Ayers). Teams are limited to receiving four compensatory picks.

April 15 – Marcus Cannon had to weigh no more than 350 pounds on April 15 in order to earn a $30,000 weight clause.April 20All 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 22 – Deadline for Patriots to sign Restricted Free Agents to offer sheets

April 28 – April 30 – 2015 NFL Draft, Chicago, Illinois
OvertheCap.Com’s Nick Korte projects that the Patriots will receive a 3rd round pick (Darrelle Revis), 5th round pick (Vince Wilfork), 6th round pick (Shane Vereen) and 7th round pick (Akeem Ayers). Teams are limited to receiving four compensatory picks. The Patriots received the Houston Texans’ 2016 7th round pick as part of the Ryan Mallett trade. The Patriots lost their 2016 first round pick as part of their punishment for violations of the NFL Policy on Integrity of the Game and Enforcement of Competitive Rules relating to the use of under-inflated footballs in the 2014 AFC Championship Game and their failure to cooperate in the subsequent investigation. As of January 31 2016 the Patriots will enter the 2016 draft with 11 draft picks
First round: Taken away by the NFL
1. Second round: Own pick
2. Third round: Own pick
3. Third round: Compensatory pick for loss of Darrelle Revis. 97th overall
4. Fourth round: Own pick
5. Fifth round: Traded to the Texans as part of the KeShawn Martin trade
6. Fifth round: Compensatory pick for loss of Vince Wilfork.
7. Fifth round: Acquired from the Texans as part of the KeShawn Martin trade
8. Sixth round: Traded to the Bears for Jon Bostic
9. Sixth round: Compensatory pick for loss of Shane Vereen.
10. Seventh round: Texans – acquired as part of the Ryan Mallett trade
11.Seventh round: Own pick
11.Seventh round: Compensatory pick for loss of Akeem Ayers.

April 30 – Patriots can start signing undrafted players.

April 30 – Patriots can start signing their drafted players. Because of the Top 51 rule signing the 2015 Patriots draft class took up $1,549,325 in cap space. Therefore, it seems safe to project that the Patriots will need between $800,000 and $1 million in cap space to sign its 2016 draft picks. I attempt to explain the rookie pool and its impact on the Patriots 2015 salary cap in this blog post. Please refer to it if you have any questions.

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 2017 League Year. These Patriots are currently signed past the 2016 season so they would be affected by the June 1 amortization rule (Tom Brady, Jerod Mayo, Rob Gronkowski, Ryan Allen, Stephen Gostkowski, Danny Amendola, Devin McCourty, Julian Edelman, Malcom Brown, Jordan Richards, Patrick Chung, Dominique Easley, Joe Cardona, David Andrews, Jimmy Garoppolo, Nate Solder, Duron Harmon, Bryan Stork, James White, Cameron Fleming, Dion Lewis, Josh Kline, Jordan Richards, Geneo Grissom, Trey Flowers, Tre’ Jackson, James White Wells, A.J. Derby, Darryl Roberts and Shaq Mason)

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.

September 9At 12:00 a.m., New York time, the Top 51 Rule expires for all NFL Clubs

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 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 Patscap.Com with your donation.

You can have a portion of your Amazon.Com purchases donated to the Bread of Life.
You can learn how to do so by watching a YouTube video at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eA-t4XxeOc

Current roster status of the defending Super Bowl Champions New England Patriots – Updated on December 20th

Written by: Miguel Benzan
Posted December 20, 2015 at 10:24 am

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. This is as of December 20, 2015.

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

Below is a summary.

53 man roster 53
53 man roster 30
Signed with Another Team 7
IR 6
Cut 6
Traded 2
PUP 1
Retired 1
IR 10
Cut 4
53 man roster 3
Signed with Another Team 1
Unsigned 1
Practice Squad 9
Cut 6
Retired 1
Practice Squad 1
IR 1
Grand Total 72
53 man roster 31
IR 10
PUP 1
Signed with Another Team 8
Retired 2
Traded 2
Unsigned 1
Cut 16
Practice Squad 1

Previewing the New England Patriots 2016 Salary Cap (Part 1) – Updated on December 6th

Written by: Miguel Benzan
Posted December 6, 2015 at 6:04 pm

A couple of my Twitter followers asked for a New England Patiots 2016 salary cap preview. Please note that I have used Brian McFarland’s preview of the Ravens 2016 salary cap a template for this blog post.

These numbers were last updated on December 6, 2015.

Quick summary – The Patriots are going to have to make several difficult decisions in the next year about which young players to retain. I will presume that the 2016 salary cap will be $154 million. Given that we are about 4 months away from the start of the 2016 League Year (4PM, March 9) this preview is probably a bit premature so I plan to update this in February after the Super Bowl.

PLAYERS UNDER CONTRACT
The Patriots presently have the following 52 players under contract for 2016 (with Cap Numbers indicated):

QBs (2): Tom Brady ($15M); Jimmy Garoppolo ($950,154)

RBs (5): Brandon Bolden ($1,263,125); Dion Lewis ($1.0875M); James White ($699,272); Tyler Gaffney ($600K); Trey Williams ($525K)

WRs (5): Danny Amendola ($7,585,416); Julian Edelman ($4,421,875); Brandon Lafell ($3.675M); Aaron Dobson ($1,090,845); Tamaris Johnson ($760K)

TE (5): Rob Gronkowski ($6.65M); Scott Chandler ($3.050M); Asante Cleveland ($600K); Michael Williams ($525K); A.J. Derby ($478,013)

OL (8): Nate Solder ($10,322,666); Sebastian Vollmer ($7,020,834); Marcus Cannon ($4,754,168); Josh Kline ($2.2M); Bryan Stork ($719,250); Tre’ Jackson ($655,935); Shaq Mason ($635,881), David Andrews ($530K)

DL (9): Chandler Jones ($7.799M); Jabaal Sheard ($6.8125M); Rob Ninkovich ($4.75M); Alan Branch ($2.6M); Dominique Easley ($1,991,877); Malcom Brown ($1,730,280); Chris Jones ($1.668M); Geneo Grissom ($680,487); Trey Flowers ($664,733)

LBs (7): Jerod Mayo ($11.4M); Dont’a Hightower ($7.751M); Jonathan Freeney ($1.5M); Jamie Collins($1,196,683); Jonathan Bostic($942,381); Darius Fleming ($675K); Dane Fletcher ($600K)

CBs (3): Logan Ryan ($1,828,813); Malcolm Butler ($600K); Darryl Roberts ($463,556);

S (4): Devin McCourty ($8M); Patrick Chung ($3.3M); Jordan Richards($843,534); Duron Harmon ($814.4K);

ST (4): Stephen Gostkowski ($4.1M) Matthew Slater ($1,766,668); Ryan Allen ($1.7M); Joe Cardona ($587.5K)

The above 52 players are under contract for a total Salary Cap commitment (which includes dead money from players no longer on the team) of $152,983,496.

Initial projections have estimated that the 2016 Salary Cap would see an increase of $11M, moving the Cap up to around $154M.

So, using the figure of $154M for the estimated Cap, the Patriots will initially have around $1,016,504 in Cap space.

This will be the basis for early reports on the status of the Patriots’ Salary Cap, but it’s important to keep in mind that this number is based only on the 52 players that are presently under contract and nowhere near representative of the team’s Cap with a full roster.

So, between now and March 9th at 4:00 p.m., when the new league year begins and free agency begins, the Patriots will have a lot of work to do.

PRACTICE SQUAD FREE AGENTS (FAs)
In past years, the Patriots have usually re-signed all of their Practice Squad players to contracts for the coming year. The announcement of those signed should come right after the Super Bowl.

The 10 players currently on the Practice Squad are:

TE – Joseph Fauria
WR – Austin Hill
CB – Chris Greenwood
S – Brock Vereen
G – Chris Barker
FB – Joey Iosefa
OL – Keavon Milton
DT – Kelcy Quarles
OL – Torrian Wilson
WR – Chris Harper

Austin Hill, Chris Harper, and Torrian Wilson will be signed to one-year contracts of $450K. Based on already having a credited season in the NFL, Chris Barker, Joey Iosefa, Kelcy Quarles and Keavon Milton would receive one-year contracts of $525K. With two credited seasons, Joseph Fauria, Chris Greenwood, and Brock Vereen would receive a one-year contracts of $600K. The $600K quartet will displace one player with a $450K salary and three players with a $525K salary from the Top 51 list increasing the total cap commitment by $375K. Patriots total cap commitment after signing their practice squad is $153,358,496.

2015 SALARY CAP CARRYOVER
Under the terms of the CBA, teams are now allowed to carry over excess Salary Cap space from one year to the next. The Patriots are already very tight against the Salary Cap, with only around $1.9M in available Cap space at this time. As more injuries occur and further injury replacements acquired, the amount the Patriots can carry over into 2016 will dwindle. As of 12/6 I am projecting that the Patriots will end the 2015 season with $1.7 million in cap space. Add $1.7m to our League Cap Projection of $154m and we now have the Patriots adjusted cap as $155.7 million. Subtract Pats commitment of $153,358,496 from $155.7 million and we get about $2.4 million in cap space with 62 players on the Patriots 2016 roster.

OTHER SALARY CAP ADJUSTMENTS
WORKOUT BONUS ADJUSTMENT: All teams will have an adjustment of $561,600 (80 players times 36 workouts times $195 per workout) added to their Cap for team workout bonuses. This number is essentially the total amount of CBA mandated workout bonuses that could be earned by the players in the offseason. This amount is a debit from the Cap. Once training camp begins, this debit will be removed and the actual amount of workout bonuses earned by the players will be added onto the Cap. Add $561,600 to the Total Cap Commitment number and we get $153,920,096. Subtract $153,920,096 from $155.7 million and we get around 1.8 million in cap space.

INCENTIVE ADJUSTMENTS:The Patriots’ 2016 Cap will also see adjustments for incentives earned that didn’t count against the 2015 Cap (“Not Likely To Be Earned” incentives) that were actually earned and incentives that did count against the 2015 Cap (“Likely To Be Earned” incentives) but weren’t earned.

The total of these incentive adjustments are usually not disclosed until the beginning of the 2016 league year in March. I currently project that the Patriots will get a credit of $2,025,625. See my blog post that tracks the Patriots incentives to see the underlying details behind this projection. Add 2 million to the prior Patriots adjusted cap number of $155.7 million and we now have our final projection of the Patriots 2016 adjusted cap number as $157.7 million. Subtract $153,920,096 from $157.7 million and we get about $3.8 million in cap space.

2011/2012 CAP ADJUSTMENT REPAYMENT: When the new CBA was agreed upon in 2011, the Salary Cap saw a reduction and, for the first few years, stagnation. Foreseeing this, the terms of the CBA allowed for teams to borrow ($3M in 2011; $1.5M in 2012) against future Caps, but forced teams to repay that amount during the 2014 through 2017 league years. The CBA left it up to the team to decide when to repay those amounts. I have been unable to determine if the Patriots borrow any cap space in 2011 or in 2012. But if they did, they will have to pay it back by the 2017 season.

AARON HERNANDEZ: While I expect the Patriots to receive a $3.25M credit for Aaron Hernandez, I expect the credit to come in the 2017 season. I detailed why in this linked blog post.

PROVEN PERFORMANCE ESCALATOR: The Patriots have 2 players who were drafted in the 3rd through 7th rounds of the 2013 draft who are likely to achieve the Proven Performance Escalator, thereby seeing their base salaries rise from the scheduled amount of $675K up to the (estimated) low RFA tender amount of $1.668M. Since the 2011 CBA mandated 4-year contracts for all draft picks, thus removing the player’s chance to receive the higher paying RFA tender in their 4th year, the Proven Performance Escalator was put in place to allow lower draft picks to make the equivalent of the low RFA tender if they performed well. The player’s “performance” is measured by playing time, so the escalator is earned if the player either (1) plays in 35% of offensive or defensive snaps in 2 of the player’s first 3 seasons or (2) plays in 35% of the cumulative snaps over his first 3 seasons.

The 2 Patriots who have already earned the escalator are DT Chris Jones and CB Logan Ryan. My projected salaries of $1.668M for them are already included in the total cap commitment number of $153,632,596.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS (ERFAs)
These players must be tendered contracts of the league minimum, based on the player’s length of service in the league ($600K, $525K or $450K). Once tendered, these players are fully under the team’s control and are not free to negotiate with other teams.

The Patriots have 6 players who will become Exclusive Rights Free Agents (ERFAs) after this season

OT – Cameron Fleming ($600K)
WR – Josh Boyce ($525K)
OT – Kevin Hughes ($525K)
CB – Justin Coleman ($525K)
S – Brandon King ($525K)
LB – Rufus Johnson ($525K)

In the past, the Patriots have usually tendered all of their ERFAs who played some during the regular season. The Patriots have sometimes not tendered a player who spent the entire prior season on IR (Greg Orton – 2014 season). Tendering their 6 ERFAs will increase the Patriots total commitment by $75,000 as Cameron Fleming will displace a player with a $525K salary from the Top 51 list. Our new total cap commitment number is $153,995,096. Subtract that from our $157.7m projection for the 2016 Patriots adjusted cap number and we get about $3.7 million in cap space.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (RFAs)
These are players whose contracts have expired and who have 3 years of accrued service time. The team must tender the player with an RFA offer. Once tendered, another team can sign the player to a RFA offer sheet, but the Patriots then have 7 days to match that offer sheet and retain the player under the terms of that offer sheet. If the Patriots were to choose not to match the offer sheet, they would then receive compensation based on the level of RFA tender made to the player.

There are 3 RFA Tenders

* 1st Round Tender: allows the team to receive compensation of a 1st round – $3.586M (est)
* 2nd Round Tender: allows the team to receive compensation of 2nd round pick – $2.52M (est)
* Low Tender: allows the team to receive compensation of a draft pick equal to the round in which the player was originally drafted or the Right of First Refusal (ROFR) for an undrafted player – $1.668M (est)

Note: The 2011 CBA eliminated the “high” tender of 1st and 3rd round draft picks as compensation

The above Tender amounts are just estimates at this point. Under the terms of the CBA, the RFA Tender amounts increase at the same rate as the overall Salary Cap, with the minimum increase being 5%. An increase in the Salary Cap from $143.28M to $154M would represent a 8% increase in the Cap, so the above estimates for the RFA tenders are based on a 8% increase over the 2015 RFA tenders.

The Patriots have 4 players who are scheduled to be Restricted Free Agents (RFAs) after the 2015 season.

DT – Sealver Siliga (undrafted)
FB – James Develin (undrafted)
CB – Rashaan Melvin (undrafted)
WR – Brian Tyms (undrafted)

Over the years, the Patriots have tendered some of their RFAs and non-tendered others with the hopes of re-signing them to cheaper 1- or 2-year deals with a small signing bonus and veteran minimum salaries. The veteran minimum salary for Develin and Siliga for 2016 is $760K while the minimum salary for Melvin and Tyms is $675K.

It is very possible that the Patriots will not tender all 4 of the above RFAs.

Keeping in mind, though, that RFA/ERFA tenders are not guaranteed, so just because a player is tendered (as either as a RFA or ERFA) that is no guarantee that the player will ultimately make the final 53-man roster.

PROJECTED ADJUSTED TEAM CAP AND RULE OF 51 SALARY CAP COMMITMENT

Based on all of the above, I am projecting that the Patriots will have an adjusted Team Salary Cap of $157.7M. The team’s adjusted Cap consists of the projected league-wide Salary Cap of $154M, plus the carryover of the 2015 excess Cap space of $1.7M (estimated), and incentive/Cap repayment adjustments (est. $2M).

So, for the purposes of this projection – and presenting the worst place scenario as the starting point – if the team signs and tenders all of their practice squad players and ERFAs and prior to the team making any other roster moves (releases or retirements) or the restructure of any contracts, the team will have 68 players under contract.

During the offseason, though, when rosters can balloon to up to 90 players, only the highest 51 Salary Cap numbers (and all 2015 bonus prorations and all dead money from released players) are counted for Salary Cap purposes.

As such, the Patriots’ estimated Rule of 51 number – again, if they sign all 10 practice squad players and tender all 6 ERFAs would be a Cap commitment of just under $154M

Estimates
2016 Cap-154m
2015 Carryover-1.7m
2016 Adjustments-2m
2016 Pats adjusted cap- 157.7m
Cap Commitment (69 players)-154m
Space=4m

That would leave the Patriots projected 2016 cap number at $3.7M under their projected adjusted cap number. They will likely release some players and restructure some contracts in order to create more cap space. I will talk about those moves in Part 2.

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 (PatsCap.Com) http://www.patscap.com with your donation. Thanks so much!!!

Breaking down Josh Kline’s extension with the defending Super Bowl Champs New England Patriots

Written by: Miguel Benzan
Posted November 10, 2015 at 4:22 pm

On November 10, 2015 ESPN.Com’s Field Yates reported that “The New England Patriots have signed starting guard Josh Kline to a two-year contract extension through 2017 worth up to $4.9 million with $750,000 guaranteed, according to a league source.
The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Kline, who entered the league as an undrafted free agent out of Kent State in 2013, has started every game for the team this season, the final year of his contract. He would have been a restricted free agent after this season.

Full details:
Signing bonus: $750,000
2016 base salary: $950,000
2016 roster bonus: $200,000 (46-man per game)
2016 incentives: $400,000 for 55 percent of snaps or $800,000 for 75 percent
2017 base salary: $1.4 million
2017 roster bonus: $200,000 (46-man per game)
2017 incentives: $400,000 for 55 percent of snaps or $800,000 for 75 percent”

Let’s take a look at the salary cap consequences of these details

The $5.1 million in new money consists of:
$750,000 signing bonus
$950,000 salary in 2016
$200,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses for the 2016 season
$800,000 in playing-time incentive for the 2016 season
$1,400,000 salary in 2017
$200,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses for the 2017 season
$800,000 in playing-time incentive for the 2017 season

* The only change to Josh Kline’s 2015 cap number comes from the $250,000 proration of his $750,000 signing bonus. A signing bonus is prorated equally over the life of the contract, up to five years. That is, if Kline’s extension was through the 2020 season covering six seasons any signing bonus would be prorated through the 2019 season (five seasons)

* Josh Kline’s $12,500 46-man active roster bonus will be considered likely to be earned (LTBE) in 2016 for as many games he is on the 46-man active roster in 2015. $12,500 times 16 = $200,000. In 2017 his 46-man active roster bonus will be reevaluated based on how many games he is active for in 2016.

* The amount of his 2016 playing-time incentive that will be part of his 2016 cap number is determined by how much Kline plays in 2015. If Lewis plays in at least 55% of the offensive snaps the incentive will be $400,000. Playing in at least 75% of the offensive snaps will increase the value of the playing-time incentive to $800,000. Through 8 games Josh Kline has played in 520 of the 574 snaps or 91% making it very likely that his 75% playing-time would be considered LTBE in 2016. In 2017 Josh Kline’s playing-time incentive will be reevaluated based on how many snaps he plays in 2016.

* A player’s salary cap number is the total of
his salary
signing bonus proration, if any
any LTBE incentives

Josh Kline’s deal
Year Salary Prorated Signing Bonus 46-man Roster Incentive Cap No Dead Money Cap Savings Cash Total Cash
2015 585,000 250,000 835K 250K 1.335m 1.335m
2016 950,000 250,000 200,000  800,000 2.2M 500K 1.7m 1.95m 3.285m
2017 1.4m 250,000 200,000  800,000 2.65M 250K 2.4m 2.4m 5.685m

The 2016 cap savings presumes a release before June 1st.

Josh Kline becomes the 48th Patriot signed for the 2016 season and the 27th Patriot signed for the 2017 season.

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 PatsCap.Com with your donation. Thanks so much!!!

Breaking down Dion Lewis’ extension with the defending Super Bowl Champs New England Patriots – Updated on 11/9

Written by: Miguel Benzan
Posted November 9, 2015 at 5:44 pm

On October 8, 2015 ESPN.Com’s Mike Reiss and Field Yates reported that as part of his extension that “Lewis, 25, can make up to $4.8 million in new money over the two new years, a league source told ESPN’s Field Yates, and the deal also includes a $600,000 signing bonus. His base salary will be $800,000 in 2016 and $1.2 million the following year, the source said.” Field Yates also reports that Dion can earn in 2016 and in 2017 up to $200,000 ($12,500 per game) in 46-man active roster bonuses. Field also reported that Dion Lewis can earn up to $900,000 in 2016 and in 2017 in playing-time incentives.

On November 9th the Patriots placed Dion Lewis on Injured-Reserve.

Let’s take a look at the salary cap consequences of these details

The $4.8 million in new money consists of:
$600,000 signing bonus
$800,000 salary in 2016
$200,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses for the 2016 season
$900,000 in playing-time incentive for the 2016 season
$1,200,000 salary in 2017
$200,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses for the 2017 season
$900,000 in playing-time incentive for the 2017 season

* The only change to Dion Lewis’s 2015 cap number comes from the $200,000 proration of his $600,000 signing bonus. A signing bonus is prorated equally over the life of the contract, up to five years. That is, if Lewis’ extension was through the 2020 season covering six seasons any signing bonus would be prorated through the 2019 season (five seasons)

* Dion Lewis’ $12,500 46-man active roster bonus will be considered likely to be earned (LTBE) in 2016 for the seven games he was on the 46-man active roster in 2015. $12,500 times 7 = $87,500. In 2017 his 46-man active roster bonus will be reevaluated based on how many games he plays in 2016.

* The amount of his 2016 playing-time incentive that will be part of his 2016 cap number is determined by how much Lewis played in 2015. If Lewis had played in at least 40% of the offensive snaps the incentive would have been worth $200,000. Playing in at least 50% of the offensive snaps would have increased the value of the playing-time incentive to $500,000. Playing in at least 60% of the offensive snaps would have increased the value of the playing-time incentive to $900,000. Being placed on IR with 8 games left in the season makes it impossible that Dion Lewis will play in at least 40% of the offensive snaps in 2015 making all of his playing-time incentives not-likely to be earned (NTLBE) for 2016. In 2017 his playing-time incentive will be reevaluated based on how many snaps he plays in 2016.

* A player’s salary cap number is the total of
his salary
signing bonus proration, if any
any LTBE incentives

Dion Lewis’s deal
Year Salary Prorated Signing Bonus 46-man Roster Incentive Cap No Dead Money Cap Savings Cash Total Cash
2015 585,000 200,000 785K 200K 1.185m 1.185m
2016 800,000 200,000 87,500 1,087,500 400K 687,500 1,087,500 2,272,500
2017 1.2m 200,000 87,500 1,487,500 200K 1,287,500 1,287,500 3.56m

If Dion Lewis had played in 60% of the snaps in 2015 and was active for all 16 games, his 2016 cap number would have been $2.1 million. It is now $1,087,500.

The 2016 cap savings presumes a release before June 1st.

Dion Lewis is one of 47 Patriots signed for the 2016 season and one of 26 Patriots signed for the 2017 season.

After Lewis’ extension the Patriots will have these players (Ryan Wendell, LeGarrette Blount, Brandon Gibson, Nate Ebner, Tarell Brown, Tavon Wilson, Akiem Hicks, Dane Fletcher, and Keshawn Martin) scheduled to become unrestricted free agents after the 2015 season.

To illustrate the tremendous value of this deal I will share this nugget. In 2017 Dion Lewis will have the second lowest cap number out of any running back who is NOT playing under his rookie deal.

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 PatsCap.Com with your donation. Thanks so much!!!

2015 New England Patriots Dead Money after the roster cutdowns

Written by: Miguel Benzan
Posted September 7, 2015 at 9:19 am

The purpose of this blog is to tracking the defending Super Bowl Champions New England Patriots 2015 dead money.

Dead money is the salary cap hit for a player that was waived/released while on the Patriots roster. Dead money is usually unamortized signing bonus proration. It can also be guaranteed salary and injury settlements. Dead money also refers to the cap hits for players placed on Injured Reserve.

Updated on September 13th

  1. Darrelle Revis- $5,000,000 (prorated signing bonus). I write more about Darrelle Revis in another blog post.
  2. Logan Mankins – $4,000,000 (prorated signing bonus plus offseason workout bonus money)
  3. Kyle Arrington – $3,250,000 (prorated signing bonus plus offseason workout bonus money)
  4. Vince Wilfork – $866,667 (prorated signing bonus)
  5. Reggie Wayne – $450,000 (prorated signing bonus)
  6. Robert McLain – $356,240 ($150,000 guaranteed salary, $150,000 prorated signing bonus, $56,240 offseason workout bonus)
  7. Josh Boyce – $238,500 (prorated signing bonus). Josh Boyce was waived on August 30, 2014.
  8. Armond Armstead – $143,222 (The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin was the first to report Armond’s 2015 injury settlement amount)
  9. Jake Bequette – $134,950 (prorated signing bonus). Jake Bequette was waived on August 30, 2014.
  10. Jon Halapio – $92,235 (prorated signing bonus)
  11. Cameron Fleming – $81,386 ($75,146 and $6,240 offseason workout bonus)
  12. Jemea Thomas – $69,834 (prorated signing bonus)
  13. Chris White – $56,240 (prorated signing bonus and $6,240 offseason workout bonus)
  14. Eric Martin – $50,652 ($34,112 one week salary and $16,240 offseason workout bonus)
  15. Chimdi Chekwa – $50,000 (prorated signing bonus)
  16. Matthew Wells – $35,973 (prorated signing bonus)
  17. Jeremy Gallon – $35,694 (prorated signing bonus)
  18. Zach Moore – $31,790 ($25,550 prorated signing bonus and $6,240 offseason workout bonus)
  19. Michael Buchanan – $26,806 (prorated signing bonus)
  20. Brandon Spikes – $27,340 ($25,000 prorated signing bonus and $2,340 offseason workout bonus)
  21. Steve Beauharnais – $23,796 (prorated signing bonus)
  22. Fred Davis – $23,705 ($20,000 prorated signing bonus and $3,705 offseason workout bonus)
  23. Matt Flynn – $20,000 (prorated signing bonus)
  24. Garrett Gilbert – $16,240 (offseason workout bonus)
  25. Antonio Johnson – $16,240 (offseason workout bonus)
  26. Alfonzo Dennard – $14,462 (prorated signing bonus)
  27. Xzavier Dickson – $13,196 (prorated signing bonus)
  28. Cameron Gordon – $10,000 (prorated signing bonus)
  29. Jimmy Jean – $6,666 ($1,666 prorated signing bonus and $5,000 guaranteed salary)
  30. Chris Barker – $6,240 (offseason workout bonus)
  31. Jordan Devey – $6,240 (offseason workout bonus)
  32. Darius Fleming – $6,240 (offseason workout bonus)
  33. Jonas Gray – $6,240 (offseason workout bonus)
  34. Caylin Hauptmann – $6,240 (offseason workout bonus)
  35. James Morris – $6,240 (offseason workout bonus)
  36. Daxton Swanson – $6,240 (offseason workout bonus)
  37. 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)
  38. Devin Gardner – $5,000 (Devin Gardner was waived by the New England Patriots on May 18, 2015 after receiving a $5,000 signing bonus on May 8.
  39. Dekoda Watson – $3,510 (offseason workout bonus)
  40. 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)
  41. 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)
  42. 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
  43. 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
  44. 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)
  45. Mark Harrison – $1,000 (prorated signing bonus)
  46. Kenbrell Thompkins – $834 (prorated signing bonus)
  47. Vince Taylor – $833 (prorated signing bonus)
  48. Derek Cox – $780 (offseason workout bonus)

Total – $15,231,287 or 10.53% of Patriots adjusted cap

The following players have been placed on IR or reached injury settlements with the Patriots

  1. Kevin Hughes – $336,510 ($333,000 salary and $3,510 offseason workout bonus).
  2. Tyler Gaffney – $318,000 (salary)
  3. A.J. Derby – $346,013 ($28,013 prorated signing bonus and $318,000 salary
  4. Brian Tyms – $369,240 ($348,000 salary and $21,240 offseason workout bonus)
  5. Josh Boyce – $354,240 ($333,000 salary and $21,240 offseason workout bonus)
  6. Jonathan Krause – $334,240 ($318,000 salary and $16,240 offseason workout bonus)
  7. Darryl Roberts – $369,240 ($318,000 salary and $13,556 prorated signing bonus)
  8. Brandon Gibson – $671,240 ($585,000 salary, $40,000 signing bonus and $46,240 offseason workout bonus)
  9. Ryan Groy – $333,000 (salary)
  10. James Develin – $666,240 ($660,000 salary and $6,240 offseason workout bonus)
  11. Jake Bequette – $67,652 ($61,412 salary and $6,240 offseason workout bonus) – Injury Settlement

Total -$4,127,931 or 2.86% of the Patriots adjusted cap

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 PatsCap.Com with your donation. Thanks so much!!!

Super Bowl Champions New England Patriots Offseason Scorecard – Updated on 7/30/2015

Written by: Miguel Benzan
Posted July 30, 2015 at 1:44 pm

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
$8,854,988. My cap space number is off from the official number by $20,000 for two reasons. For some unknown reason Garrett Gilbert’s $10,000 offseason workout bonus is counting against the Lions salary cap even though he completed his workouts with the Patriots. The NFLPA is considering Chimdi Chewka as counting $80,000 against the Patriots salary cap even though he was not on the team long enough to earn his $30,000 offseason workout bonus. From the official NFLPA report the League average is $11,641,629. Therefore, the Patriots have $2,806,641 less than the league average. The Patriots rank 18th in cap space.

(Figure updated as official signings and contracts are reported to the league: 90 players under contract. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are currently counting against the cap). As of July 30, 2015 the Patriots have 90 players signed http://www.patscap.com updated July 30, 11:30 AM

Patriots Salary Cap Allocation by Age

Age Number Cap Hit Percentage
21 2 $1,389,224 0.96%
22 5 $1,069,572 0.74%
23 13 $3,877,944 2.68%
24 15 $3,695,002 2.56%
25 15 $10,233,797 7.08%
26 10 $16,311,650 11.28%
27 8 $13,534,666 9.36%
28 7 $13,830,000 9.57%
29 5 $18,404,166 12.73%
30 5 $9,426,666 6.52%
31 3 $15,370,833 10.63%
32 0 0.00%
33 0 0.00%
34 0 0.00%
35 0 0.00%
36 0 0.00%
37 0 0.00%
38 1 $14,000,000 9.68%
Offseason Workout $561,600 0.39%
Dead Money $14,017,976 9.7%
Cap Space $8,854,988 6.12%
Totals $144,578,084 100.00%

Patriots Salary Cap Allocation by Position (Matthew Slater, Chris White, and Nate Ebner are included in the Special Team total).

Position Cap Number Percentage Count
OL $20,936,711 14.48% 14
QB $15,456,795 10.69% 3
RB $4,046,772 2.80% 8
TE $12,508,013 8.65% 6
WR $13,502,926 9.34% 9
S $10,742,284 7.43% 6
CB $6,132,285 4.24% 10
DL $14,111,384 9.76% 13
LB $15,892,534 10.99% 14
ST $7,813,816 5.40% 6
Offseason Workout $561,600 0.39%
Dead Money $14,017,976 9.70%
Cap Space $8,854,988 6.76%
Totals $144,578,084 100.00% 90

Patriots Salary Cap Allocation by Unit

Unit Cap Number Percentage Count
Offense $66,451,217 45.96% 41
Defense $46,878,487 32.42% 43
Special Teams $7,813,816 5.40% 6
Dead Money $14,017,976 9.70%
Cap Space $8,854,988 6.12%
Offseason Workout Bonus $561,600 0.39%
Totals $144,578,084 100.00% 90

 

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

  1. 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
  2. Rufus Johnson (LB) (Street Free Agent): 1 year/$435,000
  3. Kevin Dorsey (WR) (Street Free Agent – Waived by Green Bay): 1 year/$510,000. Waived by the Patriots on May 7th.
  4. Dion Lewis (RB) (Street Free Agent): 1 year/$585,000
  5. Scott Chandler (TE) (Street Free Agent- released by Buffalo): 2 year/$5.3 million. $2 million signing bonus
  6. LB Jabaal Sheard (UFA; Cleveland): 2 years/$11 million, $4 million signing bonus
  7. CB Bradley Fletcher (UFA; Philadelphia): 1 year/$2,131,250 (2.5 million maximum), $550,000 guaranteed
  8. CB Robert McClain (UFA; Atlanta): 1 year/$1.24 million, $300,000 guaranteed
  9. LB Jonathan Freeny (non-tendered RFA; Miami): 1 year/$1,000,000
  10. RB Travaris Cadet (non-tendered RFA; New Orleans): 2 years/$1.7 million, $65,000 guaranteed
  11. CB Chimdi Chewka (non-tendered RFA; Oakland): Signed on March 12th. 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. Released by the Patriots on May 18th.
  12. 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
  13. LB Brandon Spikes(UFA; Buffalo): 1 year/$1.3 million, $25,000 guaranteed. $700,000 in NLTBE playing-time incentives. Released by the Patriots on June 8th
  14. TE Fred Davis(Street Free Agent): 1 year/$825,000, $20,000 offseason workout bonus. Deal qualifies for Minimum Salary Benefit lowering cap hit of salary from $745,000 to $585,000. Released by the Patriots on June 19th
  15. OT Kevin Hughes(Street Free Agent): 1 year/$510,000
  16. LB Dakoda Watson(Street Free Agent): 1 year/$745,000. Deal qualifies for Minimum Salary Benefit lowering cap hit of salary from $745,000 to $585,000
  17. CB Derek Cox(Street Free Agent): 1 year/$745,000. Deal qualifies for Minimum Salary Benefit lowering cap hit of salary from $745,000 to $585,000
  18. QB Matt Flynn(Street Free Agent): 1 year/$950,000. Deal qualifies for Minimum Salary Benefit lowering cap hit of salary from $870,000 to $585,000
  19. WR Chris Harper (UDFA): 3 year/$1,590,000 deal including $15,000 signing bonus and $5,000 of 2015 salary fully guaranteed. Harper’s 2015 cap number is $440,000
  20. CB Jimmy Jean (UDFA): 3 year/$1,580,000 deal including a $5,000 signing bonus. Dean’s 2015 cap number is $436,666
  21. S Brandon King (UDFA): 3 year/$1,578,000 deal including a $3,000 signing bonus. King’s 2015 cap number is $436,000
  22. CB Eric Patterson (UDFA): 3 year/$1,575,000. Patterson’s 2015 cap number is $435,000
  23. DT Vince Taylor (UDFA): 3 year/$1,577,500 deal including $2,500 signing bonus. Taylor’s 2015 cap number is $437,500
  24. C David Andrews (UDFA): 3 year/$1,590,000 including $15,000 signing bonus. Andrews’ 2015 cap number is $440,000
  25. WR Devin Gardner (UDFA): 3 year/$1,580,000 deal including $5,000 signing bonus and $10,000 of 2015 salary fully guaranteed. Gardner’s 2015 cap number was $436,666. Waived by the Patriots on May 18th. Claimed by the Steelers who are now responsible for the $10,000 guaranteed salary
  26. WR Zach D’Orazio (UDFA): 3 year/$1,575,500 deal. D’ Orazio’s 2015 cap number is $435,000
  27. CB Tarell Brown (Street Free Agent): 1 year/$2,000,000 deal including $400,000 signing bonus, $1 million salary, $100,000 53-man roster bonus and $500,000 in LTBE playing-time incentives. Tarell Brown’s 2015 cap number is $2,000,000.

Patriots 2015 DRAFT PICKS
1. First round: Own pick, No. 32 overall (Malcom Brown)
2. Second round: Own pick, No. 32 in round, 64th overall (Jordan Richards)
Third round: Own pick, No. 32 in round (96th overall) Traded to Cleveland Browns as part of a May 1 draft day trade
3. Third round: Compensatory pick for loss of Aqib Talib, No. 33 in round, 97th overall (Geneo Grissom)
4. Fourth round: Buccaneers – acquired as part of the Logan Mankins trade, 2nd in round,101st overall (Trey Flowers)
5. Fourth round: Browns – acquired as part of a May 1 draft day trade. 12th in round, 111st overall (Tre’ Jackson)
6. Fourth round: Own pick, No. 32 in round, 131st overall (Shaq Mason)
7. Fourth round: Packers – acquired as part of a May 2 draft day trade. 30th in round, 166th overall (Joe Cardona)
Patriots’ fifth round assigned selection – Traded to the Buccaneers as part of the Jonathan Casillas trade
8. Sixth round: Buccaneers – acquired as part of the Jonathan Casillas trade, 2nd in round, 178th overall (Matthew Wells)
9. Sixth round: Browns – acquired as part of a May 1 draft day trade. 26th in round, 202nd overall (A.J. Derby)
Patriots’ sixth round assigned selection – Traded to the Titans as part of the Akeem Ayers trade
10. Seventh round: Packers – acquired as part of a May 2 draft day trade. 30th in round, 247th overall (Darryl Roberts)
Patriots’ seven round assigned selection – Traded to the Eagles as part of the Greg Salas trade
11. Seventh round: Compensatory pick for loss of Dane Fletcher, No. 36 in round, 253rd overall (Xzavier Dickson).

Recapping the Patriots draft day trades.

  1. Traded the 96th and the 219th pick to the Cleveland Browns for the 111st pick (Tre’ Jackson), 147th pick (later traded to Packers), and 202nd (A.J. Derby).
  2. Traded the 147th pick to the Packers for the 166th pick (Cardona) and the 247th pick (Roberts)

If you wish to learn more about the 2015 rookie pool and these player’s 2015 cap hits please review this blog post that covers that material.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Re-signed/extensions/restructures

Jerod Mayo(restructure): Lowered 2015 salary from $6.25 million to $1.5 million while receiving a $3,000,000 signing bonus. His 2015 46-man active roster was eliminated along with his 2015 offseason workout bonus. He now has $1,500,000 in playing-time incentives (85% of defensive snaps) that is also tied to an unknown team incentive. receptions. Mayo’s 2016 salary was lowered from $7.25 million to $3.25 million. Mayo’s 2017 salary was lowered from $8.75 million to $6.75 million.In 2016 and in 2017 Jerod Mayo could earn up to $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonus ($31,250 per game). In 2016 and in 2017 Jerod Mayo has a $250,000 offseason workout bonus. In 2016 Jerod Mayo has a $4 million roster bonus that is tied to an option for the 2016 season. The roster bonus is due at the beginning of the 2016 League Year. In 2017 Jerod Mayo has a $2 million roster bonus that is tied to an option for the 2017 season. The $2 million roster bonus is due at the beginning of the 2017 League Year. For more information about Mayo’s restructure please review this blog post.

Jerod Mayo’s Old Deal
2015 2016 2017
Salary 6,250,000 7,250,000 8,750,000
46-man active Roster Bonus 187,500 500,000 500,000
2012 Option Bonus Proration 2,400,000 2,400,000
2011 Signing Bonus Proration 1,200,000
Offseason Workout Bonus 250,000 250,000 250,000
Pro Bowl Incentive
Start of League Year Roster Bonus
2015 3M Signing Bonus Proration
Totals 10,287,500 10,400,000 9,500,000
300,000 Pro Bowl incentive is NLTBE
Jerod Mayo’s New Deal
2015 2016 2017
Salary 1,500,000 3,250,000 6,750,000
46-man active Roster Bonus 500,000 500,000
2012 Option Bonus Proration 2,400,000 2,400,000
2011 Signing Bonus Proration 1,200,000
Offseason Workout Bonus 250,000 250,000
Pro Bowl Incentive
Start of League Year Roster Bonus 4,000,000 2,000,000
2015 3M Signing Bonus Proration 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000
Totals 6,100,000 11,400,000 10,500,000

–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 tagged and then extended): 4 year/$17.2 million. $1.8 million salary.$100,000 offseason workout bonus. $6 million signing bonus. 2015 and 2016 salaries fully guaranteed.
DT Alan Branch (UFA; resigned): 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

  1. LB Akeem Ayers (UFA: St. Louis Rams): 2 years/$6 million, $2.75 million guaranteed)
  2. CB Brandon Browner (UFA; New Orleans): 3 years/$15 million contract
  3. RB Shane Vereen (UFA; New York Giants): 3 years/$12.35 million, $4.75 million guaranteed
  4. LB Jonathan Casillas (UFA;New York Giants): 3 years/$8 million, $2.975 million guaranteed
  5. DT Vince Wilfork (UFA; Houston): 2 years/$10 million, $5 million guaranteed
  6. CB Darrelle Revis (UFA; New York Jets: 5 years/$70 million, $39 million guaranteed
  7. RB Stevan Ridley
  8. CB Kyle Arrington
  9. CB Alfonzo Dennard
  10. LB Cameron Gordon
  11. WR Devin Gardner
  12. Kevin Dorsey
  13. Chimdi Chewka

As of June 21 the Patriots have $14,017,976 (9.70% of their adjusted cap) in dead money. To see a complete list of the players on the dead money list please see this blog post.
Unsigned free agents

  1. LS Danny Aiken
  2. G Dan Connolly (retired)
  3. WR Greg Orton (non-tendered as ERFA)

If you wish to see the current roster status (72 players total) of the defending Super Bowl Champions New England Patriots please review this blog post.

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 2015 Cash 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 $8,100,000 $3,600,000 $10,100,000 $10,100,000
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
Brown, Tarell $2,000,000 $2,000,000 $400,000 $400,000
Fletcher, Bradley $2,131,250 $1,481,250 $550,000 $550,000
Cox, Derek $745,000 $585,000
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
Flynn, Matt $950,000 $665,000 $20,000 $20,000
White, Chris $795,000 $635,000 $50,000 $50,000
Cadet, Travaris $775,000 $742,500 $62,500 $62,500
Johnson, Antonio $755,000 $595,000
Watson, Dekoda $745,000 $585,000
Fletcher, Dane $825,000 $665,000 $20,000 $20,000
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
Hauptmann, Caylin $510,000
Skinner, Deontae $510,000
Green, Justin $435,000
Johnson, Rufus $435,000
Krause, Jonathan $435,000 $10,000 $10,000
Morris, James $435,000
Swanson, Daxton $435,000
Totals $58,496,250 $31,223,750 $41,7652,500 $48,752,500

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

2016 Free Agency

  • The Pats will have until the start of the 2016 League to make ERFA tender offer to these potentional ERFAs (Josh Boyce, Jordan Devey, Chris Barker, Caylin Hauptmann, Jonas Gray, Joe Vellano, James Morris, Kevin Hughes, Jonathan Krause, Justin Green, Daxton Swanson, and Rufus Johnson). The tender offer equals the minimum salary for a player with the amount of credited seasons.
  • The Pats will have until the start of the 2016 League Year to these potential RFAs (Josh Kline, James Develin, Brian Tyms, and Sealver Siliga). The 2015 tenders were $3.354 million for the 1st round tender, $2.356 million for the 2nd round tender, and $1.542 million for original round tenders. The minimum increase is 5%. The maximum increase is 10%.
  • As of July  30th these Patriots will become UFAs after the 2015 season (Tarell Brown, Ryan Wendell, Nate Solder, LeGarrette Blount, Michael Hoomanawanui, Matt Flynn, Brandon Gibson, Stephen Gostkowski, Nate Ebner, Chris White, Bradley Fletcher, Robert McClain, Tavon Wilson, Antonio Johnson, Derek Cox, Jonathan Freeny, Dane Fletcher, and Dekoda Watson)

 

2016 Draft

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’ 2016 7th round pick as part of the Ryan Mallett trade. The Patriots lost their 2016 first round pick as part of their punishment for violations of the NFL Policy on Integrity of the Game and Enforcement of Competitive Rules relating to the use of under-inflated footballs in the 2014 AFC Championship Game and their failure to cooperate in the subsequent investigation.

As of June 21 the Patriots will enter the 2016 draft with 11 draft picks
First round: Taken away by the NFL
1. Second round: Own pick
2. Third round: Own pick
3. Third round: Compensatory pick for loss of Darrelle Revis. 97th overall
4. Fourth round: Own pick
5. Fifth round: Own pick
6. Sixth round: Own pick
7. Sixth round: Compensatory pick for loss of Vince Wilfork.
8. Sixth round: Compensatory pick for loss of Shane Vereen.
9. Sixth round: Compensatory pick for loss of Akeem Ayers.
10.Seventh round: Texans – acquired as part of the Ryan Mallett trade
11.Seventh round: Own pick

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!!!

Super Bowl Champs 2015 Salary Cap Picture – Listing Future Cap needs and listing how Patriots can create more cap space

Written by: Miguel Benzan
Posted July 29, 2015 at 7:46 pm

Updating my 2015 Patriots salary cap picture right before training camp begins.

Right now, the total Patriot 2015 cap commitments is $135,723,096. The 2015 Patriots adjusted cap number is $144,578,084. The Patriots 2015 adjusted cap number of $144,578,084 minus cap commitment of $135,723,096 equals $8,854,988 in cap space with 90 signed players

September 5 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. Please note that as Jocelyn Robichaud once pointed out in an email: “The current cap status is calculated with the top 51 earners. On the other hand, not all of these players will make the team. Thus, as the team shrinks its roster to 53 players, it will create cap room unless it keeps all of its top earners. For example, let us say that Jonathan Freeny ($850,000 in salary) does not make the team and is replaced by Geneo Grissom ($435,000 in salary). This would free $415,000 in cap room for the Patriots. If Tyler Gaffney makes the team instead of Tavaris Cadet, that would create $275,000 in cap space. If Jordan Richards makes the 53-man roster instead of Tavon Wilson, that would create $530,166 in cap space. If A.J. Derby makes the 53-man roster instead of Michael Hoomanawanui, that would create $665,000 in cap space With just 4 those roster decisions the Patriots could create over $1,885,166 in cap space when the rosters are cut down to 53 players.
September 5 Simultaneously with the cut-down to 53,Tom Brady and LeGarrette Blount’s suspensions begin.
The Patriots will receive the below credit on their 2015 salary cap depending on how Tom Brady is suspended for

  • 0 games- $0
  • 1 game – $470,588.24
  • 2 games – $941,176.47
  • 3 games – $1,411,764.71
  • 4 games – $1,882,352.94

The Patriots will receive a $44,118 credit when LeGarrette Blount’s suspension kicks in

September 6 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. If you wish to see the list of the Patriots eligible to be placed on the 2015 practice squad please see this blog post.
September 6 Final day of preseason training camp for all clubs, as defined in CBA Article 23, Section 9.
September 9 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 Patriots will need another $870,000 in cap space to pay the salaries of players 52, and 53. The Patriots typically have a $2 to $4 million cushion to replace players placed on IR and to reach injury settlements with players. Under the new CBA the Patriots have placed the following amounts of players on Injured Reserve or NFI (Non Football Injury)

  • 2011 – 12
  • 2012 – 11
  • 2013 – 13
  • 2014 – 10

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 $1.4 million cushion for NLBE incentives that are likely to be earned in 2015.

  • Sebastian Vollmer’s $62,500 46-man active roster which totals $62,500 since Vollmer played in 15 games in 2014
  • Julian Edelman’s $46,875 46-man active roster which totals $93,750 since Edelman played in 14 games in 2014
  • Bradley Fletcher’s $18,750 46-man active roster which totals $18,750 since Fletcher played in 15 games in 2014
  • Alan Branch’s $25,000 46-man active roster which totals $200,000 since Branch played in 8 games in 2014
  • Ryan Wendell’s $12,500 46-man active roster which totals $175,000 since Wendell played in 14 games in 2014
  • Vollmer’s 90% playing-time incentive – $1,000,000

To read more about LTBE/NLTBE incentives see this blog post

Current cap space – $8,850,000
Players 52, 53, and practice squad (-$2,120,000) – early September
Robichaud roster effect – ($2,300,000). May create more if the Patriots release more higher-paid salaried players that I am currently expecting. – Also early September
Cushion for replacing injured players during the season (-$3,000,000) – Also early September
Cushion for reached NLTBE incentives (-$1,400,000) – Also early September
Cushion for in-season extensions (-$2,000,000) – Also early September
Credit for LeGarette Blount’s suspension ($45,000) – 1st week of regular season
Credit for Tom Brady’s suspension ($1,900,000) – 1st week of regular season

8,850,000 (Current cap space)
-2,120,000 (paying for players 52, 53 and practice squad)
+2,300,000 (Robichaud roster effect)
-3,000,000 (Replacing injured players)
-1,400,000 (Cushion for reached NLTBE incentives)
-2,000,000 (Cushion for in-season extensions)
+45,000 (Blount suspension credit)
+1,900,000 (Brady suspension credit)
===========
$4,575,000

Therefore, the Patriots would probably like to enter Week 1 with about 4 to 6 million in cap space.

shows that the Patriots have about 5 million in cap space to account for any future free agent signings. That is, they could sign one free agent to a $5.585 million deal today and still account for the above contingencies

The Patriots are currently under their 2015 cap by $8.85 million if they do not cut any more veterans or renegotiate any more contracts. There are plenty of opportunities to do both, thereby opening up millions of dollars under the cap. Here are some possible ways that the Pats could free up cap space. Please note that I am NOT advocating that the Patriots do all of these salary-cap maneuvers.

1.) Extend Nate Solder for a net cap savings of $4.088 million. I would use the deal struck between the Arizona Cardinals and Jared Veldheer in March of 2014 as a template. 5 year, $40 million deal. $8 million signing bonus. $500,000 each year in 46-man active roster bonuses.

  • 2015 – $8m signing bonus, $1.25m fully guaranteed salary, $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses. 3.35 million cap number
  • 2016 – $5.75 million salary. $4 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. $7.85 million cap number
  • 2017/2018/2019 – $7.5 million salary. $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses. $9.1 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.

2.) Waive Aaron Dobson
3.) Waive Tavon Wilson
4.) Release Michael Hoomanawanui
5.) Release Jonathan Freeny

Clearing up a misconception about Malcolm Butler’s contract

Written by: Miguel Benzan
Posted June 7, 2015 at 4:29 pm

Since Malcolm Butler, the hero of Super Bowl XLIX, has not yet participated in the OTAs sessions that the media can attend there has been some speculation about his absence. The point of this video is to explain why Butler’s absence has nothing do with his contract.

Malcolm Butler was an undrafted free agent who signed his contract on May 19, 2014. Malcom did not receive a signing bonus as part of his 3-year contract. His salaries are $420,000 in 2014, $510,000 in 2015, and $600,000 in 2016. Per the CBA (Article 7, Section 3, Subsection K – A Rookie Contract for an Undrafted Rookie may not be renegotiated, amended or altered in any way until after the final regular season game of the player’s second contract year”. In Malcolm Butler’s case this means that his deal can not be redone after Week 17 of the 2015 regular season even if he and the Patriots wanted to redo his deal. Given this restructure prohibition why would Butler miss OTAs to signify displeasure with his contract? As for ending his current deal and signing Butler to another deal that would be subject to the two-year rule Butler would first have to clear waivers. It is highly doubtful that all 31 other teams would pass on a chance to have Butler on their roster for the next two years at his minimum salaries. Per another section of the CBA – “No Team and player may agree to renegotiate any term of a previously signed Player Contract for a prior League Year. No contract renegotiations may be done for a current season after the last regular season game of that season”. Taking these sections together into consideration means that if the Patriots and Butler do redo his deal after Week 17 of the 2015 regular season the restructure will only affect his 2016 cap number and not both his 2015 and 2016 cap numbers.

Hopefully, this blog has cleared up the misconception that Malcolm Butler’s absence has anything to do with redoing his 2014 contract.

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!!!

2015 New England Patriots eligible for practice squad

Written by: Miguel Benzan
Posted May 3, 2015 at 6:36 pm

vStarting at noon September 6 the New England Patriots can build its practice squad, which can consist of up to ten players. Not every player is eligible to be on the practice squad.

Below are the criteria for eight of the ten players:

  1. A player who has not accrued a season of NFL experience is eligible for the practice squad. (e.g. a rookie).
  2. A free agent who was active (46-man game-day roster) for fewer than nine games during their accrued season(s) is eligible for the practice squad (e.g. Tyler Gaffney).
  3. A player cannot be on a practice squad for a third season unless his team has a full 53-man roster.

Note that a player must have a minimum of six games – up from the current three games – on a Practice Squad in order for that season to count as one of the player’s three permissible seasons of Practice Squad service.

Two of the ten players can have up to two accrued seasons of free agency credit. Absent this exception, a player who has earned one or more accrued seasons would not be eligible for a Practice Squad unless the player spent fewer than nine games on a club’s 46-player active list in each of his accrued seasons. Source: http://nflcommunications.com/2014/08/19/nfl-practice-squads-expand-to-10-players/

Note: A credited season determines the minimum salary of a player with X numbers of credited seasons. An accrued season determines when a player reaches free agency. If a player at the end of his contract has 3 accrued seasons, he will become a RFA. If he has 4 or more accrued seasons to his credit, he will become an UFA. A player need 6 games to get credit for an accrued season; 3 games to get credit for a credited season. Games on IR count in the accrued season calculation but do NOT count in the credited season calculation.

Reminder – In order to be placed onto the Patriots practice squad, the player must first clear waivers.

This year practice squad players will be paid a minimum of $6,600 a week, an increase from $6,300 last year. $6,600 * 10 players * 17 weeks= $1,122,000. On August 7th ESPN’s Dianna Marie Russini tweeted that “clubs can give signing bonus, salary guarantees, and roster bonuses to players on Practice Squad.”

Here is the list of all practice squad eligible Patriots on the team’s current roster and the reason why they are eligible.

Updated on September 5 to add Justin Coleman

Updated on September 1 to add Jalen Saunders and Davaris Daniels

Updated on August 18th to add Asante Cleveland.

Updated on August 15th to add Casey Walker

  1. Malcolm Butler (One accrued season)
  2. Dominique Easley (One accrued season)
  3. Cameron Fleming (One accrued season)
  4. Jimmy Garoppolo (One accrued season)
  5. Josh Kline (Two accrued seasons with one of them being less than 9 games on 46-man roster)
  6. Sealver Siliga (Patriots must have a full 53-man roster since Siliga has played on a practice squad for two seasons)
  7. James White (One accrued season)
  8. Aaron Dobson (two accrued seasons) (Eligible because of new rules)
  9. Ryan Allen (two accrued seasons) (Eligible because of new rules)
  10. Jamie Collins (two accrued seasons) (Eligible because of new rules)
  11. Logan Ryan (two accrued seasons) (Eligible because of new rules)
  12. Duron Harmon (two accrued seasons)(Eligible because of new rules)
  13. Malcom Brown (rookie)
  14. Jordan Richards (rookie)
  15. Geneo Grissom (rookie)
  16. Trey Flowers (rookie)
  17. Tre’ Jackson (rookie)
  18. Shaq Mason (rookie)
  19. Joe Cardona (rookie)
  20. David Andrews (rookie)
  21. Rufus Johnson (One practice squad season)
  22. Dion Lewis (two accrued seasons)
  23. Mike Williams (one practice squad season)

Players waived by Patriots in 2015 who are eligible to be placed on the practice squad

  1. Zach Moore (One accrued season)
  2. Daxton Swanson (One accrued season with less than 9 games on 46-man roster. One practice squad season)
  3. Brandon King (rookie) – Signed
  4. Jalen Saunders (one accrued season)
  5. Mark Asper (no accrued seasons and no practice squad season)
  6. Asante Cleveland (one accrued season with less than 9 games on 46-man roster) – Signed
  7. Caylin Hauptmann (No accrued seasons)
  8. Zach D’Orazio (rookie)
  9. Jonas Gray (One accrued season. One practice squad season)
  10. Davaris Daniels (rookie)
  11. Ryan Lindley (one accrued season)
  12. A.J. Pataiali’l (one practice squad season)
  13. Casey Walker (One accrued season with less than 9 games on 46-man roster and one practice squad season).
  14. Tyler Ott (No accrued seasons. No practice squad season)
  15. Chris Martin (one practice squad season)
  16. Deontae Skinner (One accrued season with less than 9 games on 46-man roster)
  17. Michael Buchanan (two accrued seasons)
  18. Tim Wright (two accrued seasons)
  19. Kevin Dorsey (Two accrued seasons with less than 9 games on 46-man roster.)
  20. Devin Gardner (rookie)
  21. Eric Patterson (rookie)
  22. Garrett Gilbert (one practice squad season)
  23. Tim Wright (two accrued seasons)
  24. Logan Stokes (rookie)
  25. L.J. Ford (rookie)
  26. Xzavier Dickson (rookie)
  27. Jordan Devey (one accrued season with less than 9 games on 46-man roster and one practice-squad season)
  28. Eric Kettani (No accrued seasons. No practice squad season)
  29. Jimmy Jean (Rookie)
  30. Mark Asper (no accrued seasons and no practice squad season)
  31. Cameron Gordon (one accrued season)
  32. Jimmay Mundine (rookie)
  33. Joe Vellano (one accrued season. One Practice squad season)  – Signed
  34. Chris Barker (One accrued season with less than 9 games on 46-man roster, one practice squad season)  – Signed
  35. D.J. Lynch (rookie)
  36. Chris Harper (rookie) – Signed
  37. Eric Martin (two accrued seasons) (Eligible because of new rules)
  38. James Morris (One accrued season)
  39. Darius Fleming (One accrued season with less than 9 games on 46-man roster) – Signed
  40. Jake Bequette (Two accrued seasons with less than 9 games on 46-man roster. One practice squad season- Must wait to at least Week 10 to be added to Patriots practice squad

Players who are ineligible for the practice squad because they have been placed on Injured Reserve or PUP

  1. A.J. Derby
  2. Tyler Gaffney
  3. Brian Tyms
  4. Kevin Hughes
  5. Josh Boyce
  6. James Develin
  7. Chris Jones
  8. Darryl Roberts
  9. Bryan Stork

How the 2015 Rookie Salary Cap Pool Will Work for the New England Patriots

Written by: Miguel Benzan
Posted at 7:54 am

With Brian McFarland’s @Ravenssalarycap permission I am using his fine work at
http://russellstreetreport.com/2014/05/06/baltimore-ravens-salary-cap/an-explanation-of-how-the-rookie-salary-cap-really-work/
as a template for this blog post.

Updated on May 5 with exact numbers as provided by Mike Reiss

Soon after the 2015 NFL draft is completed, the league will announce each team’s “Year One Rookie Allocation” (formerly known as the “Rookie Pool” or “Rookie Salary Cap”). This is an oft misunderstood number, because while it is part of the team’s Salary Cap, it does not have a dollar-for-dollar impact on the team’s overall Salary Cap.

The Rookie Salary Cap is often referred to as “a cap within a cap” because it limits the amount that teams can allocate to their rookies in the year they were drafted (and over the life of the rookies’ contracts). But, beyond that, there is a lot of confusion about the Rookie Salary Cap and exactly how it works. Even some in the media do not fully understand the mechanics of it. Some have been heard to say that it’s a totally separate pool of money that is not included in the team’s overall Cap. Others think the entire amount of the Rookie Cap is included in the team’s overall Cap, meaning that teams will need that much overall Cap space to sign their rookies.

Both of those characterizations are incorrect.

The Rookie Cap is not a separate, distinct pool, but rather, a separate calculation and there is not a dollar-for-dollar correlation between the Rookie Cap and the overall Cap. So, while all of the Salary Cap numbers of a team’s draft picks must fit under the team’s Rookie Salary Cap, very rarely will all of that amount actually impact the team’s overall Salary Cap.

The reason for these misconceptions revolves around the Rule of 51, which is contained in Article 13 of the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Rule of 51 dictates that, from the beginning of the league year in early March until the beginning of the season, only the top 51 Salary Cap numbers and all of the pro-rata shares of bonus money for the players outside of the top 51 count toward the team’s overall Cap. All “dead money,” i.e. amounts that count against the Salary Cap for players who are no longer on the roster, counts as well.

Said a simpler way, during this period of the offseason, a team’s Rule of 51 Salary Cap number can be calculated by removing the base salaries of all players who do not fall amongst the top 51 Cap numbers.

This rule is necessary because, during the offseason, team rosters can number up to 90 players. As such, it would be impossible for teams to fit all of those players under the Cap. So, to counter this problem, the NFL has instituted the Rule of 51.

So, by way of example, there is a seven-way tie for Patriots’s 51st highest Cap number at $585,000. Chris Jones, Jake Bequette, Darius Fleming, Josh Kline, Dion Lewis, Joe Vellano, and Tim Wright all have salaries of $585,000. The 58th highest Cap number (Zach Moore) is $535,550. Because the “58th” highest Cap number doesn’t count against the Cap, Zach Moore’s base salary of $510,000 is not currently counting against the Patriots salary cap but his $25,550 in signing bonus proration does. This treatment also applies to all other players who are outside the team’s top 51 – the player’s base salary will not count but signing bonus prorations and offseason workout bonuses will.

OK, so what does this have to do with how the Rookie Cap works?

First, as way of further explanation, under the CBA of 2011, all draft picks receive 4-year contracts, generally with a signing bonus and often with minimum base salaries set for each year of the deal. While 1st and 2nd round picks may have base salaries of more than the minimum in years two through four of their deals, even those players will almost always receive the rookie minimum base salary during their first year. For 2015, the minimum base salary for a rookie is $435,000. For Salary Cap purposes, the bonus received by the player is prorated over the four years of the deal and that prorated amount is added to the base salary to create the player’s Cap number.

So, because of the low base salary and the small signing bonuses that many of the lower round draft picks receive, those draft picks will not be amongst the top 51 Cap numbers on the Patriots (Patriots had 75 signed or tendered players before the start of the 2015 draft). As such, under the Rule of 51, those players’ base salaries of $435,000 will not count against the teams overall Salary Cap and only the player’s bonus proration will count toward the team’s overall Cap.

So, how will this affect the Patriots in 2015?

As we now know, the Patriots ended up with eleven (11) draft picks in this year’s draft.

With the new CBA’s rookie wage scale, the compensation for draft picks is now basically slotted, so based on the 11 draft picks, the Patriots would likely have a Rookie Cap number of $6,647,733. The below numbers are based on reports that the rookie pool will increase by 15% this year after being essentially frozen the last three (3) years.

Those Cap numbers would breakdown as follows :

1st round (#32- Malcom Brown): $1,384,168

2nd round (#64- Jordan Richards): $674,827

3rd round (#97 – compensatory selection – Geneo Grissom) : $580,487

4th round (#101 – from Buccaneers – part of Logan Mankins trade – Trey Flowers): $574,733

4rd round (#111 – from Browns – part of 2015 draft day trade – Tre Jackson): $565,881

4th round (#131 – Shaq Mason): $545,881

5th round (#166 – from Packers – part of 2015 draft day trade – Joe Cardona Jackson): $482,383

6th round (#178 – from Buccaneers – part of Jonathan Casillas trade – Matthew Wells): $470,973

6rd round (#202 – from Browns through Ravens – part of 2015 draft day trade – A.J. Derby): $463,013

7th round (#247 – from Packers – part of 2015 draft day trade): $448,556

7th round (#253 – compensatory selection – Xzavier Dicksonr): $448,196

Presently, the Patriots ’ bottom 5 Rule of 51 Cap numbers are:

47: Antonio Johnson $595,000 ($585K base salary + 10,000 offseason workout bonus)

48: Eric Martin $595,000 ($585K base salary + 10,000 offseason workout bonus)

49: Ryan Allen $585,500 ($585K base salary + 500 signing bonus proration)

50: Cameron Fleming $585,146 ($510K base salary + $75,146 signing bonus proration)

51: Chris Jones $585,000 ($585K base salary + no bonuses)

Again, the team will need to fit all 11 of the draft picks into its $6.647M Rookie Cap, but will not need that much in overall Cap space to accommodate the signing of its draft picks.

So, based on the above numbers, only the first two (2) picks will have Cap numbers greater than Cameron Fleming’s $585,146, which is the Patriots’ 50th highest Cap number. As such, only those two will be part of the top 51 and, under the Rule of 51, will replace Cameron Fleming and Chris Jones who are currently 50th and 51st on the team’s Cap. Only Cameron Fleming ‘s $75,146 signing bonus proration will remain to count against the Salary Cap.

The Cap numbers of the remaining nine (9) draft picks will fall outside of the top 51, so the base salaries of those players, while counting against the Rookie Cap, will not count against the team’s overall Salary Cap. Only the signing bonus prorations for those players will count.

So, to calculate the exact impact of the Rookie Cap on the team’s overall Cap, the amount of the base salaries – $435K – for each of the lower 9 draft picks ($3.915M) can be deducted from the overall number of $6,647,733. Then, for the top two draft picks, while their Cap numbers do count against the overall Cap (by virtue of being part of the top 51 Cap numbers), they replace Cameron Fleming and Chris Jones so $585K of the duo’s cap numbers will be deducted from the team’s overall Cap.

When those three numbers ($3.915M, $585K and $585K) are deducted from the team’s Rookie Cap ($6,669,733), the true impact of the signing of the team’s rookies – $1,583,140 – is revealed.

So, that is how the Year One Rookie Allocation, a.k.a Rookie Salary Cap – the “cap within a cap” – actually works and demonstrates the actual impact of the Rookie Cap on the team’s overall Salary Cap and how it is fair less than most realize.

Slot Name Salary Prorated Signing Bonus 7/4 Cap Hit 9/10 Cap Hit
32 Brown 435,000 949,224 799,224 1,384,224
64 Richards 435,000 239,827 89,827 674,827
97 Grissom 435,000 145,487 145,487 580,487
101 Flowers 435,000 139,733 139,733 574,733
111 Jackson 435,000 130,935 130,935 565,935
131 Mason 435,000 110,881 110,881 545,881
166 Cardona 435,000 47,383 47,383 482,383
178 Wells 435,000 35,973 35,973 470,973
202 Derby 435,000 28,013 28,013 463,013
247 Roberts 435,000 13,556 13,556 448,556
253 Dickson 435,000 13,196 13,196 448,196
Totals 4,785,000 1,854,208 1,554,208 6,639,208
Player 51 (Chris Jones) on the Patriots currently has a cap number of $585,000

And, despite what some in the media may lead you to believe, that number won’t be anywhere near what the team’s Rookie Cap is reported to be.

Please follow me on Twitter: @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!!!

Details on Jerod Mayo’s restructure with the defending Super Bowl champions New England Patriots

Written by: Miguel Benzan
Posted April 29, 2015 at 12:28 pm

At his old cap number of $10,287,500 Jerod Mayo had 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 was not worth such a high cap number. Therefore, no one should have been surprised by today’s report that Jerod Mayo agreed to a restructure.

April 22, 9PM Update: Mike Reiss reported that “a source said Mayo will be guaranteed $4.5 million in 2015, with a chance to earn up to $6 million if he plays in 85 percent of the defensive snaps”

As of April 21, 2015, Jerod Mayo’s 2015 cap number was $10,287,500 which consisted 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 consisted 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 consisted 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

The Salary Cap Impact of releasing an injured Jerod Mayo before June 2:

Mayo’s 2015 cap number would have increased 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 $585,000 salary would take his place in the Top 51 list, the Patriots would then lose $797,500 ($212,500 plus $585,000) 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 Space Loss ($212,500)
2015 Net Cap Space Loss ($797,500)

According to the first report by Mike Garafolo the $4.5 million salary injury guarantee is now fully guaranteed. Do not know if that means that the Patriots guaranteed all of the $4.5 million salary or if they converted part of the $4.5 million into a signing bonus. Garafolo reported that the “final two years on the deal (2016 and 2017) now include $4 million roster bonuses at the start of the league”. I take that to mean that the Patriots now have an option on Mayo as they did with Wilfork, Browner, and Revis earlier this year. If my presumption is correct, if the Patriots do not pick up the option it would mean that Mayo would become an UFA in 2016 and become eligible for compensatory pick calculations in 2017. We learned on April 29th that the option amount for the 2017 season is 2 million.

Below shows the difference between Jerod Mayo’s old deal and his new deal.

Jerod Mayo’s Old Deal
2015 2016 2017
Salary 6,250,000 7,250,000 8,750,000
46-man active Roster Bonus 187,500 500,000 500,000
2012 Option Bonus Proration 2,400,000 2,400,000
2011 Signing Bonus Proration 1,200,000
Offseason Workout Bonus 250,000 250,000 250,000
Pro Bowl Incentive
Start of League Year Roster Bonus
2015 3M Signing Bonus Proration
Totals 10,287,500 10,400,000 9,500,000
300,000 Pro Bowl incentive is NLTBE
Jerod Mayo’s New Deal
2015 2016 2017
Salary 1,500,000 3,250,000 6,750,000
46-man active Roster Bonus 500,000 500,000
2012 Option Bonus Proration 2,400,000 2,400,000
2011 Signing Bonus Proration 1,200,000
Offseason Workout Bonus 250,000 250,000
Pro Bowl Incentive
Start of League Year Roster Bonus 4,000,000 2,000,000
2015 3M Signing Bonus Proration 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000
Totals 6,100,000 11,400,000 10,500,000

As you can see from above, if the Patriot do not pick Mayo’s 2016 option, they will have $4.4 million in dead money hitting the 2016 cap. As you can see from above, if the Patriot do not pick Mayo’s 2017 option, they will have $1 million in dead money hitting the 2017 cap.

What were the minimum 2015 cap savings from the Jerod Mayo restructure?

Based on the reported details Mayo’s 2015 cap number will decrease from $10,287,500 to no more than $9,287,500. This presumes that Mayo’s salary was lowered from $6.25 million to $5.25 million with $4.5 million of it being fully guaranteed. Mayo’s $250,000 offseason workout bonus and potential earnings of $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses would then be left alone. The $5,250,000 salary plus the $250,000 offseason workout bonus plus the potential earnings of $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses equals the $6 million maximum compensation for 2015 are reported by Mike Garofolo.

Current Deal Minimum Cap Savings
Salary $6,250,000 $5,250,000
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 $9,287,500
2015 Gross Cap Savings $1,000,000

What were the maximum 2015 cap savings for the Jerod Mayo restructure?

Based on the reported details Mayo’s 2015 cap number will decrease from $10,287,500 to no less than $5,680,00. This presumes that Mayo’s salary was lowered from $6.25 million to $870,000 – the lowest possible salary for a player with Mayo’s years of services. Mayo’s $250,000 offseason workout bonus and potential earnings of $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses would be eliminated. Mayo would receive a $3,630,000 signing bonus which would be prorated $1,210,000 over the 2015/2016/2017 seasons. The $3,630,000 signing bonus plus the $870,000 salary equals the $4.5 million in guarantee. To reach the maximum compensation of $6 million Mayo would have the opportunity to earn $1.5 million in NLTBE (Not Likely to be Earned) Incentives.

Current Deal Maximum Cap Savings
Salary $6,250,000 $870,000
46-man active Roster Bonus $187,500
2015 Signing Bonus Proration $1,210,000
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
Totals $10,287,500 $5,680,000
2015 Gross Cap Savings $4,607,500

Overview of Aaron Hernandez’s salary cap implications – updated on April 15th, 2015

Written by: Miguel Benzan
Posted April 15, 2015 at 2:15 pm

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’s workout bonus clauses required successful completion of at least 90% of the workouts in New England’s 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’s contract contains a clause where he represents and warrants that there weren’t 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 “You have to hit 90 percent in our contract, and Aaron didn’t hit 90 percent, in our view,”. 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’s workout clause doesn’t account for supervised rehabilitation, the Patriots may contend that he didn’t 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’t 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’t 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

Breaking down Alan Branch’s contract with the Super Bowl Champions New England Patriots

Written by: Miguel Benzan
Posted March 16, 2015 at 9:40 pm

On March 16, 2015 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 “likely to be earned” 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 “likely to be earned.”
  • 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.

Attempting to make sense of the Darrelle Revis departure from the Super Bowl Champs Patriots

Written by: Miguel Benzan
Posted March 11, 2015 at 10:39 am

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’s 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 $25 million cap number? Answer: No.
2.) Question: If Revis played at a $25 million cap number in 2015 how much it would have cost to tag him in 2016? Answer: 120% of $25 million, or $30,000,000.
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.

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

Written by: Miguel Benzan
Posted March 3, 2015 at 10:36 pm

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, 2013–2016 and 2017–2020, 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 2013–16 and 2017–2020 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:

Patriots recently received a $1,184,000 salary cap credit for Aaron Hernandez

Written by: Miguel Benzan
Posted January 17, 2015 at 1:10 pm

In this blog I will try to explain the significance of the recent salary cap credit that the Patriots received in regards to Aaron Hernandez.

At the end of the 2014 season the Patriots ended with $5,258,054 in cap space so that was the number I expected the NFLPA public salary-cap report to report as the Patriots Previous Year CarryOver Amount.
January 17 NFLPA salary cap report.

When I saw that the actual carryover amount was $6,442,054, a difference of $1,184,000. I immediately thought of Aaron Hernandez’s grievances with the Patriots. I go into great detail in this blog post so I am going to just provide a brief summary here. Aaron Hernandez filed a grievance about his 2013 guaranteed salary of $1,323,000, his 2014 guaranteed salary of $1,137,000 and his 2014 guaranteed offseason workout bonus money of $500,000. $1,323,000 + $1,137,000 +$500,000 = $2,960,000. 40% of that amount or $1,184,000 came off the Patriots 2013 cap in late October. 40% of the total grievance amount hits the team cap when the grievance is filed. I tweeted several Patriots beat writers on January 17 – “suspect Pats carryover amount of $6,442,054 includes Hernandez grievance credit. Can U check into that?. Joel Corry, a former sports agent and a must-follow at @CorryJoel if you wish to expand your salary cap knowledge, saw my tweet and then sent me a direct message – “FYl, the Patriots got a $1.184M cap credit for a Hernandez grievance settlement.

What does this mean for the Patriots going forward? It could mean more cap space for the Patriots since an increased prior-year carryover amount will increase the Patriots 2015 adjusted cap number. A team’s adjusted cap number consists of 3 components
1.) Prior Year Carryover
2.) League Cap
3.) LTBE/NLTBE incentives adjustment (LTBE=Likely to be Earned).

Let’s presume that the league 2015 cap will be $143 million and the Patriots LTBE/NLTBE adjustment will be a negative $4,562,500. See this blog post about incentives for more background on the negative $4,562,500 number

Before the Hernandez credit the Patriots 2015 adjusted cap number would be $142,695,554.
1.) Prior Year Carryover of $5,258,054
2.) League Cap of $143,000,000
3.) LTBE/NLTBE incentives adjustment of (-$4,562,500)
=======================================================
$143,695,554

After the Hernandez credit the Patriots 2015 adjusted cap number would be $143,879,554
1.) Prior Year Carryover of $5,258,054
2.) League Cap of $143,000,000
3.) LTBE/NLTBE incentives adjustment of (-$4,562,500)
4.) Hernandez salary grievance credit of $1,184,000
=======================================================
$144,879,554

Please note that we will NOT know if the Patriots won the grievance until it is announced or until the details of the 2015 adjusted cap numbers are provided. Last year around this time I thought that the Patriots had won the grievance over the 2013 offseason workout bonus money of $82,000. It turns out that conclusion was premature. Found out late that 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. Given the passage of time I do not think that I am repeating my 2014 mistake. That is, I am confident that the Patriots recently defeated Aaron Hernandez in the grievance over the “guaranteed” amounts in his contract.

Trying to anticipate the questions this blog post will create

  1. Question:How much cap space did Aaron Hernandez take up in 2014?Answer:$7,532,800
  2. Question:How much cap space will Aaron Hernandez take up in 2015?Answer:As of January 17th, none
  3. Question:What about the $3.25 million signing bonus money that was withheld by the Patriots?Answer: That is a separate grievance

Previewing the New England Patriots 2016 Salary Cap (Part 3) – Defensive Line and Safetys

Written by: Miguel Benzan
Posted January 15, 2016 at 9:55 am

A couple of my Twitter followers asked for a New England Patriots 2016 salary cap preview. Please note that I have used Brian McFarland’s @ravenssalarycap preview of the Ravens 2016 salary cap a template for this blog post.
These numbers were last updated on January 15, 2016.

Quick summary – The Patriots are going to have to make several difficult decisions in the next couple of years about which young players to retain. I will presume that the 2016 salary cap will be $154 million. While we are less than 2 months away from the start of the 2016 League Year (4PM, March 9) I do plan to update this later this year as we come close to the start of the 2016 League Year.

In order to keep these blog posts relatively short I had to break up this preview into 4 pieces.
The first blog explains my projections for the 2016 Patriots adjusted salary cap number. second post projected what will happen with the Patriots unrestricted free agents The second post projected what will happen with the Patriots unrestricted free agents – specifically, the players on the offensive side of the ball and the special teamers. This third blog will project what will happen with the defensive line and the safeties. The fourth portion will focus on the linebackers and the cornerbacks.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (UFAs)
The following 10 Patriots are Unrestricted Free Agents (UFAs) and will be free to sign with other teams if they haven’t re-signed with the Patriots before Free Agency begins on March 9th at 4:00 p.m.:

LB – Dekoda Watson ($585,000 salary, $34,412 cap)
OL – Ryan Wendell ($2,406,240 cap)
CB – Tarell Brown ($2,000,000 cap)
WR – Brandon Gibson ($671,240 cap)
WR – KeShawn Martin ($660,000 salary, $621,176 cap)
DT – Akiem Hicks ($1,542,000 salary, $1,259,588 cap)
RB – LeGarette Blount ($962,122 cap)
RB – Stephen Jackson ($970,000 salary, $114,117 cap)
S – Nate Ebner ($690,390 cap)
S – Tavon Wilson ($1,348,297 cap)

The Patriots do not have any UFAs that must be re-signed. 4 UFAs (Wendell, Brown, Gibson, Blount) are currently on IR. There is no chance that any of the ten UFAs will be given the franchise tag.

1/13 projections on what will happen with the 10 UFAs
LB – Dekoda Watson – signed to a Minimum Salary Benefit deal
OL – Ryan Wendell – either signs with another team or retires
CB – Tarell Brown – signed to a similar deal in 2016 but since incentives are now NLTBE a smaller cap hit
WR – Brandon Gibson – Signed to a Minimum Salary Benefit deal
WR – KeShawn Martin – Signed to a small two-year incentive-laden deal
DT – Akiem Hicks – signs with another team in the hopes of more playing time
RB – LeGarette Blount – signs with the Patriots to another $1 million deal.
RB – Stephen Jackson – Retires
S – Nate Ebner – Signs a Minimum Salary Benefit deal and competes for a roster spot during training camp
S – Tavon Wilson – Signs with another team

I am projecting that the Patriots will have an adjusted Team Salary Cap of $158.7M. The team’s adjusted Cap consists of the projected league-wide Salary Cap of $154M, plus the carryover of the 2015 excess Cap space of $1.3M (actual amount=$1,347,882), and incentive/Cap repayment adjustments (estimated $3.4M – $3,388,125).

So, for the purposes of this projection – and presenting the worst place scenario as the starting point – if the team signs and tenders all of their practice squad players and ERFAs and prior to the team making any other roster moves (releases or retirements) or the restructure of any contracts, the team will have 69 players under contract.

During the offseason, though, when rosters can balloon to up to 90 players, only the highest 51 Salary Cap numbers (and all 2016 signing bonus prorations and all dead money from released players) are counted for Salary Cap purposes.

As such, the Patriots’ estimated Rule of 51 number – again, if they sign all 10 practice squad players and tender all 6 ERFAs would be a Cap commitment of just over $152.1M

Estimates
2016 Cap- 154m
2015 Carryover-1.3m
2016 Adjustments-3.4m
2016 Pats adjusted cap- 158.7m
Cap Commitment (68 players)-152.7m
Space=6m

I am now going to examine by position the most likely 2016 salary cap consequences for the player.

Background information – The CBA says that “a Rookie Contract for a Drafted Rookie may not be renegotiated, amended or altered in any way until after the final regular season game of the player’s third contract year” which means that the contracts of the Patriots drafted in 2014 or 2015 can not be redone at all during the 2016 season. This affects Dominique Easley, Jimmy Garoppolo, Bryan Stork, James White, Tyler Gaffney, Malcom Brown, Jordan Richards, Geneo Grissom, Trey Flowers, Tre’ Jackson, Shaq Mason, Joe Cardona, A.J. Derby and Darryl Roberts. The CBA also says that a “Rookie Contract for an Undrafted Rookie may not be renegotiated, amended or altered in any way until after the final regular season game of the player’s second contract year” which means that David Andrews’ contract can not be redone during the 2016 season.

More background information – The 2016 League Year starts at 4PM, March 9th. By the time the 2016 League Year the player with the 51st highest cap number will have a salary of $600,000. Am presuming that the Patriots will tender all of the ERFAs (Exclusive Rights Free Agents) and sign all 10 of their practice squad members to futures contracts.

The first number after the player is their 2016 salary cap number. The second number is the year that the player is signed through.

DL (10): Chandler Jones ($7.799M, 2016 ); Jabaal Sheard ($6.8125M, 2016 ); Rob Ninkovich ($4.75M, 2016 ); Alan Branch ($2.8M, 2016); Dominique Easley ($1,991,877, 2017); Malcom Brown ($1,730,280, 2018); Chris Jones ($1.668M, 2016); Ishmaa’ily Kitchen ($760,000, 2016); Geneo Grissom ($680,487, 2018); Trey Flowers ($664,733, 2018)

Per the CBA Dominique Easley’s contract can not be touched until after the 2016 season so his 2016 salary cap number will remain the same. Per the CBA the contracts of Geneo Grissom, Trey Flowers and Malcom Brown can not be touched until after the 2017 season so their 2016 salary cap numbers will remain the same.

Expect Kitchen to compete for a roster spot. Only if he earns a spot on the 53-man roster and proves to be a capable backup do I expect him to get extended late during the 2016 season.

Expect Chris Jones who spent the 2015 season on PUP to take a substantial paycut in order to remain with the Patriots this year. Chris Jones had done enough to earn the Proven Performance Escalator in 2016 which increased his salary from $675,000 to a projected $1,668,000. An eligible player will qualify for the Proven Performance Escalator in his fourth League Year if: (1) he participated in a minimum of 35% of his Club’s offensive or defensive plays in any two of his previous three regular seasons; or (2) he participated in a “cumulative average” of at least 35% of his Club’s offensive or defensive plays over his previous three regular seasons. Since Chris Jones played in 46% of the defensive snaps in 2014 and in 67.9% of the defensive snaps in 2013 he qualified for the Proven Performance Escalator in 2016. I am using $1,668,000 which is a 8% increase over the same 2015 number. Expect Chris Jones to sign an incentive-laden one-year deal that lowers his cap number from $1.668 million to somewhere between $800,000 and 1 million.

Since Rob Ninkovich will be 32 years old when the 2016 season and is due only $2 million in cash expect Ninkovich to play the 2016 season under his contract. The most cap space that the Patriots could create by extending Ninkovich is $7,500.

Alan Branch’s presence on the 2016 Patriots roster may be tied to Akiem Hicks who is scheduled to become a free agent in March. If Hicks agrees to a deal that has a 2016 cap number of no more than $2.4 million he would be a younger (by almost 5 years), cheaper and better use of Branch’s cap space. The Patriots have until 4PM March to pick up their option on Branch’s 2016 season. If they pick up the option, they have to pay Branch a $400,000 roster bonus. If the Patriots extend Hicks before March 9th, I would then expect for Branch’s option not to be picked up.

I expect Sheard and the Patriots to reach a long-term extension during the 2016 season. Any such extension will likely lower Sheard’s 2016 cap number. Would expect Sheard to receive a deal that would be scheduled to pay him $45 million over 5 years ($9M APY) – a slightly better deal than Jared Olrick received in 2015 ($8.5M APY). In this deal his 2016 and 2017 salaries are fully guaranteed.

Sheard's Proposed Extension

If I am on the high side on my projection, the better it is for the Patriots salary cap.

As Malcolm Butler’s play continue to improve throughout the year the more I felt that Chandler Jones would be the player that would not reach a long-term deal with the Patriots. Why?

  1. His position (4-3 Defensive End) is the most expensive defensive position out of the ones that are coming up for extension – the others being linebacker, cornerback and safety.
  2. The Patriots not only have seasoned veterans (Ninkovich and Sheard) at his position but they also are grooming even younger talent (Geneo Grissom, Trey Flowers)
  3. Sacks as an singular stat are overrated and have often caused players with a great number of sacks to be overpaid.
  4. Jamie Collins, Dont’a Hightower, and Jabaal Sheard are better all-around players
  5. His incident with the Foxboro police makes it easier public-relations wise to trade Chandler Jones

What do I expect to happen with Chandler Jones? I expect him to play the 2016 season for the Patriots. I then expect him to be tagged in February, 2017 and then traded in March 2017. It is certainly possible that the trade happens this year.

It is in Chandler Jones’ best interest regarding his second contract to put as much time as possible between it and his “stupid mistake”. Before his “stupid mistake” I proposed a deal between Chandler Jones and the New England Patriots that was slightly better than Robert Quinn. This deal is too rich, now.

Chandler Jones's Proposed Extension

S (4): Devin McCourty ($7,937,500, 2019); Patrick Chung ($3,287,500, 2017); Jordan Richards ($843,534, 2018); Duron Harmon ($814.4K, 2016)

Since Devin McCourty signed his deal in 2015 and his 2016 $4.5 million salary is fully guaranteed, can’t imagine that his deal will be touched this year. Please note that as McCourty is active for more games than he was in 2015 (14) his salary cap number will go up by $31,250 as he earns a NLTBE (Not Likely to Be Earned) 46-man active roster bonus. The Patriots will need to reserve a total of $62,500 just in case McCourty is active for all 16 games during the 2016 season.

Since Patrick Chung signed his deal in 2015, can’t imagine that his deal will be touched this year. Please note that as Chung is active for more games than he was in 2015 (15) his salary cap number will go up by $12,500 as he earns a NLTBE (Not Likely to Be Earned) 46-man active roster bonus. The Patriots will need to reserve a total of $12,500 just in case Chung is active for all 16 games during the 2016 season.

Duron Harmon Jones had done enough to earn the Proven Performance Escalator in 2016 which increased his salary from $675,000 to a projected $1,668,000. An eligible player will qualify for the Proven Performance Escalator in his fourth League Year if: (1) he participated in a minimum of 35% of his Club’s offensive or defensive plays in any two of his previous three regular seasons; or (2) he participated in a “cumulative average” of at least 35% of his Club’s offensive or defensive plays over his previous three regular seasons. Since Duron Harmon played in 37% of the defensive snaps in 2013 and in 55% of the defensive snaps in 2015 he qualified for the Proven Performance Escalator in 2016. I am using $1,668,000 which is a 8% increase over the same 2015 number. Since 1.7m is right around the range of the APY (Average Per Year) for a Top 10 3rd safety expect Harmon to reach an long-term extension with the Patriots for around that number with incentives that increases his pay if he plays a higher percentage of snaps.

Per the CBA Jordan Richard’s contract cannot be touched until after the 2017 season so his 2016 salary cap numbers will remain the same.

You can follow me on Twitter at @patscap.

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Examining the salary cap consequences of the Patriots trading for Calvin Johnson

Written by: Miguel Benzan
Posted January 9, 2016 at 12:00 pm

Ever since Calvin Johnson, the Detroit Lions wide receiver, released this statement – “Like many players at this stage of their career, I am currently evaluating options for my future. I would expect to have a decision regarding this matter in the not-too-distant future.” I have been asked questions about the feasibility of the New England Patriots trading for the wideout. When I first heard about it I immediately dismissed the notion but the more research I did the more I think that it is possible while still not probable.

Updated on 1/9/2016 1:30 PM – Noted that the new Lions GM Bob Quinn used to work for the New England Patriots. Also explained why I believe that the Lions will not release Calvin.

Calvin Johnson’s current contract with the Lions has four seasons (2016/2017/2018/2019) left on it. If the Lions were to trade Calvin Johnson the Lions would become responsible for the remaining portion of his signing bonus amortizations ($12,916,000 total) while his new team would then become responsible for his salaries ($67,700,000 total).

2016 – $15,950,000
2017 – $16,500,000
2018 – $17,000,000
2019 – $18,250,000

Please note that none of the above salaries are guaranteed.

Given that Calvin Johnson’s scheduled cash intake is a couple million dollars more than the next highest wide receiver for each of the four years
2016 – $15,950,000 to $13,500,000 (Julio Jones)
2017 – $16,500,000 to $13,000,000 (Dez Bryant)
2018 – $17,000,000 to $12,500,000 (Dez Bryant)
2019 – $18,250,000 to $14,000,000 (Demaryius Thomas)

it is clear that Calvin would be expected to redo his deal as part of any trade.

It is certainly reasonable to presume that Calvin Johnson and his representatives are well aware of Larry Fitzgerald’s February 2015 restructure. Like Calvin, Fitzgerald was in the middle of a contract that was scheduled to pay him a great deal of cash while he is in his thirties. Fitzgerald was 32 at the time of his deal. Fitzgerald received a 2 year $22 million fully guaranteed deal. His 2015 $10 million roster bonus was prorated over 4 years to lower his 2015 cap number as much as possible. Fitzgerald’s 2016 $11 million salary is fully guaranteed. Given that Calvin will be younger (30) than Fitzgerald (32) and has put up better numbers than Fitzgerald (Johnson has 3 year average of 81 catches, 1,261 yards and 10 TDs versus Fitzgerald’s 3-year average before this season of 72 catches, 845 yards, and 5 TDs), Calvin should expect to receive more than $22 million in the first two years of his new deal. Let’s say that Calvin Johnson is amenable to a two-year $25 million deal. It could be structured as

2016 salary fully guaranteed – $4 million
2016 signing bonus – $12 million signing bonus ($6 million signing bonus proration)
2016 cap number – $10 million
2017 salary fully guaranteed – $9 million
2017 cap number – $15 million

If structured exactly like Larry Fitzgerald’s deal
2016 salary fully guaranteed – $4 million
2016 signing bonus – $12 million signing bonus ($3 million signing bonus proration)
2016 cap number – $7 million
2017 salary fully guaranteed – $9 million
2017 cap number – $12 million
2018 dead money – $6 million because deal voids after the 2017 season

Only if the Lions are stupid do they relinquish their rights to Calvin Johnson without getting something back (draft picks/players). Since the Lions new GM Bob Quinn was the Patriots pro scouting director it seems to safe to presume that they will look to get something in return for Calvin if they can not agree to a deal that lowers his 2016 cap number of $24.008 million. Given that the Lions are well under the 2016 projected cap of $154 million they do not need to release Calvin to get under the cap before the 2016 League Year begins. To accept Calvin’s 2016 15.95m salary in a trade means creating the cap space to absorb it even if he does agree to the above deal with Patriots later on. Remember Brady redid his deal in 2007 to create the cap space necessary to take on Randy Moss’ salary before Randy Moss redid his deal with the Patriots. Please also note that any trade for Calvin Johnson would come after the start of the 2016 League Year.

Detroit Lions could pay Calvin a signing bonus to lower his salaries but that would mean giving them better draft picks for them in return. They are not going to do that without getting something back in return.

It helps the Patriots’ chances of landing Calvin Johnson that they play in the AFC since the Lions may want to trade him out of the conference. It helps the Patriots’ chances of landing Calvin Johnson that they are not scheduled to play the Lions until the 2018 season

Let’s say that Calvin Johnson just wants to play for a Super Bowl contender. Out of the 12 NFL playoff teams NFL.Com’s Lance Zierlein lists the Seahawks, Panthers, Redskins, Vikings, Bengals, and the Patriots as having a need at the wide receiver position. The Bengals would be better off signing their upcoming free agents (Marvin Jones and/or Mohammed Sanu) in terms of youth and draft picks rather than trade for Calvin. Can’t imagine the Lions trading Johnson to the Vikings, a divisional rival. Because the Patriots have so many starters already signed for the 2016 season they have the least amount of cap space out of the four remaining playoff contenders (Pats, Seahawks, Redskins, and Bengals) hurting the Patriots’ chances of trading for Calvin. The lack of a first-round pick in 2016 and having only 5 draft picks in the 2017 draft may have a negative impact on the Patriots trading for Calvin as the 3 other playoff teams can easily outbid the Patriots in terms of draft picks.

Hopefully, I have provided some background information on the salary cap consequences and likelihood of the Patriots trading for Calvin Johnson.

To sum up,
if Calvin Johnson is retiring from football, no chance that he will become a 2016 Patriot.
if Calvin Johnson is unwilling to restructure his current deal if traded to another team, no chance that he will become a 2016 Patriot since his contract (67.7 million over 4 years) is bad value for a player (pays Calvin as if he is by far the best wide receiver in the NFL)
if Calvin Johnson is willing to restructure his current deal like Larry Fitzgerald did if traded to another team, there is a small, however unlikely, chance that he will become a 2016 Patriot since the Patriots may fit his needs (desire to win). If he is willing to do a Larry Fitzgerald deal, he might do it with the Lions. The Patriots would be underdogs since not having a 1st round pick in 2016 and having so few picks in the 2017 draft puts them at a disadvantage in bidding for Calvin Johnson. Am not saying that Calvin Johnson is worth a 2016 first-round pick by himself but that a team like the Seahawks could offer their 2016 first rounder for Johnson and a 2016 draft pick from the Lions. The more money Calvin Johnson wants the first two years in the deal lessens the chances of him going to the Patriots as the Patriots will need the cap space to extend their young talent such as Malcolm Butler, Jamie Collins, Logan Ryan, and Duron Harmon. Extending any of the four will increase their 2016 cap numbers. Extending Dont’a Hightower, Chandler Jones or Jamaal Sheard will increase their 2017 cap numbers of zero. The more money Calvin Johnson wants the first two years in the deal lessens the chances of him going to the Patriots as there are more teams in the NFL who will have cap space than the Patriots.

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 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 Patscap.Com with your donation.

You can have a portion of your Amazon.Com purchases donated to the Bread of Life.
You can learn how to do so by watching a YouTube video at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eA-t4XxeOc

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