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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Year Cap 89%
2013 $123,000,000 $109,470,000
2014 $133,000,000 $118,370,000
2015 $143,000,000 $127,270,000
2016 $153,000,000 $136,170,000
Totals $552,000,000 $491,280,000

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. Yes, the Patriots will 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:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jarius Byrd
Year Salary Prorated Bonus Roster Bonus Workout Bonus Cap Number Dead Money Cap Savings
2014 $1,300,000 $2,200,000 $6,000,000 $100,000 $3,500,000 $18,300,000 ($14,800,000)
2015 $2,000,000 $2,200,000 $0 $0 $10,300,000 $14,800,000 ($4,500,000)
2016 $7,400,000 $2,200,000 $0 $100,000 $9,700,000 $6,600,000 $3,100,000
2017 $7,900,000 $2,200,000 $300,000 $100,000 $10,500,000 $4,400,000 $6,100,000
2018 $8,400,000 $2,200,000 $300,000 $100,000 $11,000,000 $2,200,000 $8,800,000
2019 $8,600,000 $0 $300,000 $100,000 $9,000,000 $0 $9,000,000

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When determining the cap savings from releasing players, keep in mind the Rule of 51. When a player from the top 51 is released or traded, the base salary of the player with the 52nd-highest cap number is added to the cap. For example, if Amendola was released, his cap number would be lowered by $2,100,000, although the actual team savings would be only $1,590,000 because another player’s $510,000 base salary would be added to the team cap.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The below table shows the cap impact on future years

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

 

Given that Revis’ 2015 $25 million cap hit is the largest on the Patriots, it seemed appropriate to look at his comparables and propose a contract that I consider fair to both him and the Patriots. Please note that if the Patriots do not pick Revis’ $12 million option or reach an extension with him before 4PM March 9 Revis will become an free agent at the start of the 2015 League Year (4PM March 10). Please also note that this is about the 6th version of this blog.

February 18, 2015 update – Added a note about the timing of the $12 million roster payment. Added some four-year extensions. Also added one five-year extension. Added a note about the 89% cash spending.
January 12, 2015 update – Added how the top of the cornerback market was reset after Revis was signed with the Patriots.
January 3, 2015 update – Updated 2014 All-Pro honors and make it easier to see size of signing bonuses.
December 9, 2014 update -include JJ Watt and Gerald McCoy as comparables

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.” Added on February 18th – On February 17th 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 have two Revis-related deadlines (4PM March 9th to pick up option, 4PM March 31st to convert roster bonus into signing bonus)

Added on January 12th Before Revis’ deal the top cornerback deal was Brandon Carr’s 10M APY (Average Per Year) deal. There were 5 other cornerbacks whose deals had a $9 to $9.75 million APY. Starting in May, 2014 the top of the cornerback market began to reset. Richard Sherman signed his 14M APY deal on May 7th. Joe Haden signed his $13.5m APY deal on May 27th. Patrick Peterson topped Richard Sherman’s deal by signing his $14.01m APY contract on July 30th.

There were four rankings of the NFL’s Top 100 players done before the 2014 season . They were done by Pro Football Focus, CBS Sportsline’s Pete Prisco, CBS Sportsline’s Pat Kirwan, and NFL players as tabulated by NFL Network. Revis ranked 18th, 28th, 21st, and 38th respectively.

Player Date of Birth Pro Football Focus Pete Prisco Pat Kirwan NFL Players
Darrelle Revis 7/14/1985 18 28 21 38
Richard Sherman 3/30/1988 6 11 13 7
Joe Haden 4/18/1989 75 33 28 39
Patrick Peterson 7/11/1990 58 8 7 22

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

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

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

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

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

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

J.J. Watt is currently the highest paid defender in the NFL. J.J. Watt is almost 4 years younger than Revis. Watt was named the AP Defensive Player of the Year in 2012. Watt was named to the Pro Bowl and the first team AP All-Pro teams in 2012,2013 and 2014. His 2014 and 2015 salaries are 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.

J.J. Watt
Year Base Salary Prorated Bonus Roster Cap Number Dead Money Cap Savings Cash Total Cash
2014 $907,385 $3,668,182 $0 $4,575,567 $22,544,567 $0 $10,907,385 $10,907,385
2015 $9,969,000 $2,000,000 $10m $21,969,000 $17,969,000 $4,000,000 $19,969,000 $30,876,385
2016 $10,500,000 $2,000,000 $0 $12,500,000 $6,000,000 $6,500,000 $10,500,000 $41,376,385
2017 $10,500,000 $2,000,000 $0 $12,500,000 $4,000,000 $8,500,000 $10,500,000 $51,876,385
2018 $11,000,000 $2,000,000 $0 $13,000,000 $2,000,000 $11,000,000 $11,000,000 $62,876,385
2019 $13,000,000 $0 $0 $13,000,000 $0 $13,000,000 $13,000,000 $75,876,385
2020 $15,500,000 $0 $0 $15,500,000 $0 $15,500,000 $15,500,000 $91,376,385
2021 $17,000,000 $0 $0 $17,000,000 $0 $17,000,000 $17,000,000 $108,386,385

Gerald McCoy is currently the 2nd highest paid defender in the NFL. Gerald McCoy is almost 2 1/2 years younger than Revis. McCoy was named to the Pro Bowl in 2012 and in 2013 and to the first team AP All-Pro team in 2013. His 2014 and 2015 salaries are fully guaranteed. These details about Gerald McCoy’s contract come from this Joel Corry report. McCoy‚Äôs $5 million 2015 base salary, $6 million 2016 base salary and $6.5 million third day of the 2015 league year roster bonus become fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2015 waiver period (February 4). McCoy’s $6.5 million fourth day of the 2016 league year roster bonus and $12,742,692 of his $13.25 million 2017 base salary are fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2016 league year.

Gerald McCoy
Year Base Salary Prorated Bonus Roster Bonus Workout Cap Number Dead Money Cap Savings Cash Received Total Cash
2014 $17,500,000 $3,095,000 $0 $300,000 $20,895,000 $22,544,567 $0 $20,300,000 $20,300,000
2015 $5,000,000 $3,095,000 $6,500,000 $0 $14,595,000 $2,000,000 $12,595,000 $11,500,000 $31,800,000
2016 $6,000,000 $500,000 $6,500,000 $0 $13,000,000 $1,500,000 $11,500,000 $12,500,000 $44,300,000
2017 $13,250,000 $500,000 $0 $0 $13,750,000 $1,000,000 $12,750,000 $13,200,000 $57,500,000
2018 $12,250,000 $500,000 $0 $0 $12,750,000 $500,000 $12,250,000 $12,250,000 $69,750,000
2019 $13,000,000 $0 $0 $0 $13,000,000 $0 $13,000,000 $13,000,000 $82,750,000
2020 $10,000,000 $0 $2,500,000 $0 $12,500,000 $0 $12,500,000 $12,500,000 $95,250,000
2021 $10,432,253 $0 $2,500,000 $0 $12,932,253 $0 $12,932,253 $12,932,253 $108,182,253

 

In the below proposals I do not backload Revis’ contracts as much as the Patriots have typically have done in the past in order to increase the Patriots’ cash spending in the years 2015 and 2016. In the new CBA teams are required to spend 89% of the cap in cash over a four-year period (2013-2016). The Patriots spent 82.7%.

It seems reasonable to venture that a Revis extension in the $13 to $15 million per year average range would be 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. An extension will lower Revis’ 2015 $25 million cap number. Here is one example how:

  • Extend Revis through the 2017 season.
  • Give him a $18 million signing bonus which would be prorated over 3 years (2015/2016/2017).
  • Lower his salary from $7,000,000 to $2,000,000.
  • Eliminate the $12.5 million roster bonus

2015 Current cap number of $25,000,000 consists of:

  • $7,500,000 salary
  • $5,000,000 signing bonusproration
  • $12,00,000 roster bonus due on March 10 (to be paid in four installments)
  • $500,000 46-man active roster bonus

Proposed 2015 cap number of $13,500,000 consists of:

  • $2,000,000 salary (fully guaranteed)
  • $5,000,000 existing bonus proration
  • $6,000,000 new signing bonus proration
  • $500,000 46-man active roster bonus

Proposed 2016 cap number of $15,500,000 consists of:

  • $9,00,000 salary (guaranteed for injury now; becomes fully guaranteed the 5th day after the 2016 Super Bowl)
  • $6,000,000 new signing bonus proration
  • $500,000 46-man active roster bonus

Proposed 2017 cap number of $15,000,000 consists of:

  • $8,500,000 salary
  • $6,000,000 signing bonus proration
  • $500,000 46-man active roster bonus

This deal averages 13 million per year in new money over the three extended years. That 13M APY would give Revis the 4th highest APY for a cornerback. Please note that the 2014 franchise tag number for cornerbacks is projected to be $13.05 million so this deal recognizes Revis as a franchise cornerback.

Darrelle Revis – 13M APY – $18 million signing bonus
Year Salary Prorated Bonus Roster Bonus Cap Number Dead Money Cap Savings Cash Total Cash
2014 $1.5m $5m $500,000 $7m $12m $12m
2015 $2m $11m $500,000 $13.5m $20m ($6.5m) $20.5m $32.5m
2016 $9m $6m $500,000 $15.5m $21m $(6m) $9.5m $42m
2017 $8.5m $6m $500,000 $15m $6m $9m $9m $52m

This next deal averages 13.5 million per year in new money over the four extended years and $13.2m over the five years that Revis will be on the Patriots. That $13.5M APY would give Revis the 3rd highest APY for a cornerback. The 2015 salary will be fully guaranteed. His 2016 salary will be guaranteed for injury now and will become fully guaranteed the 5th day after the 2016 Super Bowl). 

Darrelle Revis – 13.5M APY – $20m signing bonus
Year Salary Prorated Bonus Roster Cap Number Dead Money Cap Savings Cash Total Cash
2014 $1.5m $5m $500,000 $7m $12m $12m
2015 $3.5m $10m $500,000 $14m $23.5m ($9.5m) $24m $36m
2016 $9.5m $5m $500,000 $15m $24.5m ($9.5m) $10m $46m
2017 $9.5m $5m $500,000 $15m $10m $5m $10m $56m
2018 $9.5m $5m $500,000 $15m0 $5m $10m $10m $66m

This next deal averages 14.1 million per year in new money over the four extended years. That 14.1M APY would give 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 will be fully guaranteed. His 2016 salary will be guaranteed for injury now and will become fully guaranteed the 5th day after the 2016 Super Bowl. $4.5 million of his 2017 salary will 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 averages 15 million per year in new money over the three extended years. Revis would get a $18 million signing bonus. That 15M APY would give Revis the highest APY for a cornerback in the NFL The 2015 salary will be fully guaranteed. $5 million of his 2016 salary will be guaranteed for injury now and will become fully guaranteed the 5th day after the 2016 Super Bowl) making it the same cap number to keep Revis on or off the Patriots roster.

Darrelle Revis – 15M APY- $18m signing bonus
Year Salary Prorated Bonus Roster Cap No Dead Money Cap Savings Cash Total Cash
2014 $1.5m $5,000,000 $500,000 $7m $6,500,000 $5,000 $12m $12,000,000
2015 $5m $11,000,000 $500,000 $16.5m $23,000,000 ($6,500,000) $23m $35,000,000
2016 $10.5m $6,000,000 $500,000 $17m $17,000,000 $0 $11m $46,000,000
2017 $10.5m $6,000,000 $500,000 $17m $5,000,000 $12,000,000 $11m $57,000,000

This next deal averages 16 million per year in new money over the five extended years. Revis would get a $30 million signing bonus. That 16M APY would tie Revis for the highest APY for a defensive player in the NFL The 2015 and 2016 salaries will be fully guaranteed. $6m of his 2017 salary will be guaranteed for injury now and will become fully guaranteed the 5th day after the 2016 Super Bowl

Darrelle Revis – 16M APY- $30m signing bonus
Year Salary Prorated Bonus Roster Cap No Dead Money Cap Savings Cash Total Cash
2014 $1.5m $5m $500,000 $7m $12m $12m
2015 $5m $11m $500,000 $16.5 $35m ($18.5m) $35.5m $47.5m
2016 $11m $6m $500,000 $17.5m $35m ($17.5m) $11.5m $59m
2017 $11.5m $6m $500,000 $18m $24m ($6m) $12m $71m
2018 $11m $6m $500,000 $17.5m $12m $5.5m $11.5m $82.5m
2019 $9m $6m $500,000 $15.5m $6m $9.5m $9.5m $92m

This next table shows Revis’ cap hits if the Pats retain his $25 million cap hit in 2015 and then choose to place the franchise tag on him after the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Please note that the player’s franchise tag number is the higher of 120% of his prior year’s cap number OR the result reached in the franchise tag number formula calculation.

Darrelle Revis – w 25 million cap hit in 2015 and then tagged
Year Salary Prorated Bonus Roster Cap No Dead Money Cap Savings Cash Total Cash
2014 $1.5m $5,000,000 $500,000 $7m $0 $0 $12,000,000 $12,000,000
2015 $7.5m $5,000,000 $12,500,000 $25m $8m $17m $20,000,000 $32,000,000
2016 $30m $0 $0 $30m $30m $0 $30,000,000 $62,000,000
2017 $36m $0 $0 $36m $36m $0 $36,000,000 $98,000,000

http://overthecap.com/freeagents.php?Position=CB&Year=2015 lists the cornerbacks who will become free agents after this season. As of now, Revis should be considered the best available free agent cornerback. There is no one that I consider to be in Revis’ class.

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

  • A extension with a 12M APY would make Revis the 4th highest paid cornerback
  • 12.5M APY would make Revis the 4th highest paid cornerback
  • 13M APY would make Revis the 4th highest paid cornerback
  • 13.5M APY would tie Revis for 3rd
  • 14M APY would tie Revis for 2nd
  • 14.01M APY would tie Revis for 1st

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

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

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

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

(1) Right of First Refusal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Source- CBA, Article 10, Section 11

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

Summary

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

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

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

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

As of February 13, Danny Amendola’s 2015 cap number is $5,700,000 which consists of 4 million salary, $1.2 million in signing bonus proration, and $500,000 ($31,250 per 46-man active roster appearance) roster bonus.¬†Amendola is due $16.5 million in cash from the Patriots for the next three seasons.¬†Danny Amendola also has $500,000 in NTLBE incentives tied to receptions. Do not know the exact trigger level but presume that the lowest level is 64 since he had 63 receptions in 2012.

Cut or Trade Danny Amendola before June 2:

Amendola’s 2015 cap number would then decrease from $5.7 million to $3.6 million – the rest of his signing bonus proration for a gross cap savings of $2.1 million. Since a player with a $510,000 salary would then take his place in the Top 51 list, the the net cap savings for the Patriots would be $1,590,000 ($2.1 million minus $510,000).
Amendola’s 2016 cap number would go from $6.7 million to zero.
Amendola’s 2017 cap number would go from $7.7 million to zero.

Cut Danny Amendola before June 2 and make him a post June 1 designation:

That means the Pats would carry his $4 million salary and his $500,000 roster bonus on their books until June 2nd. On June 2nd he would be released. His 2015 cap number would then drop from $5.7 million to $1.2 million ($1.2 million signing bonus proration) – gross cap savings in 2015 of $4.5 million, net cap savings of $3,915,000.
His 2016 cap number would go from $6.7 million to $2.4 million.
His 2017 cap number would go from $7.7 million to zero.

A Twitter follower asked me to list the pros/cons of designating Amendola a June 2 release as opposed to releasing him before June 1.
Pros: Greater cap savings in 2015 ($3,915,000 versus $1,590,000)
Cons: Less cap savings in 2016 ($4.3 million versus $6.7 million)
More dead money in 2014 ($2.4 million versus zero)
Have to carry Amendola’s $5.7 million on the cap until June 2nd.

Cut or Trade Danny Amendola after June 1:

His 2015 cap number would then drop from $5.7 million to $1.2 million ($1.2 million signing bonus proration) – gross cap savings in 2015 of $4.5 million, net cap savings of $3,990,000.
His 2016 cap number would go from $6.7 million to $2.4 million.
His 2017 cap number would go from $7.575 million to zero.

Lower Danny Amendola’s salary from $4 million to $1.9 million:
This would lower his 2015 cap number from $5.7 million to $3.6 million for a cap savings of $2.1 million. The $3.6 million cap hit with him on the 53-man roster would be the same as releasing him before June 2nd.

Lower Danny Amendola’s salary from $4 million to x million with a chance to recoup reduced salary by reaching NLTBE incentives (This is my preferred scenario)
Danny Amendola could agree to lower his salary and he would have the chance to earn the money back by reaching NLTBE incentives. The incentives could be for

  1. Receptions – Anything more than 27 receptions would be NLTBE
  2. Receiving Yards – Anything more than 200 receiving yards would be NLTBE
  3. Receiving TDs – Anything more than 1 receiving TD would be NLTBE
  4. Wins – Anything more than 12 wins would be NLTBE

These incentives could have different levels. One example is
250 yards – is worth $250,000
500 yards – is worth another $250,000 for a total of $500,000
800 yards – is worth another $500,000 for a total of $1 million

Lower Danny Amendola’s salary from $4 million to $745,000
$745,000 is the lowest minimum salary for a player with Danny Amendola’s experience for a cap savings of $3,255,000. I just doubt that Amendola would agree to such a paycut

Redo Danny Amendola’s entire deal
Danny Amendola and Patriots could come to the realization that he is not worth an average of $5.5 million in cash the next 3 years and lower the cash due Amendola from $16.5 million to X million. Would expect Amendola would get a small signing bonus in return for agreeing to lowering his salaries the next 3 years. Such a move would lower all of his cap numbers.

Here’s one example:
In return for a $3 million signing bonus Amendola agrees to lower his salaries to $1 million, $2 million, $3 million, respectively.
His 2015/2016/2017 cap numbers would all be lowered by $2 million each to $3.7 million, $4.7 million, and $5.7 million respectively.
The downside of doing this type of deal is that it increases Amendola’s dead money hit for all 3 years.

Amendola’s Current Deal
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Salary 1,250,000 2,750,000 4,000,000 5,000,000 6,000,000
Signing Bonus Proration 1,200,000 1,200,000 1,200,000 1,200,000 1,200,000
Roster Bonus 375,000 500,000 500,000 500,000 500,000
Totals 2,825,000 4,450,000 5,700,000 6,700,000 7,700,000
Cash Received 7,625,000 3,250,000 4,500,000 5,500,000 6,500,000
Total Cash Received 10,875,000 15,375,000 20,875,000 27,375,000
Amendola’s Proposed Deal
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Salary 1,250,000 2,750,000 1,000,000 2,000,000 3,000,000
Signing Bonus Proration 1,200,000 1,200,000 1,200,000 1,200,000 1,200,000
2015 Signing Bonus Proration 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000
Roster Bonus 375,000 500,000 500,000 500,000 500,000
Totals 2,825,000 4,450,000 3,700,000 4,700,000 5,700,000
Difference 2,000,000 2,000,000 2,000,000
Cash Received 7,625,000 3,250,000 4,500,000 2,500,000 3,500,000
Total Cash Received 10,875,000 15,375,000 17,875,000 21,375,000
Cash Difference 3,000,000 6,000,000

How Super Bowl Champions New England Patriots can create cap space to repeat in 2015

As of February 7, I have the Patriots 2015 total cap commitments as $151,829,797. The $151,829,797 total is AFTER the Patriots signed all of its practice squad players to 2015 contracts as presumes that the Patriots will tender all 5 ERFAs. There are several projections for the 2015 League cap. They have ranged from $138 million to $146 million.  I will split the difference and use $142 million. I project that that the Patriots adjusted cap number will be about $1.88 million higher than the league cap number. So, as of February 7 I project the Patriots to be over their projected cap number by about $7.9 million. So it appears that the Patriots will need to create cap space by releasing veterans or renegotiating existing contracts. There are plenty of opportunities to do both, thereby opening up millions of dollars under the cap.

When determining the cap savings from releasing players, keep in mind the Rule of 51. When a player from the top 51 is released or traded, the base salary of the player with the 52nd-highest cap number is added to the cap. For example, if Amendola was released, his cap number would be lowered by $2,100,000, although the actual team savings would be only $1,590,000 because another player’s $510,000 base salary would be added to the team cap.

These numbers are in millions
Player Salary Bonuses Cap Number Dead Money Cap Savings after Top 51 effect
Darrelle Revis $7.5 $17.5 $25 $5 $19.49
Tom Brady $8 $6 $14 $18 (-$4.51)
Jerod Mayo $6.25 $4 $10.2875 $6 $3.7775
Vince Wilfork $3 $5.9 $8.9 $.9 $7.6
Rob Gronkowski $4.75 $3.9 $8.65 $8.3 ($.016)
Sebastian Vollmer $2.25 $5.8 $8.02 $4.2 $3.34
Nate Solder $7.438 $0 $7.438 $0 $6.928
Danny Amendola $4 $1.7 $5.7 $3.6 $1.59
Brandon Browner $1.9 $2.9 $4.8 $0 $4.29
Kyle Arrington $3 $1.625 $4.625 $3.5 $.865
Julian Edelman $2.25 $1.9 $4.656 $5.75 (-$1.60375)
Rob Ninkovich $2.1 $1.85 $3.95 $2.5 $.94
Brandon Lafell $1.8 $1.7 $3.5 $2 $.99
Marcus Cannon $1.2 $1.4 $2.6 $2.1 $0
Matthew Slater $1 $.666 $1.666 $2.3 (-$1.08)
Ryan Wendell $1 $.6 $2.45 $.425 $1.515
Michael Hoomanawanui $.8 $.78 $1.58 $.18 $.89
Alfonzo Dennard $1.5724 $0.014462 $1.5724 $0.014462 $1.064
Tavon Wilson $.8 $.78 $1.58 $.18 $.89
LaGarrette Blount $.75 $.25 $1 $0 $.49

Some notes on the above numbers

  • Darrelle Revis’ dead money increases to $17,000,000 the beginning of the 2015 League Year because his $12 million roster bonus is due then.
  • Jerod Mayo’s dead money increases to $10.5 million if release is injury-related. $4.5 million of Mayo’s 2015 salary is guaranteed for injury.
  • Rob Gronkowski’s dead money increases to $10,300,000 the beginning of the 2015 League Year because the Patriots would have to count the 2015 proration of his 2016 $10 million option bonus as dead money if they released Gronk after the start of the 2015 League Year.
  • Vince Wilfork’s dead money increases to $4,866,667 the begininng of the 2015 League Year because he is due a $4 million roster bonus then
  • Nate Solder’s dead money increases to $7,438,000 the beginning of the 2015 League Year because his $7.438 million becomes fully guaranteed then
  • Brandon Browner’s dead money increases to $2,000,000 the beginning of the 2015 League Year because he is due a $2 million roster bonus then
  • Matthew Slater’s dead money drops to $1,333,334 if traded because his $1 million salary is fully guaranteed
  • Julian Edelman’s dead money drops to $3,750,000 if traded because $2 million of his 2015 salary is fully guaranteed and his new team would be responsible for it.
  • Rob Ninkovich’s dead money increases to $3,500,000 the 5th day of the 2015 League Year because $1 million of his salary becomes fully guaranteed that day
  • Michael Hoomananawui’s dead money increases to $480,000 the 5th day of the 2015 League Year because he is due a $300,000 roster bonus then
  • LaGarrette Blount’s dead money increases to $100,000 the 5th day of the 2015 League Year because he is due a $100,000 roster bonus then
  • Ryan Wendell’s 2015 cap number may be increased if any part of his $1.25 million in playing-time incentives are classified as LTBE for the 2015 season.
  • Brandon Lafell’s 2015 cap number may be increased if any more part of his 2015 incentives are classified as LTBE for the 2015 season.

Here are some possible ways that the Pats could free up cap space. Please note that I am NOT advocating that the Patriots do all of these salary-cap maneuvers. The bolded maneuvers are my current predictions for that particular player. Am NOT predicting that the Patriots will do all of the bolded moves, just that if they do a move with a player, that it will be the bolded one. There is no need for the Patriots to do all of the bolded moves. The players are listed in descending 2015 cap number. Please note that following some option will result in increasing the player’s cap numbers for future seasons.

  1. Extend Darrelle Revis I outline several possible extensions between the Patriots and Darrelle Revis in this blog post. My preferred deal would create $10 million in cap space
  2. Release Darrelle Revis for a net cap savings of $19,490,000
  3. Redo Jerod Mayo’s deal similar to the 2014 Vince Wilfork restructure for a cap savings of $4,016,667
    Reaching a Wilfork-type deal with Jerod Mayo
  4. Release a healthy Jerod Mayo for a net cap savings of $3,777,500.
  5. Release an injured Jerod Mayo for a net cap loss of (-$722,500). I outline other cap scenarios for the Patriots and Jerod Mayo in this blog post
  6. Release Vince Wilfork for a net cap savings of $7,556,667.
  7. Extend or Restructure Vince Wilfork’s deal giving him a signing bonus in return for a lower salary in 2015 and eliminating the $4 million roster bonus due him on March 10 – net cap savings of between $3 million and $5 million
  8. Extend Sebastian Vollmer through the 2017 season for a net cap savings from 2 to 3 million.
  9. Extend Nate Solder for a net cap savings of $4.389 million. I would use the deal struck between the Arizona Cardinals and Jared Veldheer in March of 2014 as a template. 5 year, $35 million deal. $6.25 million signing bonus. 500,000 each year in 46-man active roster bonuses.
    • 2015 – $6.25m signing bonus, $1.25m fully guaranteed salary, $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses. 3 million cap number
    • 2016 – $5.5 million salary. $3 million guaranteed for injury at start of deal, becomes fully guaranteed at the start of 2016 season. $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses. $7.25 million cap number
    • 2017/2018/2019 – $6.5 million salary. $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses. $8.25 million cap number.

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

  10. Release Nate Solder for a net cap savings of $6.928 million.
  11. Lower Danny Amendola’s salary from $4 million to $1.9 million – net cap savings of $2,100,000 which is $510,000 more than what would be achieved by releasing him. Amendola’s 2015 cap number would then be $3.6 million. Releasing Amendola before June 2nd would cause a dead money hit of $3.6 million. For the same amount of cap space as releasing him the Patriots would have on their roster a capable backup for Edelman. I outline other cap scenarios for the Patriots and Danny Amendola in this blog post.
  12. Release Danny Amendola for a net cap savings of $1,590,000
  13. Lower Danny Amendola’s salary from $4 million to $745,000, the lowest minimum salary for a player with Danny Amendola’s experience for a cap savings of $3,255,000. I just doubt that Amendola would agree to such a paycut.
  14. Release Ryan Wendell for a net cap savings of $1,505,000.
  15. Extend or Restructure Brandon Browner’s deal giving him a signing bonus in return for a lower salary in 2015 and eliminating the $2 million roster bonus due him on March 10 – net cap savings of between $1.5 million and $2 million
  16. Release Kyle Arrington for a net cap savings of $865,000
  17. Release Michael Hoomanawanui for a net cap savings of $890,000
  18. Trade or Waive Alfonzo Dennard – net cap savings of about $1 million. Because Alfonzo earned a Proven Performance Escalator, his 2015 salary will increase to the lowest RFA tender which is $1.542 million. Since it seems that both Logan Ryan and Malcolm Butler have passed Dennard on their depth chart, there are better uses for Dennard’s $1.542 million salary especially when Dennard has a minuscule dead money hit of $14,462.
  19. Release Tavon Wilson for a net cap savings of $455,166
  20. Release LaGarrett Blount for a net cap savings of $490,000

As you can see from above, the Pats could create $32 million in cap space if they chose to do all of my bolded predictions. The Pats could create $28 million in cap space WITHOUT releasing a single player. The Pats could create over $43 million in cap space without increasing future cap hits.

Here are the moves that I think that will happen

 

  1. Extend Revis
  2. Restructure Mayo
  3. Restructure Wilfork
  4. Lower Danny Amendola’s salary
  5. Waive Alfonzo Dennard
  6. Release Michael Hoomanawanui

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

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

At his current cap number of $10,287,500 Jerod Mayo has the 2nd highest number of all inside linebackers and the 6th highest cap number of all linebackers.  After ending the past two seasons on Injured Reserve Jerod Mayo is not worth such a high cap number. Therefore, as we get closer to the start of the 2015 League Year we should look at the possible salary cap moves that exist between Jerod Mayo and the New England Patriots

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

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

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

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

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

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

N0w that we know the parameters of his current deal let’s look at possible moves by the Patriots.

Cut an injured Jerod Mayo before June 2:

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

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

Cut or Trade a healthy Jerod Mayo before June 2:

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

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

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

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

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

Cut or Trade Jerod Mayo after June 1:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Offer Jerod Mayo the same exact deal as Vince Wilfork

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

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

By what standard are the Patriots the youngest team to ever win the Super Bowl?

February 22  Update РThere were 107 players that were once on the Patriots 2014 90-man roster or on the practice squad. Their average age as of December 31, 2014 is 25.2. While Pro Football Reference says that the average age is 25.2 they show on http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/nwe/2014.htm 69 players. The average age of the 69 listed players is 25.88. I have added a two table to the bottom of this blog. Using Pro Football Reference standard of including every player who was ever on the 90-man roster or on the practice squad the Patriots are the 2nd youngest team ever to win the Super Bowl.

Right after the Patriots defeated the Seahawks it was tweeted out that the Patriots were the youngest team ever to win the Super Bowl with an average age of 25.2 years. That number surprised me since I keep track of the Patriots ages and that number seemed low to me. Right after week 1 games the NFL released a report on the makeup of the team’s 53-man rosters. The NFL PDF had the Patriots average age as 25.79. Right before the Super Bowl ESPN.Com’s Mike Sando included this table in a January 27 piece about the Seahawks roster construction. Since the table was tweeted out later as a graphic I feel comfortable sharing it even though it came from an ESPN Insider piece. Super Bowl Roster Data

How does the average age go from 26.6 to 25.2 in a less than a week?

Here are the averages of the 53-man roster as of February 1, 2015, the day of the Super Bowl.

Player Age
Brady, Tom 37
Wilfork, Vince 33
Connolly, Dan 32
Gostkowski, Stephen 31
Ninkovich, Rob 31
Vollmer, Sebastian 30
Browner, Brandon 30
Branch, Alan 30
Revis, Darrelle 29
Amendola, Danny 29
Slater, Matt 29
Arrington, Kyle 28
Edelman, Julian 28
Lafell, Brandon 28
Wendell, Ryan 28
Blount, LeGarrette 28
McCourty, Devin 27
Chung, Patrick 27
Casillas, Jonathan 27
Devey, Jordan 27
Solder, Nate 26
Hoomanawanui, Michael 26
Cannon, Marcus 26
Aiken, Danny 26
White, Chris 26
Ebner, Nate 26
Develin, James 26
Vellano, Joe 26
Gronkowski, Rob 25
Vereen, Shane 25
Ayers, Akeem 25
Bolden, Brandon 25
Kline, Josh 25
Moore, Zach 25
Tyms, Brian 25
Fleming, Darius 25
Jones, Chandler 24
Hightower, Dont’a 24
Wilson, Tavon 24
Collins, Jamie 24
Harmon, Duron 24
Stork, Bryan 24
Allen, Ryan 24
Jones, Chris 24
Wright, Tim 24
Siliga, Sealver 24
Butler, Malcolm 24
Gray, Jonas 24
Ryan, Logan 23
Garoppolo, Jimmy 23
Boyce, Josh 23
White, James 22
Fleming, Cameron 22
Total 1398
Average 26.38

The average age for the 53 players was 26.38. The average active of the 46-man active roster was 26.65 as the 7 inactives (Tyms, Gray, Vellano, White, Moore, Devey, Boyce) were younger than the team average.

Here are the ages of the 10 Patriots who were on Injured Reserve the day of the Super Bowl

Mayo, Jerod 28
Easley, Dominique 22
Ridley, Stevan 26
Dobson, Aaron 23
Dennard, Alfonzo 25
Buchanan, Michael 24
Gordon, Cameron 23
Orton, Greg 28
Gaffney, Tyler 23
Morris, James 23
Total 245
Average 24.5
Total of 53+IR 1643
Average 26.08

As you can see, if you include the ages of the 10 players on Injured Reserve to the mix, the average age for the 63 players was 26.08.

Bequette, Jake 25
Boyce, Josh 23
Barker, Chris 24
Hauptmann, Caylin 23
Swanson, Dax 24
Krause, Jonathan 23
Skinner, Deontae 24
Green, Justin 23
Gilbert, Garrett 23
Total 212
Average 23.56
Total of 53+PS 1610
Average 25.97
Total of 53+PS+IR 1855
Average 25.76

As you can see, if you include the ages of the 9 Practice Squad players to the mix, the average age for the 72 players was 25.76.

This next table includes all 107 players that were once on the Patriots 90-man roster or on the practice squad at any time during the 2014 season. Their age is as of December 31, 2014.

Player DOB Age
Brady, Tom 8/3/1977 37
Wilfork, Vince 11/4/1981 33
Connolly, Dan 9/2/1982 32
Mankins, Logan 3/10/1982 32
Branch, Alan 12/29/1984 30
Browner, Brandon 8/2/1984 30
Gostkowski, Stephen 1/28/1984 30
Johnson, Antonio 12/8/1984 30
Ninkovich, Rob 2/1/1984 30
Vollmer, Sebastian 7/10/1984 30
Amendola, Danny 11/2/1985 29
Revis, Darrelle 7/14/1985 29
Slater, Matthew 9/9/1985 29
Arrington, Kyle 8/12/1986 28
Blount, LaGarrette 12/5/1986 28
Edelman, Julian 5/22/1986 28
Lafell, Brandon 11/4/1986 28
Mayo, Jerod 2/23/1986 28
Orton, Greg 12/17/1986 28
Wendell, Ryan 3/4/1986 28
Casillas, Jonathan 6/3/1987 27
Chung, Patrick 8/19/1987 27
McCourty, Devin 8/13/1987 27
Aiken, Danny 8/28/1988 26
Byham, Nate 6/26/1988 26
Cannon, Marcus 5/6/1988 26
Develin, James 7/23/1988 26
Devey, Jordan 1/11/1988 26
Ebner, Nate 12/14/1988 26
Hoomanawanui, Michael 7/4/1988 26
Maneri, Steve 3/20/1988 26
Solder, Nate 4/12/1988 26
Thompkins, Kenbrell 7/29/1988 26
Vellano, Joe 10/30/1988 26
Williams, D.J 9/10/1988 26
Ayers, Akeem 7/10/1989 25
Bass, Ben 10/12/1989 25
Bequette, Jake 2/21/1989 25
Cave, Braxston 7/29/1989 25
Dennard, Alfonzo 9/9/1989 25
Dunn, Reggie 1/5/1989 25
Fleming, Darius 7/19/1989 25
Gronkowski, Rob 5/14/1989 25
Kline, Josh 12/29/1989 25
Manumaleuna, Eathyn 1/18/1989 25
McCuller, Taylor 10/21/1989 25
Moore, Zach 10/17/1989 25
Ridley, Stevan 1/27/1989 25
Tyms, Brian 2/21/1989 25
Vereen, Shane 3/2/1989 25
Walker, Casey 12/6/1989 25
White, Chris 1/15/1989 25
Allen, Ryan 2/28/1990 24
Barker, Chris 8/3/1990 24
Beauharnais, Steve 5/2/1990 24
Bolden, Brandon 1/26/1990 24
Butler, Malcolm 3/2/1990 24
Collins, Jamie 5/2/1990 24
Davis, Ja’Gared 9/11/1990 24
Davis, Kanorris 1/21/1990 24
Gray, Jonas 6/27/1990 24
Hightower, Dont’a 3/12/1990 24
Johnson, Rufus 8/28/1990 24
Jones, Chandler 2/27/1990 24
Jones, Chris 7/12/1990 24
Jones, Don 5/24/1990 24
Lewis, Dion 9/27/1990 24
Lion, Dion 9/27/1990 24
Siliga, Sealver 4/26/1990 24
Skinner, Deontae 12/18/1990 24
Stork, Bryan 11/15/1990 24
Thomas, Jemea 4/7/1990 24
Tuipulotu, L.T. 8/3/1990 24
Van Hooser, Wilson 12/31/1990 24
Wilson, Tavon 3/19/1990 24
Worthy, Jerel 4/26/1990 24
Wright, Tim 4/24/1990 24
Boyce, Josh 5/6/1991 23
Buchanan, Michael 1/24/1991 23
Dobson, Aaron 6/3/1991 23
Gaffney, Tyler 4/20/1991 23
Garoppolo, Jimmy 11/2/1991 23
Gilbert, Garrett 7/1/1991 23
Gordon, Cameron 6/5/1991 23
Green, Justin 2/26/1991 23
Halapio, Jon 6/23/1991 23
Harmon, Duron 1/24/1991 23
Hauptmann, Caylin 7/10/1991 23
Hawkins, Travis 2/19/1991 23
Houston, Stephen 10/28/1991 23
Jones, Justin 9/25/1991 23
Martin, Eric 7/21/1991 23
McDonald, Tyler 5/9/1991 23
Morris, James 11/20/1991 23
Ott, Tyler 11/6/1991 23
Ryan, Logan 2/9/1991 23
Swanson, Daxton 3/21/1991 23
Watson, Asa 8/2/1991 23
Wiggins, Reese 5/5/1991 23
Easley, Dominique 2/22/1992 22
Epenesa,¬† Seali’i 3/25/1992 22
Finch, Roy 4/7/1992 22
Fleming, Cameron 9/4/1992 22
Krause, Jonathan 1/18/1992 22
Miller, Terrence 1/16/1992 22
Quarles, Kelcy 1/23/1992 22
White, James 2/23/1992 22
Average 25.21

This next table shows the 69 players listed on ProFootballReference’s roster page. Age is also as of December 31, 2014. ProFootballReference was not consistent in its treatment of practice squad players. It shows Cam Henderson who was on the practice squad for days but not Jake Bequette who was on the practice squad for the entire season. Nor does it make sense to include Antonio Johnson, Rufus Johnson, and Dion Lewis in their listing since they were signed for the 2015 season.

Player DOB Age
Aiken, Danny 8/28/1988 26
Allen, Ryan 2/28/1990 24
Amendola, Danny 11/2/1985 29
Arrington, Kyle 8/12/1986 28
Ayers, Akeem 7/10/1989 25
Blount, LaGarrette 12/5/1986 28
Bolden, Brandon 1/26/1990 24
Boyce, Josh 5/6/1991 23
Brady, Tom 8/3/1977 37
Branch, Alan 12/29/1984 30
Browner, Brandon 8/2/1984 30
Buchanan, Michael 1/24/1991 23
Butler, Malcolm 3/2/1990 24
Cannon, Marcus 5/6/1988 26
Casillas, Jonathan 6/3/1987 27
Chung, Patrick 8/19/1987 27
Collins, Jamie 5/2/1990 24
Connolly, Dan 9/2/1982 32
Dennard, Alfonzo 9/9/1989 25
Develin, James 7/23/1988 26
Devey, Jordan 1/11/1988 26
Dobson, Aaron 6/3/1991 23
Easley, Dominique 2/22/1992 22
Ebner, Nate 12/14/1988 26
Edelman, Julian 5/22/1986 28
Fleming, Cameron 9/4/1992 22
Fleming, Darius 7/19/1989 25
Gaffney, Tyler 4/20/1991 23
Garoppolo, Jimmy 11/2/1991 23
Gordon, Cameron 6/5/1991 23
Gostkowski, Stephen 1/28/1984 30
Gray, Jonas 6/27/1990 24
Gronkowski, Rob 5/14/1989 25
Harmon, Duron 1/24/1991 23
Hauptmann, Caylin 7/10/1991 23
Henderson, Cam 6/2/1990 24
Hightower, Dont’a 3/12/1990 24
Hoomanawanui, Michael 7/4/1988 26
Johnson, Antonio 12/8/1984 30
Johnson, Rufus 8/28/1990 24
Jones, Chandler 2/27/1990 24
Jones, Chris 7/12/1990 24
Kline, Josh 12/29/1989 25
Lafell, Brandon 11/4/1986 28
Lewis, Dion 9/27/1990 24
Maneri, Steve 3/20/1988 26
Mayo, Jerod 2/23/1986 28
McCourty, Devin 8/13/1987 27
Moore, Zach 10/17/1989 25
Morris, James 11/20/1991 23
Ninkovich, Rob 2/1/1984 30
Orton, Greg 12/17/1986 28
Revis, Darrelle 7/14/1985 29
Ridley, Stevan 1/27/1989 25
Ryan, Logan 2/9/1991 23
Siliga, Sealver 4/26/1990 24
Slater, Matthew 9/9/1985 29
Solder, Nate 4/12/1988 26
Stork, Bryan 11/15/1990 24
Tyms, Brian 2/21/1989 25
Vellano, Joe 10/30/1988 26
Vereen, Shane 3/2/1989 25
Vollmer, Sebastian 7/10/1984 30
Wendell, Ryan 3/4/1986 28
White, Chris 1/15/1989 25
White, James 2/23/1992 22
Wilfork, Vince 11/4/1981 33
Wilson, Tavon 3/19/1990 24
Wright, Tim 4/24/1990 24

Since I doubted that the 25.2 average age number is accurate, I then began to wonder if the resulting conclusion (Patriots were the youngest team to ever win the Super Bowl) was also suspect. So I researched the ages of the Seahawks on 2/2/2014 )the day of Super Bowl XLVIII.

Player Age
Clemons, Chris 32
Farwell, Heath 32
Ryan, Jon 32
Jackson, Tavaris 30
Robinson, Michael 30
McQuistan, Paul 30
Mebane, Brandon 29
Bryant, Red 29
McDaniel, Tony 29
Bennett, Michael 28
Hauschka, Steven 28
Davis, Kellen 28
Miller, Zach 28
Giacomini, Breno 28
Avril, Cliff 27
Unger, Max 27
Lynch, Marshawn 27
Gresham, Clint 27
Lockette, Ricardo 27
Maragod, Chris 27
McDonald, Clinton 27
Irvin, Bruce 26
JeanPierre, Lemuel 26
Thurmond, Walter 26
Okung, Russell 26
Morgan, Mike 26
Walters, Bryan 26
Schofield, O’Brien 26
Baldwin, Doug 25
Chancellor, Kam 25
Maxwell, Byron 25
Wilson, Russell 25
Harvin, Percy 25
Sherman, Richard 25
Tate, Golden 25
Shead, Deshawn 25
Thomas, Earl 24
Willson, Luke 24
Carpenter, James 24
Sweezy, J.R. 24
Wright, K.J. 24
Turbin, Robert 24
Smith, Malcolm 24
Wagner, Bobby 23
Kearse, Jermaine 23
Lane, Jeremy 23
Michael, Christine 23
Coleman, Derrick 23
Hauptmann, Caylin 22
Bailey, Alvin 22
Bowie, Michael 22
Hill, Jordan 22
Mayowa, Benson 22
Total 1377
Average 25.98

Comparing apples to apples (ages as of the day of the Super Bowl game) the Seahawks were the younger team. On 2/22 I learned that using the ProFootball Reference standard the 2013 Seahawks are the youngest team to ever win the Super Bowl and the Patriots the second youngest.

One thing DeflateGate has taught me is to question media reports and whenever possible research their claims on my own. In that vain, I will ask that you do not simply accept my numbers. I encourage you to verify them so I have included links to my sources below.

Sources: Super Bowl XLIX gamebook
Patriots roster

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 are currently over the 2015 projected cap. Seems appropriate to now examine the 89% cash spending floor’s impact on the Patriots while hopefully clearing up the picture.

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

  1. Salary
  2. Signing bonuses
  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 in 2013 and in 2014 was $123 million and $133 million, respectively. The total for those two years is $256 million. 89% of $256 million equals $227,840,000. Pelissero reported that the preliminary cash spending numbers for the Patriots had their cash spending percentage at 82.7%. 82.7% of $256 million is $211,712,000. $227,840,000 minus $211,712,000 = $16,128,000 shortfall. The latest projection for the 2015 cap is $143,000,000. Let’s say that the 2016 League is $10 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 $211,712,000. In order to reach the $491,280,000 total the Patriots would have to spend in cash $279,568,000 ($491,280,000 minus $211,712,000) in 2015/2016. That $279.6 million figure would be close to $68 million more than the Pats spent in cash in 2013/2014.

Year Cap 89%
2013 $123,000,000 $109,470,000
2014 $133,000,000 $118,370,000
2015 $143,000,000 $127,270,000
2016 $153,000,000 $136,170,000
Totals $552,000,000 $491,280,000

On Friday, February 20th it was widely reported that both the NFL and the NFLPA are using the $143 million as the 2015 League Cap. I am projecting that the 2015 Patriots adjusted cap number to be $144,879,554 (League Cap of $143 million plus prior year carryover of $5,258,054 plus $1.184 million Aaron Hernandez salary grievance credit minus LTBE/NLBE adjustment of (-$4,562,500). 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 $151,933,547.

$151,933,547 minus $144,879,554 equals $7,053,993 overage. You can see my numbers at http://www.patscap.com.¬† How do I reconcile my $7 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 3 straight years (2011,2012,2013).

Year Cap Patriots Cash Spending
2011 $120,000,000 $130,000,000
2012 $120,600,000 $168,000,000
2013 $123,000,000 $129,656,000
Totals $363,600,000 $427,656,000

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. Yes, the Patriots will 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.

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, $132,684,926. Of course, this number will be fluid throughout the year as the Patriots sign/cut players.
3.) What can the Patriots do to reach the 89% cash spending floor? 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.

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

Updated on February 16 to add free agency rankings

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

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

AzCentral.Com’s Bob McManaman rates McCourty the 10th best available free agent. USA Todayalso rates McCourty the 10th best available free agent. ESPN has McCourty as the 5th
best available free agent. The New York Post also considers Devin the 5th best free agent. AOL rates McCourty as the 9th best available free agent.

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

Jarius Byrd
Year Salary Prorated Bonus Roster Bonus Workout Bonus Cap Number Dead Money Cap Savings
2014 $1,300,000 $2,200,000 $6,000,000 $100,000 $3,500,000 $18,300,000 ($14,800,000)
2015 $2,000,000 $2,200,000 $0 $0 $10,300,000 $14,800,000 ($4,500,000)
2016 $7,400,000 $2,200,000 $0 $100,000 $9,700,000 $6,600,000 $3,100,000
2017 $7,900,000 $2,200,000 $300,000 $100,000 $10,500,000 $4,400,000 $6,100,000
2018 $8,400,000 $2,200,000 $300,000 $100,000 $11,000,000 $2,200,000 $8,800,000
2019 $8,600,000 $0 $300,000 $100,000 $9,000,000 $0 $9,000,000

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

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

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

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

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

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

On October 12th, 2014 CBS Sportline’s Jason LaCanfora reported that the percentage that will be used to determine the franchise tag number for safeties will be 6.713%. The below table lists the possible franchise tag numbers for McCourty if the league cap is between $140 million and $144 million.

League Cap Safety Franchise Tag Number
$138,000,000 $9,264,000
$139,000,000 $9,331,000
$140,000,000 $9,398,000
$141,000,000 $9,465,000
$142,000,000 $9,532,000
$143,000,000 $9,600,000
$143,500,000 $9,633,000
$144,000,000 $9,667,000

If the 2015 cap is $142 million and if McCourty is tagged again in 2016, McCourty’s 2016 cap number would be $11.438 million, a 20% increase over his 2015 projected franchise tag number of $9.532 million. If tagged two straight seasons, McCourty will have garnered in cash close to $21 million over 2 years (2015/2016). Therefore, it seems reasonable to venture that a McCourty deal in the $8 to $9 million per year average range would be fair for both sides, would recognize that McCourty sacrificed dollars in his move from the cornerback position to the safety position and would also recognize that McCourty has assumed all of the injury risk. The 2015 and 2016 salaries would be fully guaranteed. 3 million of his 2017 salary would be guaranteed for injury when the deal is reached in 2015 but would become fully guaranteed if McCourty is on the 53-man roster at the end of the 2016 season. McCourty would receive a $10 million signing bonus. This deal averages 8M in value over the 5-year period and would tie Eric Weddle for the 5th best safety deal.

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

This next deal averages $8.25 million over a 5-year period and would make Devin McCourty the 4th highest paid safety. The 2015 and 2016 salaries would be fully guaranteed. 2 million of his 2017 salary would be guaranteed for injury when the deal is reached in 2015 but would become fully guaranteed if McCourty is on the 53-man roster at the end of the 2016 season. McCourty would receive a $11 million signing bonus.

Devin McCourty – $8.25M APY (Preferred Deal)
Number in Millions
Year Salary Signing Bonus Proration Roster Bonus Cap Number Dead Money Cap Savings Cash Received Total Cash
2015 $1.5 $2.2 $.5 $4.2 $17.5 ($13.3) $13 $13
2016 $4 $2.2 $.5 $6.7 $13.3 ($6.6) $4.5 $17.5
2017 $6 $2.2 $.5 $8.7 $9.6 ($1.1) $6.5 $24
2018 $6.75 $2.2 $.5 $9.45 $4.4 $5.05 $7.25 $31.25
2019 $9.5 $2.2 $.5 $12.2 $2.2 $10 $10 $41.25

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Danny Amendola’s 2015 Salary Cap Scenarios with Super Bowl Champs Patriots

As of February 7, Danny Amendola’s 2015 cap number is $5,700,000 which consists of 4 million salary, $1.2 million in signing bonus proration, and $500,000 ($31,250 per 46-man active roster appearance) roster bonus.¬†Amendola is due $16.5 million in cash from the Patriots for the next three seasons.¬†Danny Amendola also has $500,000 in NTLBE incentives tied to receptions. Do not know the exact trigger level but presume that the lowest level is 64 since his career high is 63 receptions.

Cut or Trade Danny Amendola before June 2:

Amendola’s 2015 cap number would then decrease from $5.7 million to $3.6 million – the rest of his signing bonus proration for a gross cap savings of $2.1 million. Since a player with a $510,000 salary would then take his place in the Top 51 list, the the net cap savings for the Patriots would be $1,590,000 ($2.1 million minus $510,000).
Amendola’s 2016 cap number would go from $6.7 million to zero.
Amendola’s 2017 cap number would go from $7.7 million to zero.

Cut Danny Amendola before June 2 and make him a post June 1 designation:

That means the Pats would carry his $4 million salary and his $500,000 roster bonus on their books until June 2nd. On June 2nd he would be released. His 2015 cap number would then drop from $5.7 million to $1.2 million ($1.2 million signing bonus proration) – gross cap savings in 2015 of $4.5 million, net cap savings of $3,990,000.
His 2016 cap number would go from $6.7 million to $2.4 million.
His 2017 cap number would go from $7.7 million to zero.

Cut or Trade Danny Amendola after June 1:

His 2015 cap number would then drop from $5.7 million to $1.2 million ($1.2 million signing bonus proration) – gross cap savings in 2015 of $4.5 million, net cap savings of $3,990,000.
His 2016 cap number would go from $6.7 million to $2.4 million.
His 2017 cap number would go from $7.575 million to zero.

Lower Danny Amendola’s salary from $4 million to $1.9 million:
This would lower his 2015 cap number from $5.7 million to $3.6 million for a cap savings of $2.1 million. The $3.6 million cap hit with him on the 53-man roster would be the same as releasing him before June 2nd.

Lower Danny Amendola’s salary from $4 million to x million with a chance to recoup reduced salary by reaching NLTBE incentives:
Danny Amendola could agree to lower his salary and he would have the chance to earn the money back by reaching NLTBE incentives. The incentives could be for

  1. Receptions – Anything more than 27 receptions would be NLTBE
  2. Receiving Yards – Anything more than 200 receiving yards would be NLTBE
  3. Receiving TDs – Anything more than 1 receiving TD would be NLTBE
  4. Wins – Anything more than 12 wins would be NLTBE

These incentives could have different levels. One example is
250 yards – is worth $250,000
500 yards – is worth another $250,000 for a total of $500,000
800 yards – is worth another $500,000 for a total of $1 million

Lower Danny Amendola’s salary from $4 million to $745,000
$745,000 is the lowest minimum salary for a player with Danny Amendola’s experience for a cap savings of $3,255,000. I just doubt that Amendola would agree to such a paycut

Redo Danny Amendola’s entire deal
Danny Amendola and Patriots could come to the realization that he is not worth an average of $5.5 million in cash the next 3 years and lower the cash due Amendola from $16.5 million to X million. Would expect Amendola would get a small signing bonus in return for agreeing to lowering his salaries the next 3 years. Such a move would lower all of his cap numbers.


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