Updating my 2014 Patriots salary cap picture the second week in July.

Right now, the total Patriot 2014 cap commitments is $132,784,719. The 2014 Patriots adjusted cap number is $139,109,051. The Patriots 2014 adjusted cap number of $139,109,051 minus cap commitment of $132,784,719 equals $6,403,532 in cap space with 90 signed players. This cap space number includes into the impact of the Josh Hull signing.

As you can see, based on the numbers above, the Patriots are under their projected 2014 cap by $6.4 million if they do not cut any more veterans or renegotiate any more contracts. There are plenty of opportunities to do both, thereby opening up millions of dollars under the cap. Here are some possible ways that the Pats could free up cap space. Please note that I am NOT advocating that the Patriots do all of these salary-cap maneuvers. The bolded maneuvers are my current predictions.

1a.) Release Dan Connolly – net cap savings of $2.505 million
1b.) Extend Dan Connolly through the 2015 season converting $2 million of his $3 million salary into a signing bonus – cap savings of $1 million

2.) Convert $5.4 million of Mankins’s $6.5 million salary into a signing bonus – cap savings of $3.6 million while pushing out $1.8 million of signing bonus proration to the 2015 and 2016 seasons. For more ways to lower Mankins’s cap hit see this blog entry.

3.) 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

4.) 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

5.) Release Tavon Wilson – net cap savings of $278,444 while having a dead money hit of $376,891 in 2014 and $376,891 in 2015.
6.) Release Jake Bequette – net cap savings of $80,000 while having a dead money hit of $134,950 in 2014 and $134,950 in 2015.

7.) Trade Danny Amendola – net cap savings of $2,880,000 while having a dead money hit of $1.2 million in 2014 and $3.6 million in 2015.

As you can see from above, the Pats could create more than $11.4 million in additional cap room if they chose to do so. The Pats could create $6.6 million in additional cap room WITHOUT releasing a single player. That is, the $10.4 million and the $6.6 million figures are in addition to the $6.4 million in cap space that the Pats have. I should note here that I believe any Revis extension will increase his cap number from $7 million, thereby taking up cap space.

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 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, as of now, the Patriots could sign one free agent for a 2014 cap number of $7,895,000.

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.

I consider the Patriots to have at maximum 5.3 million in easily reached NLTBE incentives. Do not know if the Patriots leave themselves a cushion for those. Wanted to mention them since any reached NLTBE incentives in 2014 will likely lower the Patriots 2015 adjusted cap number. I am trying to guess at how the Patriots will handle having $5.3 million in NTLBE incentives. If they do not leave a cushion for them, the Patriots could end up with an adjusted cap number that is lower than the actual cap number. This is the first time I have seen the Patriots with so much easily attainable NLTBE incentives. Do the Patriots leave a 100% cushion? 0% cushion? Decided to split the difference. I am presuming that the Patriots do leave themselves a 100% cushion or $2,706,250 for the 46-man active roster bonuses and maybe have a 50% cushion ($1.3 million) for the other NLTBE incentives. That is, I guesstimate that the Patriots would like to leave themselves a 4 million cushion at the start of the regular season just to cover reached NLTBE incentives. Why a 100% cushion for the 46-man roster bonuses because as a player reaches that particular NTLBE incentive the amount of their incentive hits the cap the next week. In 2013 as Svitek played in a game the next week the Patriots lost $10,000 in cap space.

  • Mayo’s per-game roster bonus – $312,500
  • Vollmer’s playing time incentive – $2 million
  • Kelly’s per-game roster bonus – $550,000
  • Kelly’s playing time incentive maxes at $645,000
  • Amendola’s per-game roster bonus – $125,000
  • Hoomanawanui’s per-game roster bonus – $18,750
  • Browner’s per-game roster bonus – $600,000.
  • Wilfork’s per-game roster bonus – $1,050,000 if Wilfork plays all 16 games.
  • Chung’s per-game roster bonus – $60,000 if Chung plays all 16 games.

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

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 Ja’Gared Davis ($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 Armond Armstead makes the 53-man roster instead of Marcus Forston, that would create $150,000 in cap space. If Charley Hughlett makes the 53-man roster instead of Danny Aiken, that would create $225,000 in cap space With just 4 those roster decisions the Patriots could create over $870,000 in cap space when the rosters are cut down to 53 players. Figuring that the Robichaud roster effect will create about $2 million in cap space the Patriots would probably like to enter training camp under their adjusted cap by about 6 million dollars.

When Brandon Browner’s suspension takes effect, the Patriots will receive a cap credit of $235,294 — or 4/17ths of Browner’s base salary — making his cap number about $1.59 million.

Current cap space – $6,400,000
Offseason workout bonus money – $375,000. Sometime between now and the end of the regular season every team will be charged for the offseason workouts attended by their players. The daily offseason workout amount is $175. In 2013 the Patriots had 33 scheduled offseason workouts. There are 65 Patriots who can partake in the offseason workouts. 175*33**65=375,375.
Players 52, 53, and practice squad (-$1,700,000) – early September
Robichaud roster effect – ($2,300,000). May create more if the Patriots release more higher-paid salaried players that I am currently expecting. – Also early September
Cushion for replacing injured players during the season (-$2,000,000) – Also early September
Cushion for reached NLTBE incentives (-$4,000,000) – Also early September
Credit for Brandon Browner’s suspension ($235,000) – 1st four weeks of regular season

6,400,000
- 375,000
-1,700,000
+2,300,000
-2,000,000
-4,000,000
+235,000
===========
$860,000
shows that the Patriots have about 860,000 in cap space to account for any future free agent signings. That is, they could sign one free agent to a $1.3 million deal today and account for the

My Positional Breakdowns

Quarterbacks
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Offensive Line
Fullback
Running Backs
Dead Money
LineBackers
Defensive Tackles
Safeties
Cornerbacks
Defensive Ends
Special Teams