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Archive for the ‘ overview ’ Category

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

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

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

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

Both of those characterizations are incorrect.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, how will this affect the Patriots in 2015?

As we know, the Patriots are set to have nine (9 draft picks in next week’s draft. As we also know, it’s highly unlikely that the Patriots will end up using those exact 8 picks. Whether they trade up or down, the Patriots are likely to move all over the draft board and it’s anyone guess which picks they will actually use.

However, for the purposes of this illustration, we’ll base our example on the present 9 picks.

With the new CBA’s rookie wage scale, the compensation for draft picks is now basically slotted, so based on the current 9 draft picks, the Patriots would likely have a Rookie Cap number of $5,482,042

Those Cap numbers would breakdown as follows:

1st round (#32): $1,260,364

2nd round (#64): $643,533

3rd round (#96): $563,750

3rd round (#97 – compensatory selection – Aqib Talib) : $561,504

4th round (#101 – from Buccaneers – part of Logan Mankins trade): $556,500

4th round (#131): $531,413

6th round (#178 – from Buccaneers – part of Jonathan Casillas trade): $466,279

7th round (#219 – from Titans – part of Akeem Ayers trade): $452,225

7th round (#253 – compensatory selection – Dane Fletcher): $446,474

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

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

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

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

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

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

Again, the team will need to fit all 9 of the draft picks into its $5.482M Rookie Cap, but will not need $5.482M in overall Cap space to accommodate the signing of its draft picks.

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

The Cap numbers of the remaining seven (7) draft picks will fall outside of the top 51, so the base salaries of those players, while counting against the Rookie Cap, will not count against the team’s overall Salary Cap. Only the signing bonus prorations for those players will count.

So, to calculate the exact impact of the Rookie Cap on the team’s overall Cap, the amount of the base salaries – $435K – for each of the lower 7 draft picks ($3.045M) can be deducted from the overall number of $5,482,042. Then, for the top two draft picks, while their Cap numbers do count against the overall Cap (by virtue of being part of the top 51 Cap numbers), they replace Cameron Fleming and Chris Jones  so $585K of the duo’s cap numbers will be deducted from the team’s overall Cap.

When those three numbers ($3.045M, $585K and $585K) are deducted from the team’s Rookie Cap ($5,482,042), the true impact of the signing of the team’s rookies – $1,276,042 – is revealed.

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

Slot Salary Prorated Signing Bonus July 1 Cap Hit  September 10 Cap Hit 
32 $435,000 $825,364 $675,364 $1,260,364
64 $435,000 $208,533 $58,533 $643,533
96 $435,000 $128,750 $128,750 $563,750
97 $435,000 $126,504 $126,504 $561,504
101 $435,000 $121,500 $121,500 $556,500
131 $435,000 $96,413 $96,413 $531,413
178 $435,000 $31,279 $31,279 $466,279
219 $435,000 $17,225 $17,225 $452,225
253 $435,000 $11,474 $11,474 $446,474
Totals $3,915,000 $1,567,042 $1,267,042 $5,482,042
Player 51 (Chris Jones) on the Patriots currently has a cap number of $585,000
NOTE: Picks 97 and 253 cannot be traded since they are compensatory picks

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

Please follow me on Twitter: @patscap

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

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

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

Below is a summary.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Providing this look at the Patriots’ offseason activities:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

You can follow me on Twitter at @patscap.

A call for a donation

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

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

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

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

Some notes on the above numbers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are the moves that I think that will happen

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

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

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

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

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

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

Background – In the new CBA (Article 12, Section 9) there is a Minimum Cash Requirement – “For each of the following four-League Year periods, 2013–2016 and 2017–2020, there shall be a guaranteed Minimum Team Cash Spending of 89% of the Salary Caps for such periods (e.g., if the Salary Caps for the 2013–16 and 2017–2020 are $100, 120, 130, and 150 million, respectively, each Club shall have a Minimum Team Cash Spending for that period of $445 million (89% of $500 million)). Cash Spending is defined as:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sources: CBA:

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

 

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

February 22  Update – There 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, 2013–2016 and 2017–2020, there shall be a guaranteed Minimum Team Cash Spending of 89% of the Salary Caps for such periods (e.g., if the Salary Caps for the 2013–16 and 2017–2020 are $100, 120, 130, and 150 million, respectively, each Club shall have a Minimum Team Cash Spending for that period of $445 million (89% of $500 million)). Cash Spending is defined as:

  1. Salary
  2. Signing bonuses
  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.

Tracking New England Patriots Incentives after the Super Bowl

LTBE bonuses count against the team’s salary cap in the year that they are scheduled to be earned, NLTBE bonuses do not.
At the end of the season, the NFL calculates how much each team had set aside for LTBEs that weren’t earned – or said differently, it figures out how much was charged to the team’s cap that was not actually spent. Similarly, the NFL calculates the amount of incentives designated NLTBE that were actually earned. If the unearned LTBEs are greater than the earned NLTBEs, then the following year’s salary cap for that team is increased by the net amount. Similarly, if the earned NLTBEs exceed the unearned LTBEs, then the team’s cap for the following year is lowered by that amount. You can see an example of the effect of cap adjustments at USA Today. The teams with negative cap adjustments had most likely earned more NLTBE incentives in 2013 than they did not earn LTBE incentives.

LTBE = Likely to Be Earned
NLTBE= Not Likely to be Earned

In 2014 the Patriots received a credit of $2,002,250 toward their 2014 cap number because of the LTBE/NTLBE calculation. The 2014 Patriots adjusted cap of $139,109,051 consists of $133,000,000 (League Cap) + $2,002,250 (LTBE/NLTBE adjustment) + $4,106,081 (rollover amount from 2013 season).

LTBE Incentives ($7,473,750 total)

  • Matthew Slater has a 300K LTBE Pro Bowl incentive – Earned
  • Vince Wilfork’s weight bonus – $300,000.
  • Vince Wilfork’s 53-man roster bonus – $500,000 – Earned Week 1.
  • Brandon Browner’s 53-man roster bonus – $500,000 – Earned Week 5
  • Rob Ninkovich’s playing time incentive – $250,000 if he plays in at least 75% of the defensive snaps in 2014. Ninkovich played in 95.5% of the defensive snaps in 2013. Ninkovich has played in 93.8% of the defensive snaps so far in 2014 – Earned
  • Michael Hoomanawanui’s playing time incentive – $400,000. Hoomananawanui played in 57.5% of the offensive snaps in 2013. Based on Ben Volin’s 12/28 report that one of the playing-time thresholds is 40% an guessing that there are 3 levels (30 percent or higher – $100,000; 40 percent or higher – $200,000; 50 percent or higher- $400,000). Hoomanawanui has played in 41.7% of the offensive snaps so far in 2014.   30 percent – Earned;40 percent- Earned; 50 percent – Unearned
  • Sebastian Vollmer’s 70% playing-time incentive- $1,000,000. In November the Patriots and Sebastian Vollmer agreed to lower the playing-time levels needed to earn incentives. Quoting the CBA – Any new or altered incentive bonuses renegotiated in a preexisting contract after the start of the regular season in which they may be earned automatically will be deemed “likely to be earned” during that season”. Therefore, this incentive is considered LTBE not because Vollmer made the incentive in 2013 but because the incentive was changed during the 2014 regular season.

46-man per-game roster bonuses – As of December 26, 9:00 AM, the Patriots have $4,223,750 in 46-man active roster bonuses that are now counting against their 2014 cap.

  • Brandon Browner has a $150,000 per active game roster bonus. Browner played in 8 games in 2013 so his LTBE amount is $1,200,000 ($150,000*8). Browner has been active for nine games this year.
  • Vince Wilfork has a $87,500 per game roster bonus. Wilfork played in 4 games in 2013 so his LTBE amount is $350,000 ($87,500*4). Wilfork has already reached this incentive since he has been active for all 16 games this year.
  • Darrelle Revis had a $33,333 per game roster bonus that maxes at $500,000 (15 games). Revis played in 16 games in 2013 so his LTBE amount is $500,000. Revis has been active for all 16 games this year.
  • Danny Amendola has a $31,250 per game roster bonus. Amendola played in 12 games in 2013 so his LTBE amount is $375,000 ($31,250*12). Amendola has been active for all 16 games this year.
  • Julian Edelman has a $31,250 per game roster bonus. Edelman played in 16 games in 2013 so his LTBE amount is $500,000 ($31,250*16). Edelman has been active for 14 games this year.
  • Jerod Mayo has a $31,250 per game roster bonus. Mayo played in 6 games in 2013 so his LTBE amount is $187,500 ($31,250*6). Mayo has already reached this incentive since he had been active for 6 games this year.
  • Rob Ninkovich has a $15,625 per game roster bonus. Ninkovich played in 16 games in 2013 so his LTBE amount is $250,000 ($15,625*16). Ninkovich has been active for all 16 games this year.
  • Patrick Chung has a $15,000 per game roster bonus. Chung played in 12 games in 2013 so his LTBE amount is $180,000 ($15,000*12). Chung has been active for all 16 games this year
  • Brandon Lafell has a $12,500 per game roster bonus. Lafell played in 16 games last year so his LTBE amount is $200,000 ($12,500 *16). Lafell has been active for all 16 possible games this year.
  • Ryan Wendell has a $12,500 per game roster bonus. Wendell played in 16 games last year so his LTBE amount is $200,000 ($12,500 *16). Wendell has been active for 14 games this year.
  • Michael Hoomanawanui has a $6,250 per game roster bonus. Hoomanawanui played in 13 games in 2013 so his LTBE amount is $81,250 ($6,250 *13). Hoomanawanui has been active for all 16 games this year

NLTBE Incentives ($9,766,250 total)

  • Rob Ninkovich has a 200K NLTBE Pro Bowl incentive – Not Earned
  • Kyle Arrington has a 250K NLTBE Pro Bowl incentive – Not Earned – Like to thank the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin for reminding me of this incentive.
  • Sebastian Vollmer has a 250K NLTBE Pro Bowl incentive – Not Earned
  • Jerod Mayo has a 300K NLTBE Pro Bowl incentive- Not Earned
  • Stephen Gostkowski has a 50,000 NLTBE Pro Bowl incentive – Earned. Like to thank Field Yates to bringing the Ghost’s Pro Bowl incentive to the attention of Patriots nation.
  • Sebastian Vollmer’s playing time incentive – another $1 million if he plays in 80% of the offensive snaps. Vollmer has placed in 94.5% of the offensive snaps this year. – Earned
  • Vince Wilfork’s Playing-time incentives:
    • If he plays 50 percent of the defensive snaps: $500,000 – Earned
    • If he plays 60 percent of the defensive snaps: $1.25 million- Earned
    • If he plays 70 percent of the defensive snaps: $2 million – Earned
    • If he plays 70 percent of the defensive snaps and the team makes the divisional round of the playoffs, he makes $2.5 million -Earned
    • If Wilfork plays 70 percent of the defensive snaps and the team is top 10 in points allowed, he earns $500,000 – Earned

    Vince Wilfork has played in 73.6% of the defensive snaps this year. Patriots are 8th in points allowed.

  • Brandon Browner can earn up to $1.25 million in playing-time incentives. Do not know the trigger levels at this time.Brandon Browner played in 43.5% of the snaps in 2013. He has played in 52.5% of the defensive snaps so far in 2014
  • Danny Amendola has a $500,000 NLTBE incentive that is tied to receptions. Do not know the exact trigger levels at this time but presume that the trigger level is no less than 64 receptions since that is the number of catches Amendola had with the Rams in 2012. Like to thank the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin for informing me of this incentive.Danny Amendola has had 23
    receptions so far in 2014 – Unearned.
  • Brandon Lafell has a $300,000 NLTBE incentive that is tied to receiving yards. $200,000 is earned at the 800 yard level. Another $100, 000 is earned at the 900 yard level. Brandon Lafell ended the 2014 season with 953 receiving yards – Earned
  • Julian Edelman has a $500,000 NTLBE incentive that can be earned in one of the following four ways:
    1. 1,057 receiving yards – Unearned
    2. 70 receptions plus seven TDs – Unearned
    3. 80 receptions plus 13 wins – Unearned
    4. 80 receptions plus Super Bowl appearance – Earned

    After 16 games, Julian has 92 receptions totaling 972 yards. He has 4 receiving touchdowns and the Patriots have won twelve games. The Patriots are GOING to the Super Bowl.

Per the CBA, “Any roster bonus which is deemed not “likely to be earned” based upon the player’s performance during the prior year shall immediately be included in Team Salary when earned” so as the below players play in more games in 2014 than they did in 2013 the Patriots will lose cap space in the amount of the 46-man active roster bonus. Example – Wilfork played in 4 games in 2013. He has played in 15 games in 2014. The Patriots have lost $962,500 ($87,500 *11) in cap space so far this season.

  • Brandon Browner has a $150,000 46-man active per game roster bonus. Browner played in 8 games in 2013 so his NLTBE amount is $600,000 ($150,000*4). Browner has been been active for 9 games this year.
  • Vince Wilfork has a $87,500 46-man active per game roster bonus. Wilfork played in 4 games in 2013 so his NLTBE amount is $1,050,000 ($87,500*12). Wilfork has been active for all 16 games this year.
  • Danny Amendola has a $31,250 46-man active per game roster bonus. Amendola played in 12 games in 2013 so his NLTBE amount is $125,000 ($31,250*4). Amendola has been active for all 16 games this year.
  • Patrick Chung has a $15,000 46-man active per game roster bonus. Chung played in 12 games in 2013 so his NLTBE amount is $60,000 ($15,000*4). Chung has been active for all 16 games this year
  • Michael Hoomanawanui has a $6,250 46-man active per game roster bonus. Hoomanawanui played in 13 games in 2013 so his NLTBE amount is $18,750 ($6,250*3). Hoomanawanui has been active for all 16 games this year
  • Jerod Mayo has a $31,250 46-man active per game roster bonus. Mayo played in 6 games in 2013 so his NLTBE amount is $312,500 ($31,250 * 10). Mayo was active for 6 games this year.

Earned and counting against 2014 cap$1,403,750 Earned Total$4,850,000

Amount Event Likelihood
$50,000 Gostkowski making the Pro Bowl Earned
$200,000 Ninkovich making the Pro Bowl Not Earned
$250,000 Arrington making the Pro Bowl Not Earned
$250,000 Vollmer making the Pro Bowl Not Earned
$300,000 Mayo making the Pro Bowl Not Earned
$1,000,000 Vollmer exceeding 80% playing time Earned
$500,000 Wilfork exceeding 50% playing time Earned
$750,000 Wilfork exceeding 60% playing time Earned
$750,000 Wilfork exceeding 70% playing time Earned
$500,000 Wilfork exceeding 70% playing time and Patriots making to the divisional round Earned
$500,000 Wilfork exceeding 70% playing time and Patriots finishing in Top 10 in Points allowed Earned
$1,250,000 Browner’s exceeding playing-time incentives Not Earned
$500,000 Amendola’s receptions incentive Not Earned
$200,000 Lafell having at least 800 receiving yards Earned
$100,000 Lafell having at least 900 receiving yards Earned
$500,000 Edelman has four different ways to earn this incentive.
1.) 1,057 receiving yards
2.) 70 receptions plus seven TDs
3.) 80 receptions plus 13 wins
4.) 80 receptions plus Super Bowl appearance
Earned
$1,050,000 Wilfork being on the 46-man active roster for more than 4 games. Earned and already counting against 2014 cap
$125,000 Amendola being on the 46-man active roster for more than 12 games. Earned and already counting against 2014 cap
$60,000 Chung being on the 46-man active roster for more than 12 games. Earned and already counting against 2014 cap
$18,750 Hoomanawanui being on the 46-man active roster for more than 13 games. Earned and already counting against 2014 cap
$150,000 Browner being on the 46-man active roster for more than 8 games. Earned and already counting against 2014 cap
$200,000 Lafell having at least 800 yards in receiving Earned
$100,000 Lafell having at least 900 yards in receiving Earned
$6,250 Hoomanawanui being on the 46-man roster for all 16 games. Earned
$312,500 Mayo being on the 46-man roster for all 16 games. Not Earned
$450,000 Browner being on the 46-man roster for 12 games. Not Earned
Not Earned $3,512,500
NLTBE Incentive Total $9,766,250

As far as I know, the Patriots will not be credited with any unreached LTBE incentives (Wendell’s being inactive for two games, for example) in 2014. What will happened is that any unreached LTBE incentives will be used to offset NLTBE incentives that were actually earned by other players at the end of the year and there will be an adjustment made to the Patriots 2015 cap number.

After AFC Conference championship game
Negative means that the player reached a NLTBE incentive
Positive means that the player did not earned a LTBE incentive

  • Lafell’s receiving yards (-$300,000)
  • Edelman’s receptions (-$500,000)
  • Gostkowski’s Pro Bowl bonus (-$50,000)
  • Wilfork’s playing more than 70% (- $2,000,000)
  • Wilfork playing more than 70% of the defensive snaps AND the Patriots make it to the divisional round (-$500,000)
  • Wilfork playing more than 70% of the defensive snaps and the Patriots defense finishing in the Top 10 in points allowed (-$500,000)
  • Vollmer’s playing-time incentive (- $1,000,000)
  • Wendell’s per-game roster bonus ($25,000)
  • Edelman’s per-game roster bonus ($62,500)
  • Hoomanawanui’s playing-time incentive ($200,000)
  • Totals (-$4,562,500)

The $4,562,500 LTBE/NLTBE adjustment will be included in the Patriots 2015 adjusted salary cap number calculation as a debit.

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

  • Brandon Browner’s $150,000 per active game roster bonus is now LTBE for 9 games in 2015. It was LTBE for 8 in 2014, an increase of $150,000
  • Vince Wilfork’s $31,250 per game roster bonus is now LTBE for all 16 games in 2015. It was 4 in 2014. In 2014 Wilfork earned $1.4 million via his 46-man roster bonus (87,500 per game). In 2015 the most that he can make is $500,000 ($31,250 per game)
  • Wilfork’s $500,000 playing-time incentive (70 percent of the defensive snaps and the team makes the divisional round of the playoffs) is now LTBE for 2015
  • Vollmer’s $750,000 playing-time incentive (80 percent of the offensive snaps) is now LTBE for 2015. Vollmer’s $1 million playing-time incentive (90% of offensive snaps) remains NLTBE for 2015.
  • Danny Amendola’s $31,250 per game roster bonus is now LTBE for all 16 games in 2015. It was 12 in 2014, an increase of $125,000
  • Julian Edelman’s $46,875 per game roster bonus is now LTBE for 14 games. It was LTBE for 16 games in 2014. Edelman earned $437,500 in 2014 via his 46-man active roster bonuses ($31,250*14). He can earn $750,000 ($46,875 per game) in 2015.
  • Julian Edelman’s $500,000 incentive that can be earned in one of the following four ways:
    1. 1,057 receiving yards
    2. 70 receptions plus seven TDs
    3. 80 receptions plus 13 wins
    4. 80 receptions plus Super Bowl appearance

    is now LTBE for 2015

  • Ryan Wendell’s $12,500 per game roster bonus is now LTBE for 14 games. It was LTBE for 16 games in 2014. Wendell earned $175,000 in 2014 via his 46-man active roster bonuses ($12,500*14). He can earn $200,000 ($12,500 per game) in 2015.
  • Michael Hoomanawanui’s $6,250 per game roster bonus is now LTBE for 16 games. It was LTBE for 13 games in 2014, an increase of $18,750.
  • Brandon Lafell’s $300,000 receiving yards incentive is now LTBE for 2015