Updating my salary cap picture with new information (most likely dates).
Please note that I am using one of Adamjt13′s post as a template for this article. I have the 2014 Patriots’ current cap number as $123,639,131. The following factors will change that:
Rule of 51 – In the offseason, the only base salaries or tenders that count against the team salary cap are those of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers on the team. The Patriots already have 58 players on their 2014 roster which means that the salaries of any additional players less than $495,000 will not count against the cap.
- Voided years – I am projecting that no Patriot had voided years in their contracts. By rule, the prorated signing bonuses from the voided years would have accelerated into 2013, and, after using the remaining 2013 cap space, would have carried over into 2014.
- Exclusive Rights Free agents – The Patriots do not have any players eligible for exclusive rights free agency.
- Restricted free agents. The Patriots have one player eligible for restricted free agency – Danny Aiken who was undrafted. Below are the possible projected tenders.
- Level 1: $1,389,000 (Right of First Refusal)
- Level 2: $1,389,000 or 110% of 2013 salary (Original Round Pick)
- Level 3: $2,124,000 or 110% of 2013 salary (Second Round Pick)
- Level 4: $3,023,000 or 110% of 2013 salary (First Round Pick)
I believe that the Patriots will tender Danny Aiken at the Right of First Refusal level ($1,389,000) which would take up $894,000 in cap space.
- Minimum salary increase – Any player whose base salary specified in his contract is lower than the minimum salary for a player of his experience level is automatically given a raise to the minimum salary. For 2014, this situation does NOT apply to a Patriots player.
- Proven Performance Escalator – As part of the new CBA there is a proven performance escalator for draft picks chosen in Round 3 through 7. Chris White, Stevan Ridley, Ryan Mallett, and Marcus Cannon are eligible for it in 2014.An eligible player will qualify for the Proven Performance Escalator in his fourth League Year if: (1) he participated in a minimum of 35% of his Club’s offensive or defensive plays in any two of his previous three regular seasons; or (2) he participated in a “cumulative average” of at least 35% of his Club’s offensive or defensive plays over his previous three regular seasons. Stevan Ridley played in 14% of the offensive snaps in 2011, 44% in 2012, and 29% so far in 2013. Marcus Cannon played in 16% of the offensive snaps in 2011, 14% of the offensive snaps in 2012 and 36% so far in 2013. Chris White has played in 0% of the defensive snaps in 2012, 0% of the defensive snaps in 2013. Ryan Mallett played in 0% of the offensive snaps in 2011, 0% of the offensive snaps in 2012, and 0% of the offensive snaps in 2013. None of the 4 players reached the escalator.
- Incentives adjustment – I think that more Patriots reached their incentives than did not which will decrease the amount of cap space that the Pats can carry over into 2014.
- Reached NLTBE incentives
- Svitek’s per game $10,000 roster bonus. He has played in 13 games this year.
- Edelman’s receptions incentives has earned him $250,000.
- Talib earned his $500,000 Pro Bowl bonus.
- Matthew Slater earned his $300,000 Pro Bowl bonus.
- Michael Hoomanawanui reached the highest of his playing time incentives ($125,000 if he plays 25 percent of snaps; $250,000 if he plays 35 percent of snaps; $370,000 if he plays 45 percent of snaps).
- Blount’s playing-time incentive of $100,000
- Gregory’s playing-time incentive of $375,000
Not reached LTBE incentives
- Mayo’s 300,000 Pro Bowl incentive
- Ninkovich’s 200,000 LTBE Pro Bowl incentive.
Still to be determined -
- Svitek’s 500,000 playing time incentive
- I am sure that there are other Patriots who have unreported incentives.
- Aaron Hernandez’s grievances – Aaron Hernandez has filed two grievances – one for regarding his $82,000 offseason workout bonus money and another regarding his 2013 guaranteed salary of $1,323,000, 2014 guaranteed salary of $1,137,000, and his 2014 guaranteed $500,000 offseason workout bonus money. There are two amounts involved – the 200,000 offseason workout amount is 40 percent of the offseason workout grievance amount. The 984,800 salary amount is 40 percent of the salary that is being contested in the second grievance. From the CBA – “When a player salary grievance is filed against a Club, 40% of the amount claimed (or, for a player whose contract qualifies under Article 27, 40% of the player’S Salary Cap count, prorated to reflect the number of weeks remaining in the regular season) will be counted in Team Salary until the grievance is resolved or until the end of the League Year, whichever comes first. Aaron lost his first grievance. Have not heard anything about his second grievance. Aaron Hernandez has also filed an grievance anticipating that the Patriots will not pay the final installment of his $12.5 million signing bonus. The final installment of $3.25 million is due on March 31st.
- Michael Jenkins’ grievance – On October 27, 2013 the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin reported that on the Patriots 2013 cap was a hit of $120,200 for a grievance filed by Michael Jenkins. Have not heard the result of that grievance.
Albert Breer has reported that teams have been told that the 2014 cap will be $126.3 million. Actual number to be finalized on March 10th
LTBE/NTLBE incentives calculations
Negative means that the player reached a NTLBE incentive
Positive means that the player did not reach a LTBE incentive or lost their grievance
Amendola’s per-game roster bonus in 2013 -31,250
Talib’s per-game roster bonus in 2013 -46,951
Svitek’s per game roster bonus -130,000
Edelman’s receptions -250,000
Hooman’s playing time incentive -370,000
Blount’s playing time incentive -100,000
Gregory’s playing time incentive -375,000
Talib’s Pro Bowl Bonus -500,000
Mayo’s per-game roster bonus 343,750
Kelly’s per-game roster bonus 312,500
Mayo Pro Bowl 300,000
Ninkovich Pro Bowl 200,000
Hernandez losing workout grievance 232,800
Hernandez losing guaranteed salary grievance 984,800
Total adjustments – 570,649
2013 carryover – 4,106,801
Other possible adjustments – Svitek’s 500K playing time incentive. Unknown incentives
NFL CAP of $126,300,000 + Total adjustments of $570,649 + 2013 carryover of $4,106,801= 2014 adjusted cap number of 130,977,450
Right now, I have the Patriots 2014 cap commitments as $123,639,381
Other possible changes to cap commitments – Unknown players reached unknown NLTBE incentives in 2013 making them LTBE in 2014.
2014 adjusted cap number of $130,977,730 minus cap commitment of $123,639,131 equals 7,338,069 in cap space with 66 signed or tendered players. This cap space number is before redoing the deals of the players already signed for the 2014 season, releasing any signed players, or signing any UFAs or tendering Danny Aiken a RFA tender.
As you can see, based on my projections above, the Patriots would be under their projected 2014 cap by $7.33 million if they do not cut any veterans or renegotiate any contracts. There are plenty of opportunities to do both, thereby opening up millions of dollars under the cap. Here are some possible ways that the Pats could free up cap space. Please note that I am NOT advocating that the Patriots do all of these salary-cap maneuvers. The bolded maneuvers are my current predictions.
Release Isaac Sopoaga – net cap savings of $2.005 million. -
Release Dan Connolly – net cap savings of $2.505 million
- a.)Reduce Wilfork’s salary from $7.5 million to $4 million while converting $3.5 of his salary into a NTLBE incentive – cap savings of $3.5 million
- b) Release Wilfork – net cap savings of $7.505 million
- c) Extend Wilfork through the 2016 season – converting $6 million of his $7.5 million into a signing bonus – cap savings of $4 million
Convert $4.5 million of Mankins’s $6.5 million salary into a signing bonus – cap savings of $3 million while pushing out $1.5 million of signing bonus proration to the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
Extend Gostkowski’s contract by 4 years while giving him a $5 million signing bonus and lowering his salary from $2.9 million to $900,000 – cap savings – $1,000,000
Extend McCourty’s contract by 4 years while giving him a $10 million signing bonus while lowering his 2014 salary from $3.92 million to $1 million – cap savings – $1,000,000
Release Steve Gregory – net cap savings of $2.23 million
Release Tommie Kelly – net cap savings of $1,661,250
As you can see from above, the Pats could create more than $21 million in additional cap room if they chose to do so. The Pats could create more than $7.5 million in additional cap room WITHOUT releasing a single player. That is, the $21 million and the $7.5 million figures are in addition to the $7.33 million in cap space that I believe that the Pats will have before redoing the deals of the players already signed for the 2014 season, releasing any signed players, or signing any UFAs.
Note these projected franchise figures: cornerbacks $11.256 million,defensive ends $12.475 million, defensive tackles $9.182 million, linebacker $10.895 million, offensive line $11.126 million, kickers $3.383 million, quarterbacks $16.086 million, running backs $9.074 million, safeties $8.021 million, tight end $6.709 million and wide receivers $11.539 million.
When determining the cap savings from releasing players, keep in mind the Rule of 51. When a player from the top 51 is released or traded, the base salary of the player with the 52nd-highest cap number is added to the cap. For example, if Connolly was released, his cap number would be lowered by $3,000,000, although the actual team savings would be only $2,505,000 because another player’s $495,000 base salary or tender would be added to the team cap.
The Rule of 51 also applies when free agents are signed. If the free agent’s cap number is among the 51-highest on the team, the base salary of the player whose cap number had been 51st-highest no longer counts against the cap. In most cases, then, the effect of signing a free agent will be $495,000 less than his cap number for 2014. To determine about how much can be spent on free agents, add $495,000 to the team’s cap room per free agent signed. So, if the Patriots enter the free-agency period $7,000,000 under the cap, they could sign one free agent for a 2014 cap number of $7,495,000, or two free agents for a combined cap number $7,990,000, or three for $8,485,000, or four for $8,980,000, and so on. I expect the Pats to sign one big-name free agent (most likely Talib) who will have a 2014 cap number around $4 million, two free agents (one of them to be – Michael Hoomanawanui) who will have a 2014 cap number of $1.2 million, 3 free agents (most likely Dane Fletcher, Matthew Mulligan, and Marquice Cole), who will have a cap number of $800,000 and 4 other free agents (maybe Austin Collie) who will sign deals qualifying for the veteran minimum exception thereby having a cap number of $570,000. I suspect that the Patriots will sign 10 UFAs who will have a 2014 gross cap hit of about $15 million but because of the rule of 51 will take up about $10 million.
At the time of the draft, the Patriots figure to have far more than 51 players signed or tendered. They will not need any additional cap room in order to draft, since all of the draft choices’ automatic rookie tenders of $420,000 will be below the 51st-highest cap number on the team. The Patriots’ 2014 rookie pool figures to be approximately $4,000,000, although the exact number will not be determined until after the draft. Of the rookie pool amount, only about $2 million will count against the cap, due to the Rule of 51. Somewhere between $90,000 and $100,000 of that will be used immediately after the draft to sign undrafted Free Agents. The rest will not be needed until July, when the draft choices are signed. The Patriots would also need to reserve at least $1,696,800 in order to pay for a 8-man practice squad and to pay for players, 52 and 53. Over the past couple of years the Patriots have used about 2 million dollars for in-season replacements. The Pats will probably leave another 2 million in reserve as a cushion for reached NLTBE incentives – Vollmer’s playing time, for one.
Please note that as Jocelyn Robichaud once pointed out in an email: “The current cap status is calculated with the top 51 earners. On the other hand, not all of these players will make the team. Thus, as the team shrinks its roster to 53 players, it will create cap room unless it keeps all of its top earners. For example, let us say that Jake Bequette ($570,000 in salary) does not make the team and is replaced by Taylor Reed ($420,000 in salary). This would free $150,000 in cap room for the Patriots. If Justin Green makes the team instead of Tavon Wilson, that would create $353,444 in cap space. If Sam McGuffie makes the 53-man roster instead of Stevan Ridley, that would create $357,750 in cap space. With just 3 those roster decisions the Patriots could create over $850,000 in cap space when the rosters are cut down to 53 players.