Defensive Ends – As of now, the Patriots have four defensive ends(Rob Ninkovich, Chandler Jones, Jake Bequette, and Michael Buchanan) signed for the 2014 season. Their respective cap numbers are $2,850,000, $2,229,136, $709,950, and $508,403.

Ninkovich has a $200,000 NTLBE Pro Bowl incentive.

The Patriots hold a fifth year option on Chandler Jones that will be worth the average value of the 3rd through 25th highest cap numbers at the defensive end position in 2014. That option must be picked up before some day in May 2015. The option is guaranteed for injury and becomes fully guaranteed if Chandler Jones is on the Patriots roster at the start of the 2016 league year. Right now, I project that the option amount to be $8.3 million but expect the number to be changed as deals with defensive ends are made during the 2014 league year. The first day that the Patriots can extend Chandler Jones is the day after the 2014 regular season ends.

As part of the new CBA there is a proven performance escalator for draft picks chosen in Round 3 through 7. Jake Bequette is eligible for it in 2015. Michael Buchanan is eligible for it in 2016. 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. Jake Bequette has played in 3% of the defensive snaps in 2012 and in 1% of the defensive snaps in 2013. Michael Buchanan played in 11% of the defensive snaps in 2013. Would not be surprised if an UDFA beats out Bequette for a 2014 roster spot which increase the Patriots cap space by $150,000.

Andre Carter will be a unrestricted free agent once the 2014 League Year. If he does not retire, I foresee him returning to the Patriots on a veteran-minimum deal. Would not be surprised to see the deal signed right before the start of the regular season so that he can miss the preseason. I can see the Pats adding a couple more defensive ends to their roster through free agency and the draft.

Rob Ninkovich’s cap page
Chandler Jones