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Comparing New England Patriots Cap spending versus the other 31 NFL Teams

Now that the Patriots are now on their summer hiatus, figured it would be a good time to compare the Patriots’ cap spending at each position and compare that against the other 31 NFL teams. Did the same comparison last year. Saw a better format at http://texanscap.com/2015/06/10/texans-cap-spending-vs-nfl-teams/ so I am going to use it as a template for this blog. A tip of the hat to Troy Chapman, the driving force between texanscap.com. I would like to also thank Jason at OverTheCap.com for providing the positional spending for the other 31 NFL teams.

Quarterback (3)

Cap Spending
Patriots $15,456,795
Average $13,414,900
High $28,193,292
Low $3,351,279

The Patriots rank 15st in cap spending at the quarterback position; compared to the Saints at number 1 and the Titans at number 32.

Running Back (8 includes James Develin as fullback)

Cap Spending
Patriots $5,576,772
Average $6,964,286
High $18,528,750
Low $1,879,939
The Patriots rank 18th in cap spending at the running back position. The Vikings are number 1, and the Titans are number 32.

Wide Receiver (10 includes Matthew Slater)

Cap Spending
Patriots $16,649,592
Average $15,710,428
High $31,129,982
Low $8,268,455
The Patriots rank 10th in cap spending at the wide receiver position. The Lions (Calvin Johnson) are number 1 and the Chiefs are number 32.

Tight End (6)

Cap Spending
Patriots $13,936,013
Average $7,687,912
High $16,975,774
Low $2,441,413
Because of Gronk the Texans rank 4th in cap spending at the tight end position. The Rams are number 1, and the Giants are number 32.

Offensive Line (14)

Cap Spending
Patriots $24,866,711
Average $23,659,841
High $35,639,597
Low $11,656,635
The Patriots are 14th in cap spending at the offensive line position. The high cap numbers of Solder and Vollmer are being offset by so many offensive lineman being on their rookie deals. The Jets are number 1 and the Lions are number 32.

Total Offense (41)

Cap Spending
Patriots $76,512,768
Average $67,555,294
High $83,459,588
Low $52,532,212
The Patriots rank 6th in cap spending on the offensive group. The Broncos are number 1 and the Seahawks are number 32.

Defensive Line (13)

Cap Spending
Patriots $17,096,384
Average $23,873,282
High $47,678,712
Low $7,575,237
The Patriots rank 23rd in cap spending at the defensive line position mainly because they have so defensive linemen on their rookie contracts. The Rams are number 1, and the Ravens are number 32. The Ravens position was a huge surprise to Troy and myself

Linebacker (15 Includes Chris White)

Cap Spending
Patriots $19,872,534
Average $18,405,728
High $34,157,396
Low $8,695,697
The Patriots rank 12th in cap spending at the linebacker position. This is higher than I expected. It may be to having 15 linebackers on the roster. The Colts are number 1. The Seahawks are number 32.

Safety (7 includes Nate Ebner)

Cap Spending
Patriots $6,513,140
Average $9,265,567
High $15,560,341
Low $2,627,229
The Patriots rank 11th in cap spending at the safety position. Am surprised that the Patriots are not in the Top 10 with Devin McCourty on their roster. The Seahawks are number 1 and the Giants are number 32.

Cornerback (9)

Cap Spending
Patriots $6,967,285
Average $15,514,205
High $32,992,747
Low $5,161,650

After letting Revis, Browner, Arrington, and Dennard it should not be a surprise that the Patriots are near the bottom (29th) in cap spending at the cornerback position.

Total Defense (44)

Cap Spending
Patriots $55,797,637
Average $67,059,011
High $86,406,073
Low $48,472,917

The Patriots rank 27th in cap spending on the defensive group.

The next two tables includes just the current cap hit player so a player like James Morris who counted $435,000 in the above table counts as $0 since he is not in the Top 51 list and does not have any bonus counting against the cap.
Patriots Salary Cap Allocation by Position (Matthew Slater, Chris White, and Nate Ebner are included in the Special Team total).

Position Cap Number Percentage Count
OL $20,936,711 14.48% 14
QB $15,456,795 10.69% 3
RB $4,046,772 2.80% 8
TE $12,508,013 8.65% 6
WR $13,502,926 9.34% 9
S $10,742,284 7.43% 6
CB $4,132,285 2.86% 9
DL $14,696,384 10.17% 13
LB $15,892,816 10.99% 14
ST $8,303,816 5.74% 6
Offseason Workout $561,600 0.39%
Dead Money $14,017,976 9.70%
Cap Space $9,779,988 6.76%
Totals $144,578,084 100.00% 88

Patriots Salary Cap Allocation by Unit

Unit Cap Number Percentage Count
Offense $66,451,217 45.96% 40
Defense $45,463,487 31.45% 42
Special Teams $8,303,816 5.74% 6
Dead Money $14,017,976 9.70%
Cap Space $9,779,988 6.76%
Offseason Workout Bonus $561,600 0.39%
Totals $144,578,084 100.00% 88

Summary

The team is currently allocating more of its cap space to the offense than to the defense primarily the offense has the four highest cap hits on the team and the most of core of the defense is still on their rookie deals

 

Clearing up a misconception about Malcolm Butler’s contract

Since Malcolm Butler, the hero of Super Bowl XLIX, has not yet participated in the OTAs sessions that the media can attend there has been some speculation about his absence. The point of this video is to explain why Butler’s absence has nothing do with his contract.

Malcolm Butler was an undrafted free agent who signed his contract on May 19, 2014. Malcom did not receive a signing bonus as part of his 3-year contract. His salaries are $420,000 in 2014, $510,000 in 2015, and $600,000 in 2016. Per the CBA (Article 7, Section 3, Subsection K – A Rookie Contract for an Undrafted Rookie may not be renegotiated, amended or altered in any way until after the final regular season game of the player’s second contract year”. In Malcolm Butler’s case this means that his deal can not be redone after Week 17 of the 2015 regular season even if he and the Patriots wanted to redo his deal. Given this restructure prohibition why would Butler miss OTAs to signify displeasure with his contract? As for ending his current deal and signing Butler to another deal that would be subject to the two-year rule Butler would first have to clear waivers. It is highly doubtful that all 31 other teams would pass on a chance to have Butler on their roster for the next two years at his minimum salaries. Per another section of the CBA – “No Team and player may agree to renegotiate any term of a previously signed Player Contract for a prior League Year. No contract renegotiations may be done for a current season after the last regular season game of that season”. Taking these sections together into consideration means that if the Patriots and Butler do redo his deal after Week 17 of the 2015 regular season the restructure will only affect his 2016 cap number and not both his 2015 and 2016 cap numbers.

Hopefully, this blog has cleared up the misconception that Malcolm Butler’s absence has anything to do with redoing his 2014 contract.

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!!!

Salary Cap Impact of Geneo Grissom’s signing with the New England Patriots

On May 9th the defending Super Bowl Champions New England Patriots announced that their 3rd round pick Geneo Grissom has signed with them. The Patriots will lose $145,487 in cap space after this signing. None of his salaries will be guaranteed. The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin tweeted on May 8th that Geneo will receive a $10,000 offseason workout bonus for the years 2016,2017 and 2018.

As an 3rd round pick Grissom is eligible to earn the Proven Performance Escalator that could raise his 2018 salary to the low RFA tender for that year. An eligible player will qualify for the Proven Performance Escalator 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. The low RFA tender in 2015 was $1,542,000. It can increase each year by no less than 5% and no more than 10%. Therefore, in 2018 the low RFA tender could be as little as $1,785,000 or as much as $2,053,000.

Every third round pick made during the Bill Belichick era has made that year’s 53-man roster if they were not placed on IR (Tyrone McKenzie and Brock Williams) or the Non-Football Injury List (Brandon Tate) making it a virtual certainty that Grissom will be on the Patriots roster when they raised the Super Bowl banner on September 10th.

If Grissom is placed on Injured Reserve during the 2015 season, his salary will decrease from $435,000 to $318,000.

Here’s a graphical look at what I expect Dickson’s numbers to look at

Geneo Grissom’s deal
Year Salary Prorated Bonus OffSeason Workout Bonus Cap Number Dead Money Cash Total Cash
2015 $435,000 $145,487 $580,487 $581,948 $1,016,948 $1,016,948
2016 $525,000 $145,487 $10,000 $680,487 $436,461 $535,000 $1,547,948
2017 $615,000 $145,487 $10,000 $770,487 $290,974 $625,000 $2,172,948
2018 $705,000 $145,487 $10,000 $718,196 $145,487 $715,000 $2,887,948

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!!!

Xzavier Dickson has signed with the New England Patriots

According to his agent’s (Enter-Sports Management) Twitter feed Xzavier Dickson signed with the New England Patriots on May 7, 2015. Patriots will lose 13,196 in cap space after this signing. None of his salaries will be guaranteed. As an 7th round pick Dickson is eligible to earn the Proven Performance Escalator that could raise his 2018 salary to the low RFA tender for that year. An eligible player will qualify for the Proven Performance Escalator 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. The low RFA tender in 2015 was $1,542,000. It can increase each year by no less than 5% and no more than 10%. Therefore, in 2018 the low RFA tender could be as little as $1,785,000 or as much as $2,053,000.

If Dickson is placed on Injured Reserve during the 2015 season, his salary will decrease from $435,000 to $318,000.

Here’s a graphical look at what I expect Dickson’s numbers to look at

Xzavier Dickson’s deal
Year Salary Prorated Bonus Cap Number Dead Money Cash Total Cash
2015 $435,000 $13,196 $448,196 $13,196 $487,784 $487,784
2016 $525,000 $13,196 $448,196 $39,588 $525,000 $1,012,784
2017 $615,000 $13,196 $628,196 $26,392 $615,000 $1,627,784
2018 $705,000 $13,196 $718,196 $13,196 $705,000 $2,332,784

Starting right before the draft I started to hear questions about the salary cap ramifications of La’el Collins going undrafted. La’el Collins was widely projected to be selected in the first round before the news of the death of his former girlfriend. This blog will attempt to answer those questions and hopefully provide same clarity to a confusing situation.
6:30AM Update – Added the Total Rookie Compensation Pool. Answered four more questions. The Italicized text was added since the first version.

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
UDFA – Undrafted Free Agent: A player not selected in the draft that he was eligible for.

The next four paragraphs will provide background information.

Per Article 7, Section 3 (a) of the CBA as an undrafted free agent the length of Collins’ contract has to be three years. Quoting the CBA with the emphasis added – “every Rookie Contract shall have a fixed and unalterable contract length:…(iii) three years for Undrafted Rookies. Per Article 7, Section 3 (k) of the CBA as an undrafted free agent Collins is not eligible to redo his UDFA deal until after the 2016 season – “(ii) A Rookie Contract for an Undrafted Rookie may not be renegotiated, amended or altered in any way until after the final regular season game of the player’s second contract year.”

For the 2015 League Year the Undrafted Rookie Reservation for each club is $86,957. The Undrafted Rookie Reservation is the amount paid to Undrafted Rookies as signing bonus or amounts treated as signing bonus given to undrafted rookies. A team has full discretion over how to allocate the $86,957. They can give it to just one player or spread it among several players. Most teams give several of their UDFAs signing bonuses. I have seen various amounts given out by the Patriots as small as $1,000 to Quentin Hines in 2013 to as much as Jeremiah Warren’s $18,000 in 2012. Several UDFAs (Malcolm Butler, for one) did not receive any signing bonuses from their teams, especially if the player makes the team after a tryout.

On a league-wide basis the rookie pool is the total amount of money that can be spent on all rookies, except that the minimum base salaries for undrafted rookies do not count toward the rookie pool. Each team’s rookie pool is its portion of the league-wide total and is determined by the number, round and position of the draft choices it uses, plus one-third of the Undrafted Rookie Reservation. The total slotted 2015 cap number for the Patriots 11 draft picks is $6,639,208. I provide more information about how the rookie pool works in this blog post. The Patriots rookie pool is therefore $6,668,194 ($6,639,208 plus one-third of the $86,957 – $28,986. As Adamjt13 in his 2012 blog about the rookie pool notes “the entire first-year cap numbers for all of a team’s draft choices must fit into its rookie pool, along with any first-year cap charges for undrafted rookies other than their minimum base salaries. When a team signs a drafted player, his first-year cap number does not have to be equal, or even close to, the rookie pool value of the pick used to select him, as long as the team’s combined rookie pool charges for all of its rookies don’t exceed its limit. Therefore, the Patriots could have one or more draft picks under their slotted amounts and allocate the difference to Collins. Because of this I can not now answer the question what could be 2015 Collins’ maximum cap number. I feel safe to say that Collins can not come close to earning as much in 2015/2016/2017 as he would have as a first-round pick. At best he can earn more than some seventh-round picks over the next 3 years.

Total Rookie Compensation Pool means the League-wide limit on the total amount of Rookie Salary for which all Clubs may contract with Drafted and Undrafted Rookies over the entire term of such Rookie Contracts. Total Rookie Allocation means for the Patriots its proportional share of the Total Rookie Compensation Pool, calculated based upon the number, round and position of the Club’s selection choices in the Draft, plus the Undrafted Rookie Reservation.The sum of the Total Rookie Allocations for all Clubs shall equal the Total Rookie Compensation Pool. Therefore, the Patriots are limited by its total rookie allocation how much it can paid its 2015 draft class and its 2015 UDFAs over the length of their rookie contracts.

As you can see from above, there is no indication that there is a limit on how much a salary can be guaranteed. The Patriots along with a good number of the teams fully guaranteed some UDFA’s salaries. In 2012 the Cowboys guaranteed $205,000 of Ron Leary’s salary. The Patriots once fully guaranteed $405,000 of Armond Armstead’s 2013 salary and $225,000 of his 2014 salary when they signed him after he played in Canada.  Under new CBA the largest guarantee ever given to an UDFA by the Patriots was the $211,000 (11,000 signing bonus+200,000 guaranteed salary) given to Jeff Demps in 2012. Could Collins sign a contract that fully guarantee the 2015/2016/2017 salaries? Yes. Please note that all 2015 first round picks will sign contracts that will fully guarantee those 3 seasons. It seems plausible to me that Collins will want to have as much of his salaries guaranteed as he would have had them fully guaranteed as a first round pick.

Collins’ salaries will be $435,000 in 2015, $525,000 in 2016, and $615,000 so at the very minimum he will earn $1,575,000 over the next 3 years as an UDFA. The next couple of paragraphs will examine how he can increase his earnings.

PostSeason Pay:
In 2015 a player could earn as much as $198,000 in postseason pay. He would have to play in the wild card game as a division winner and go on and win the Super Bowl. The maximum a player who had a postseason bye can earn during the playoffs is $173,000. In 2016 a player could earn as much as $210,000 in postseason pay. He would have to play in the wild card game as a division winner and go on and win the Super Bowl. The maximum a player who had a postseason bye can earn during the playoffs is $183,000. In 2017 a player could earn as much as $219,000 in postseason pay. He would have to play in the wild card game as a division winner and go on and win the Super Bowl. The maximum a player who had a postseason bye can earn during the playoffs is $191,000.

Players on Division Winners will be paid $25,000, $27,000, and $28,000 in 2015, 2016, 2017 respectively for their appearance in the Wild Card Game.
Players on Wild Card Teams will be paid $23,000, $24,000, and $26,000 in 2015, 2016, 2017 respectively for their appearance in the Wild Card Game.
Players will be paid $25,000, $27,000 and $28,000 respectively for their appearance in the Divisional Playoff Game.
Players will be paid $44,000, $46,000 and $49,000 respectively for their appearance in the Conference Championship Game
Super Bowl Winners will be paid $102,000, $107,000 and $112,000 respectively.
Super Bowl Losers will be paid $51,000, $53,000 and $56,000 respectively.

Over the next 3 years Collins could earn as much as $627,000 in postseason pay or 40% of the $1,575,000 he will get in salaries.

Performance Based Pay:

Performance-Based Pay is computed by using a “player index.” To produce the index, a player’s regular-season playtime (total plays on offense, defense and special teams) is divided by his adjusted regular-season compensation (full season salary, prorated portion of signing bonus, earned incentives). Each player’s index is then compared to those of the other players on his team to determine the amount of his pay. Players who played a great number of snaps while receiving a smaller amount of cash compensation as compared to their teammates are the biggest recipients of performance-base pay payouts. See https://nfllabor.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/03-13-15-performance-based-pay-2.pdf http://nesn.com/2014/03/patriots-chris-jones-alfonzo-dennard-awarded-big-performance-based-paychecks/ http://blog.masslive.com/patriots/2015/03/bryan_stork_earns_additional_2.html for a listing of recent payouts. If Collins were to join a team that he could play in a great number of snaps each year he could earn over $200,000 each year. 11 players earned over $250,000 in performance-based pay in 2013. 19 did so in 2014.

It is a truism in the NFL that a player’s second contract is the one that he should maximize his contract. Collins after signing an UDFA contract will be allowed to redo his deal after the 2016 season. He is scheduled to become a RFA in 2018. The lowest percentage that the RFA tenders can increase each year is 5%, the maximum is 10%. While Collins can not control the percentage increase he should look to sign with a team that gives him the best chance to become a first-round tender in 2018. In 2018 most 2015 drafted rookies will be playing for a $715,000 salary.

5% increase 2015 2016 2017 2018
Original Round Compensation 1,542,000 1,619,000 1,700,000 1,785,000
Second Round Compensation 2,356,000 2,474,000 2,598,000 2,728,000
First Round Compensation 3,352,000 3,520,000 3,696,000 3,881,000
10% increase 2015 2016 2017 2018
Original Round Compensation 1,542,000 1,696,000 1,866,000 2,053,000
Second Round Compensation 2,356,000 2,592,000 2,851,000 3,136,000
First Round Compensation 3,352,000 3,687,000 4,056,000 4,462,000

As you can see from the above tables, Collins if t

Trying to anticipate questions that the blog post may cause:
1.) Question: As an UDFA is Collins eligible for the Proven Performance escalator? Answer: No. Per the CBA – Undrafted Rookies are not eligible to earn the Proven Performance Escalator
2.) Question: As an UDFA can Collins have any incentives in his contract?Answer: The only incentive that UDFAs are allowed to have in their contracts is a playing-time incentive. The playing-time incentive must be for at least 15% for the rookie year and at least 30% the other years of the contract. Any incentive will be considered LTBE for 2015 and will count against the Patriots’ rookie pool of $6,668,194.
3.) Question: Can Collins’ deal include a promise to redo the deal after two years? Answer: No. The CBA lists in Article 7, Section 3 paragraph 3 13 terms that are allowed to be in a contract. A promise to redo a deal is not one of the thirteen and therefore will be deemed null and void ab initio.
4.) Question: Can Collins’ deal include a clause prohibiting a team from placing a RFA tender after the 2017 season? Answer: No. The CBA lists in Article 7, Section 3 paragraph 3 13 terms that are allowed to be in a contract. A promise to redo a deal is not one of the thirteen and therefore will be deemed null and void ab initio. Interestingly, one of the 13 allowable terms is a clause prohibiting a team from placing the franchise tag on a player.
5.) Question: Why should La’el Collins sign with the Patriots? Answer: Great chance to earn postseason pay the next three years. Good chance to earn a good deal of performance-based pay. Incumbent left tackle Nate Solder not signed past the 2015 season. He would be the best left guard prospect on the Patriots 2015 roster. Patriots have shown that they will pay left guards (see Logan Mankins). Patriots have shown that they will guarantee salary (Armond Armstead). Since Patriots have signed so few UDFAs they may be able to offer him one of the highest signing bonuses.
6.) Question: Why should not La’el Collins sign with the Patriots? Answer: Massachusetts state income tax. Some states (Florida, Washington, Tennessee, Texas) with football teams do not have a state income tax. Vollmer and Cannon have playing-time incentives. Patriots just drafted two guards (Shaq Mason and Tre’ Jackson). On other teams he may have an easier path to excel at the left tackle position. Top-tier left tackles are paid significantly more than right tackles or left guards.
7.) Question: Can Collins’ UDFA contract contain option bonus or a voidable year clause? Answer: Per the CBA, no.
8.) Question: Can Collins’ UDFA contract fully guarantee 2017 season but not the 2016 season? Answer: Per the CBA, no.
9.) Question: Could Collins’ salary increase based on him fulfilling a contingency? Answer: Per the CBA, no.
10.)Question: If the Patriots withdrew their tender to Xavier Dickson could they then use his rookie pool allocation on Collins? Answer: Per the CBA, no. Under this scenario, the Patriots rookie pool would decrease by Dickson’s allocation amount.
11.)Question: Is there a limit on salaries for UDFAs? Current and future years? Answer: Yes. Paying Collins more than the minimum salary will count against the 2015 Rookie Pool and the against the Total Rookie Allocation. Example, if a team paid Collins a $500,000 salary when the rookie salary in 2015 is $435,000. The extra $65,000 would count against the Patriots rookie pool of $6,668,194 and its Total Rookie Allocation.
12.)Question: Is there a limit on incentives for UDFAs? Answer: A practical limit, yes. Paying Collins an incentive will count against the 2015 Rookie Pool and the against the Total Rookie Allocation. Example, if Collins has a $500,000 playing time incentive based on playing in 15% of the offensive snaps in 2015 and 30% in 2016/2017. The $500,000 would count against the 2015 Patriots rookie pool of $6,668,194 and the $1,500,000 will count against its Total Rookie Allocation.
13.)Question: Can the Patriots give Collins 46-man active roster bonuses? Answer: Per the CBA, no.
14.)Question: If Joe Cardona can not play for the Patriots and had not yet signed with the Patriots can the Patriots use his rookie pool allocation on Collins? Answer: Per the CBA, no. Under this scenario, the Patriots rookie pool would decrease by Cardona’s allocation amount.
15.)Question: Can La-el Collins sign an UDFA deal with the Patriots in 2015, be waived by the Patriots in 2016 and had then sign a deal not subject to the Rookie Pool limitations? Answer: Under this scenario, Collins will have to clear waivers first. It is very unlikely that he would so.

At his old cap number of $10,287,500 Jerod Mayo had the 2nd highest number of all inside linebackers and the 5th highest cap number of all linebackers. After ending the past two seasons on Injured Reserve Jerod Mayo was not worth such a high cap number. Therefore, no one should have been surprised by today’s report that Jerod Mayo agreed to a restructure.

April 22, 9PM Update: Mike Reiss reported that “a source said Mayo will be guaranteed $4.5 million in 2015, with a chance to earn up to $6 million if he plays in 85 percent of the defensive snaps”

As of April 21, 2015, Jerod Mayo’s 2015 cap number was $10,287,500 which consisted of

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

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

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

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

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

The Salary Cap Impact of releasing an injured Jerod Mayo before June 2:

Mayo’s 2015 cap number would have increased from $10,287,500 to $10.5 million – the rest of his signing bonus proration ($6 million) and the $4.5 million salary that was guaranteed for injury. Since a player with a $585,000 salary would take his place in the Top 51 list, the Patriots would then lose $797,500 ($212,500 plus $585,000) in cap space.
Mayo’s 2016 cap number would go from $10,087,500 to zero.
Mayo’s 2017 cap number would go from $9,187,500 to zero.

Current Deal Injured and Cut Before 6/2
Salary $6,250,000 $4,500,000
46-man active Roster Bonus $187,500
2012 Option Bonus Proration $2,400,000 $4,800,000
2011 Signing Bonus Proration $1,200,000 $1,200,000
OffSeason Workout Bonus $250,000
Totals $10,287,500 $10,500,000
2015 Gross Cap Space Loss ($212,500)
2015 Net Cap Space Loss ($797,500)

According to the first report by Mike Garafolo the $4.5 million salary injury guarantee is now fully guaranteed. Do not know if that means that the Patriots guaranteed all of the $4.5 million salary or if they converted part of the $4.5 million into a signing bonus. Garafolo reported that the “final two years on the deal (2016 and 2017) now include $4 million roster bonuses at the start of the league”. I take that to mean that the Patriots now have an option on Mayo as they did with Wilfork, Browner, and Revis earlier this year. If my presumption is correct, if the Patriots do not pick up the option it would mean that Mayo would become an UFA in 2016 and become eligible for compensatory pick calculations in 2017. We learned on April 29th that the option amount for the 2017 season is 2 million.

Below shows the difference between Jerod Mayo’s old deal and his new deal.

Jerod Mayo’s Old Deal
2015 2016 2017
Salary 6,250,000 7,250,000 8,750,000
46-man active Roster Bonus 187,500 500,000 500,000
2012 Option Bonus Proration 2,400,000 2,400,000
2011 Signing Bonus Proration 1,200,000
Offseason Workout Bonus 250,000 250,000 250,000
Pro Bowl Incentive
Start of League Year Roster Bonus
2015 3M Signing Bonus Proration
Totals 10,287,500 10,400,000 9,500,000
300,000 Pro Bowl incentive is NLTBE
Jerod Mayo’s New Deal
2015 2016 2017
Salary 1,500,000 3,250,000 6,750,000
46-man active Roster Bonus 500,000 500,000
2012 Option Bonus Proration 2,400,000 2,400,000
2011 Signing Bonus Proration 1,200,000
Offseason Workout Bonus 250,000 250,000
Pro Bowl Incentive
Start of League Year Roster Bonus 4,000,000 2,000,000
2015 3M Signing Bonus Proration 1,000,000 1,000,000 1,000,000
Totals 6,100,000 11,400,000 10,500,000

As you can see from above, if the Patriot do not pick Mayo’s 2016 option, they will have $4.4 million in dead money hitting the 2016 cap. As you can see from above, if the Patriot do not pick Mayo’s 2017 option, they will have $1 million in dead money hitting the 2017 cap.

What were the minimum 2015 cap savings from the Jerod Mayo restructure?

Based on the reported details Mayo’s 2015 cap number will decrease from $10,287,500 to no more than $9,287,500. This presumes that Mayo’s salary was lowered from $6.25 million to $5.25 million with $4.5 million of it being fully guaranteed. Mayo’s $250,000 offseason workout bonus and potential earnings of $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses would then be left alone. The $5,250,000 salary plus the $250,000 offseason workout bonus plus the potential earnings of $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses equals the $6 million maximum compensation for 2015 are reported by Mike Garofolo.

Current Deal Minimum Cap Savings
Salary $6,250,000 $5,250,000
46-man active Roster Bonus $187,500 $187,500
2012 Option Bonus Proration $2,400,000 $2,400,000
2011 Signing Bonus Proration $1,200,000 $1,200,000
OffSeason Workout Bonus $250,000 $250,000
Totals $10,287,500 $9,287,500
2015 Gross Cap Savings $1,000,000

What were the maximum 2015 cap savings for the Jerod Mayo restructure?

Based on the reported details Mayo’s 2015 cap number will decrease from $10,287,500 to no less than $5,680,00. This presumes that Mayo’s salary was lowered from $6.25 million to $870,000 – the lowest possible salary for a player with Mayo’s years of services. Mayo’s $250,000 offseason workout bonus and potential earnings of $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses would be eliminated. Mayo would receive a $3,630,000 signing bonus which would be prorated $1,210,000 over the 2015/2016/2017 seasons. The $3,630,000 signing bonus plus the $870,000 salary equals the $4.5 million in guarantee. To reach the maximum compensation of $6 million Mayo would have the opportunity to earn $1.5 million in NLTBE (Not Likely to be Earned) Incentives.

Current Deal Maximum Cap Savings
Salary $6,250,000 $870,000
46-man active Roster Bonus $187,500
2015 Signing Bonus Proration $1,210,000
2012 Option Bonus Proration $2,400,000 $2,400,000
2011 Signing Bonus Proration $1,200,000 $1,200,000
OffSeason Workout Bonus $250,000
Totals $10,287,500 $5,680,000
2015 Gross Cap Savings $4,607,500

This is my attempt to explain what has happened and could happen with Aaron Hernandez’s salary cap numbers. I used reports from Ian Rapoport, Field Yates, and Joel Corry as well as my own research for my source material. Any errors in this blog are solely mine.

Quick summary – Patriots received a $1,184,000 credit on their 2015 salary cap for grievances over guaranteed salary and offseason workout bonus money. Patriots should eventually receive a $3.25 million credit from Aaron Hernandez’s signing bonus. The credit should not come from the Odin Lloyd conviction but from the expected double murder convictions (Danny Abreu and Safiro Furtado).

In late August of 2012 Aaron Hernandez signed an extension with the Patriots. His signing bonus was $12.5 million. It was scheduled to be paid out over three installments. Hernandez received $6 million in August of 2012 and $3.25 million in March of 2013. Aaron is scheduled to receive the third and final payment- $3.25 million on March 31, 2014. Hernandez’s workout bonus clauses required successful completion of at least 90% of the workouts in New England’s voluntary offseason workout program. His 2013 salary – $1.323 million – was originally guaranteed for injury only and became fully guaranteed in March of 2013 since Aaron Hernandez was on the Patriots at that time. $1.137 million of his 2014 salary which was originally guaranteed for injury only also became fully guaranteed in March of 2013. Aaron’s 2014 $500,000 offseason workout bonus also became fully guaranteed in March of 2013 since he was on the Patriots roster at that time. Most NFL contracts include a “failure to perform” or “failure to practice” clause that will make any guarantees such as a signing bonus or guaranteed salaries within the contract null and void. On June 24th Ian Rapoport reported that according to Paragraph 32(d) of Hernandez’ extension, the 2014 workout bonus became “null and void” if the player fails to report and that the sections of the contract dealing with the guaranteeing of the 2013 and 2014 salaries did not not contain a “failure to perform” or “failure to report” clauses. According to Joel Corry, a former sports agent Paragraph 35 of Hernandez’s contract contains a clause where he represents and warrants that there weren’t any existing circumstances when he signed his deal that would prevent his continuing availability throughout the contract. Joel reported on CBSSportsline.Com that “There’s another clause explicitly stating that the Patriots wouldn’t have entered into the contract except for Hernandez’s representations.

aaronhis a screenshot of Aaron Hernandez’s deal with the Patriots. You will have to double-click it to see it completely

When Aaron Hernandez was waived by the Patriots on June 26, the other hand, his 2013 cap hit went from $4,073,000 to $2,550,000 (the 2013 proration of his 2010 and 2012 signing bonuses). His 2014 cap hit increased from $4,200,000 to $7,500,000 (the unamortized portion of his 2012 $12.5 million signing bonus). There were questions over whether or not the guaranteed salaries would hit the Patriots salary cap in 2013. It turns out that they did not.

Sometime after his release Aaron Hernandez filed grievances for his 2013 and 2014 offseason workout bonuses and salaries which is why the Patriots lost over $1.1 million in cap space in late October of 2013. Per the CBA 40% of any grievance amount goes against the team’s cap until the grievance is settled or until the end of the League Year, in this case, 2013. The grievance amounts in question were the 2013 offseason workout bonus money of $82,000, 2013 salary of $1,323,000, 2014 offseason workout bonus money of $500,000, and 2013 salary of $1,137,000. Those four amounts totaled $3,042,000. 40% of $3,042,000 is $1,216,800. Jonathan Kraft is quoted as saying “You have to hit 90 percent in our contract, and Aaron didn’t hit 90 percent, in our view,”. Jonathan Kraft contended that Aaron attended 25 of 33 workouts. As Joel Corry opined – “Hernandez was recovering from shoulder surgery during the offseason which limited his participation in organized team activities and mini-camp. It may have also limited him during the workout program. Since Hernandez’s workout clause doesn’t account for supervised rehabilitation, the Patriots may contend that he didn’t fulfill his workout obligations because his shoulder surgery prevented him from successfully completing workouts. It remains to be seen whether the arbitrator would find this type of argument persuasive.”

For most of December 2013 and January 2014 the NFLPA site http://www.nflplayers.com/cap showed the Patriots were under their 2013 adjusted cap number by $4,024,801. Because of that I had expected that to be the amount that the Patriots would be rolling over into 2014. So when the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin tweeted that the Patriots are rolling over exactly $4,106,801 in cap space for 2014, I tried to figure out why would that number changed. The first thing I noticed is the difference between the two numbers is exactly Aaron Hernandez’ 2013 offseason bonus money – $82,000. I thought then that the Patriots had won the grievance over the 2013 offseason workout bonus money of $82,000. It turned out that conclusion was premature. The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin tweeted that $32,800 was counting against the Patriots 2014 cap because of an Aaron Hernandez’ grievance. 40% of $82,000 is $32,800. So it appeared that the Patriots and Hernandez were still arguing over Hernandez’s 2013 offseason workout bonus money in 2014.

While conducting research for this blog post, I looked at a couple of cases to see how long it took a team to get a cap credit for recouped money. The Patriots released Jonathan Fanene on August 21, 2012 with a “failure to disclose physical condition” designation. The Patriots filed a grievance seeking some, if not all, of the $3.85 million signing bonus Fanene received when he signed with the team March 20. The grievance hearing was held in July of 2013. On September 21, 2013 ESPNBoston.Com’s Mike Reiss reported that “The Patriots and defensive lineman Jonathan Fanene (represented by the NFL Players Association) settled their grievance within the past week, according to sources, and part of the settlement is that the Patriots won’t have to pay Fanene the final $1.35 million of his $3.85 million signing bonus… We can now officially close the book on the Patriots’ failed Fanene signing, with Fanene able to keep $2.5 million of the original signing bonus and the Patriots receiving a credit on their 2013 salary cap.” On March 13, 2014 update OvertheCap’s owner, Jason Fitzgerald, tweeted referring to the Patriots 2014 adjusted cap number that “the official number (also includes the 504k adjust and 360k of fanene is a direct credit and not in adjustment”. To sum up it took the Patriots two years to get a credit for a grievance filed in 2012. It took the Falcons five years to get a $3 million credit for Michael Vick. In August 2007 they won a grievance against Vick for around $20 million.

Let’s now take a look at four amounts involved.

The 2013 offseason workout bonus money of $82,000. I think that the Patriots won this grievance. The case for the Patriots (their contract has a strict threshold and Aaron did not meet it) is stronger than Aaron Hernandez’s (he did not meet the threshold because he was recovering from a football injury). Think that the Patriots received an unreported credit of $32,800 sometime during the 2013 season.

The 2014 offseason workout bonus money of $500,000. This was a slam dunk victory for the Patriots as there was no way Aaron could have attended the 2014 workouts. Patriots won this grievance and they received a $200,000 credit on their 2015 salary cap as part of the 2014 year-end adjustment. For more information on the credit please see this blog post from January.

The 2013 and 2014 guaranteed salaries – Even though Hernandez’s contract was missing “failure to perform” or “failure to report” clauses when it came to these salaries, Patriots won the grievance over these guaranteed salaries. The $984,000 that was charged to the 2013 cap was credited back to the Patriots in January 2015 as part of the 2014 year-end adjustment. For more information on the credit please see this blog post from January.

The $7.5 million signing bonus proration that hit the Patriots 2014 cap – I have seen some posts/tweets opining that the NFL should just simply give the Patriots a $7.5 million cap credit. I doubt that will happen. Why? Sean Taylor. Sean Taylor was a 1st round pick of the Washington Redskins who was murdered. A year after his murder he counted against the Redskins cap. If the Redskins did not get cap relief for a murdered player, cannot see the NFL giving cap relief for an alleged murderer. Given that the CBA provided the Patriots an avenue for recouping the signing bonus money (wait until start of the 2013 training camp when Aaron could not attend and he would have invoked this clause in the CBA – “Forfeitable Breach. Any player who (i) willfully fails to report, practice or play with the result that the player’s ability to fully participate and contribute to the team is substantially undermined (for example, without limitation, holding out or leaving the squad absent a showing of extreme personal hardship); or (ii) is unavailable to the team due to conduct by him that results in his incarceration; or (iii) is unavailable to the team due to a nonfootball injury that resulted from a material breach of Paragraph 3 of his NFL Player Contract; or (iv) voluntarily retires (collectively, any “Forfeitable Breach”) may be required to forfeit signing bonus, roster bonus, option bonus and/or reporting bonus, and no other Salary, for each League Year in which a Forfeitable Breach occurs (collectively, “Forfeitable Salary Allocations”), as set forth below”. As expected in my first Aaron Hernardez blog  the Patriots chose not to pay Aaron the final installment of his $12.5 million bonus that was is due him on Monday, March 31st. Aaron Hernandez’s legal team already filed a grievance anticipating this Patriots move. As we have seen with Jonathan Fanene and Michael Vick, it can take years for a team to obtain a cap credit for money recouped. Please note that the cap credit is for the actual cash recouped so if Aaron has spent most of his signing bonus money it is likely that the only credits that the Patriots may ever get is the $3.25 million signing bonus that they have withheld.

If Aaron Hernandez is convicted for crimes that occurred before July, 2012 (example – the July 16, 2012 murders of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado)  the Patriots would then be able to go after the $12.5 million signing bonus because Aaron would have then violated the clause where he represented and warranted that there weren’t any existing circumstances when he signed his deal that would prevent his continuing availability throughout the contract and the clause that explicitly states that the Patriots wouldn’t have entered into the contract except for Hernandez’s representations. Once again, I have to note that any cap credit is for the actual cash recouped so if Aaron has spent most of his signing bonus money on lawyer fees or to settle civil cases against him it is likely that the only credits that the Patriots may ever get is the $3.25 million signing bonus that they withheld in March, 2014

Trying to anticipate questions that the blog post may cause:
Question: How much have the Patriots paid Aaron Hernandez? Answer: Aaron Hernandez has been paid in cash $11,260,000 from the Patriots.

  • $620,000 in 2010
  • $670,000 in 2011
  • $6,740,000 in 2012
  • $3,000,000 in 2013 (Hernandez received a $3 million installment of his signing bonus in March 2013).

Question: Will the Odin Lloyd conviction lead to salary cap relief for the New England Patriots? Answer: I think not. The murder occurred after he signed his extension. Therefore, the clause where Aaron Hernandez represented and warranted that there weren’t any existing circumstances when he signed his deal that would prevent his continuing availability throughout the contract and the clause that explicitly states that the Patriots wouldn’t have entered into the contract except for Hernandez’s representations are not applicable.

Question: How much cap space has Aaron Hernandez taken? Answer: Aaron Hernandez has taken up $13,292,000 in cap space.

  • $436,000 in 2010
  • $700,000 in 2011
  • $3,290,000 in 2012
  • $2,550,000 in 2013
  • $7,500,000 in 2014
  • $1,184,000 credit in 2015

Footnotes – Joel Corry’s reporting on Aaron Hernandez’s salary cap implications at the National Football Post

On March 16, 2015 Aaron Wilson tweeted that
“Alan Branch has up to $750,000 playtime incentives each year, up to $400,000 weight bonus each year”
“Alan Branch $25K per game roster bonus 2015, $400,000 roster bonus first day of 2016 league year, $25K per game 2016 roster bonus”
“Alan Branch two-year Patriots deal, $4.3M, $700K bonus, salaries $1.2M, $1.2M, 2016 option year to be exercised by end of 2015 league yr”

Let’s take a look at the salary cap consequences of each tweet.

  • Since Alan Branch played in only 14% of the Patriots defensive snaps in 2014, it is very likely that his trigger level is above 14%. I define a trigger level as the condition needed to earn the incentive. In Alan Branch’s case I mean the percentage of defensive snaps needed to earn his playing-time incentive. Could be 20%, 30%, 40%, or  75%. Do not know. We will have to wait for his final contract details to come in.
  • Alan Branch’s $400,000 weight bonus is considered LTBE (Likely to Be Earned) and therefore counts against the 2015 cap. Quoting the CBA – “Any incentive within the sole control of the player (e.g., non-guaranteed reporting bonuses, offseason workout and weight bonuses) shall be deemed “likely to be earned”.
  • Since Alan played in 8 games in 2014, his $25,000 46-man active roster bonus will be considered LTBE for 8 games and NLTBE for 8 games. $25,000 times 8 = $200,000. In 2016 his 46-man active roster bonus will be reevaluated based on how many games he plays in 2015. If Alan Branch plays in all 16 games, the value of his 46-man roster bonus will go from $200,000 in $2015 to $400,000 in 2016. Please note that as Alan Branch plays in more games in 2015 than he did in 2014, the Patriots will lose $25,000 in cap space the following Tuesday. From CBA – “(xix) Any incentive bonus that is stated in terms of a per play or per game occurrence automatically will be deemed “likely to be earned” to the extent the specified performance was achieved by the player (if an individual incentive) or by the team (if a team incentive) in the previous year….(xxi) Any portion of an incentive bonus that is earned, but which had not been deemed likely to be earned, will be deemed earned at the end of the season and not immediately upon attainment of the required performance level, except: (1) as provided in Subsection (xix) above in regards to per play or per game occurrences;”
  • The 2016 $400,000 roster bonus will be considered LTBE because the trigger date is in the preseason. Once again, quoting CBA – “Preseason roster bonuses are automatically deemed “likely to be earned.”
  • The $700,000 signing bonus will be prorated over two years, $350,000 per year. Note that signing bonuses can only be prorated for a maximum of 5 years, even if the contract is for a longer term.
  • If the Patriots do pick up Alan Branch’s 2016 option, he is due a $400,000 roster bonus the 1st day of the 2016 League Year. If the Patriots do not pick up Alan Branch’s 2016 option, he will become eligible to be included in the 2017 compensatory pick calculations.
  • A player’s salary cap number is the total of
    1. his salary
    2. signing bonus proration, if any
    3. any LTBE incentives
Alan Branch’s deal
Year Salary Prorated Bonus Roster Weight Cap No Dead Money Cap Savings Cash Total Cash
2015 $1.2m 350K 200K 400K 2.15m 700K 815K $2.5m $2.5m
2016 $1.2m 350K 600K 400K 2.55m 350K 1.675m $2.2m $4.7m

The 2015 cap savings presumes a release after June 1st while the 2016 cap savings presumes that the Patriots do not pick up his 2016 option.
How do we get to the reported maximum of $6.6 million.
Add $4.7 million from above table to
$1.5 million in playing-times incentives to
$400,000 in NLTBE 46-man active roster bonuses.

The below table shows the impact on Alan Branch’s 2016 cap number if he plays in all 16 games in 2015 and also earns all of his $750,000 playing-time incentive.

Alan Branch’s deal
Year Salary Prorated Bonus Roster Weight Playing-Time Incentive Cap No Dead Money Cap Savings Cash Total Cash
2015 $1.2m 350K 200K 400K 2.15m 700K 815K $2.5m $2.5m
2016 $1.2m 350K 800K 400K 750K 3.5m 350K 2.625m $3.15m $5.65m

Please follow me on twitter – @patscap.

Like most of Patriots nation I was surprised when I heard that Darrelle Revis signed with the New York Jets within the first few hours of free agency on March 10th. None of us are privy to the negotiations that occurred between Darrelle Revis and the Patriots. The purpose of this blog post is to provide some background and to hopefully provide an educated guess at what happened.

Background information:

Darrelle Revis will be 30 years old when the 2015 season starts. Revis has been selected to six Pro Bowl (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2014) and has earned four first-team All Pro honors (2009, 2010, 2011 and 2014). Revis was named AFC Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 after finishing the year with 72 total tackles and six interceptions.

When Darrelle Revis signed with the Patriots on March 12, it was widely reported to be an one-year $12 million deal. On March 13 ESPNBoston.Com’s Mike Reiss reported that “An important wrinkle has been learned about the contract Darrelle Revis has agreed to with the Patriots. It has widely been reported as a one-year, $12 million deal, which is accurate. Revis will earn $12 million this season. But for salary-cap accounting purposes, and to protect Revis from being assigned the franchise tag in 2015, the sides have added a second year to the pact in 2015 that would pay Revis $20 million and count $25 million against the salary cap. The $20 million is an astronomical figure, as is the $25 million cap charge. That makes it unlikely the Patriots would pay it, thus making Revis an unrestricted free agent in 2015 or one of the highest-paid players in football. The second year helps the Patriots spread out the salary-cap charges for Revis over two seasons instead of taking one $12 million salary-cap hit in 2014. Revis’ cap charge for 2014 is now $7 million.”

Joel Corry tweeted that “the installments of Revis’ $12 million roster bonus if option picked up are $3M on 3/31, $3M on 10/31, $3M on 12/31 & $3M on 3/31/16.” Once the first payment is made the Patriots can not convert the $12 million roster bonus into a signing bonus. In effect, Patriots had two Revis-related deadlines (4PM March 9th to pick up option, 4PM March 31st to convert roster bonus into signing bonus)

No matter what (Revis signed extension with Patriots, option not picked up, Revis traded by Patriots to another, Revis played the 2015 season for Patiots with $25 million cap number), the $5 million proration of Revis’ 2014 $10 million signing bonus would have been on the Patriots 2015 cap. Teams cannot further prorate existing signing bonus proration. The 2015 signing bonus proration is a sunk cost of winning the Super Bowl. It was money well spent.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summing up the above 3 deals in terms of fully guaranteed money received upon signing deal
Joe Haden-$22,078,193
Patrick Peterson-$16.25M
Richard Sherman-$14.231M

Summing up the above 3 deals in terms of cash received during the first 3 years
Joe Haden-$41,478,193
Patrick Peterson-$37,969,114
Richard Sherman-$35M

It seemed reasonable to venture that a Revis extension in the $13 to $15 million per year average range would have been fair for both sides and would recognize that Revis, while he may be better than Sherman, Haden, and Peterson, is also older than the aforementioned trio.

In my blog post that looked at Revis’s comparables and proposed several deals for him my preferred deal averaged 14.1 million per year in new money over the four extended years. That 14.1M APY would have given Revis highest APY for a cornerback and more cash in Years 1, 2 and 3 than any other cornerback in NFL history. The 2015 salary would be fully guaranteed. His 2016 salary would have been guaranteed for injury now and became fully guaranteed the 5th day after the 2016 Super Bowl. $4.5 million of his 2017 salary would have become fully guaranteed if Revis is on the 53-man roster on the last day of the 2016 regular season.

Darrelle Revis – 14.1M APY $22M signing bonus (My Preferred Deal)
Year Salary Prorated Bonus Roster Cap No Dead Money Cap Savings Cash Total Cash
2014 $1.5m $5m $500,000 $7m $12m $12m
2015 $4m $10.5m $500,000 $15m $26m ($11m) $26.5m $38.5m
2016 $9.5m $5.5m $500,000 $15.5m $26m ($10.5m) $10m $48.5m
2017 $9.5m $5.5m $500,000 $15.5m $15.5m $0 $10m $58.5m
2018 $9.5m $5.5m $500,000 $15.5m $5.5m $10m $10m $68.5m

This next deal is what has been reported about Revis’ deal with the Jets.

Darrelle Revis’s deal with the Jets
Year Salary Prorated Bonus Roster Cap No Dead Money Cap Savings Cash Total Cash
2015 $16m $0 $0 $16m $39m ($23m) $16m $16m
2016 $17m $0 $0 $17 $23m ($6m) $17m $33m
2017 $13m $0 $2m $15m $6 $9m $15m $48m
2018 $11m $0 $0 $11m $0 $11m $11m $59m
2019 $11m $0 $0 $11m $0 $11m $11m $70m

Comparing my preferred deal to what Revis got

Component Preferred Deal Jets
Fully Guaranteed Money 26m 39m
Total Guarantees 40m 39m
Signing Bonus 22m 0m
Term 4 years 5 years
2015 cap number 15m 16m
APY 14.1m 14m
Cash 46.5m 48m

As you can see from above my preferred deal was close to what Revis got except in the structure. The Jets used a pay as you go feature where what Revis received in cash equals his cap number. The Jets were able to use the two advantages that they had over the Patriots in their construction of the deal. The Jets adjusted cap number is $156,149,394 while the Patriots is $144,578,084. Literally, the Jets could use $11,571,310 more cap space on Revis and build the rest of the 53-man roster than could the Patriots. $16 million takes up smaller percentage of $156 million than it does $144.5 million. Second advantage that the Jets had is that they have more cap space.

The question I am struggling is why would Revis prefer a pay as you go structure from the Jets over a signing bonus structure from the Patriots. With a signing bonus he gets most of the money up-front. Please note that the Patriots often pay their large signing bonus in installments. In a pay as you go structure Revis has to wait until September to first receive any money. That is, unless the Jets agreed to deviate from the usual payment plan of 17 paychecks during the regular season. Six months of interest on $20 million is pretty significant.

I am also puzzled why Revis would prefer the pay as you go structure of the Jets over a signing bonus from the Patriots. The Jets can get out of the deal and save cap space by releasing Revis before the start of the 2017 League Year. The Patriots can get out of  my preferred Revis deal and save cap space on June 2, 2017. By that time a replacement will not be available in free agency.

The Patriots could have done what they did with McCourty (fully guaranteed the 2015 and 2016 salaries and have the 2017 season eventually become fully guaranteed). This would have bumped his fully guaranteed money at time of signing to $35.5 million.

Should the Patriots have matched the Jets structure? No, it would have meant a $21 million cap number for Revis  ($16 million salary and $5 million signing bonus proration) in 2015. I currently have the Patriots under the cap by $13,611,603. Matching the Jets offer would have caused the Patriots to quickly create $2.4 million in cap space. As I show in this blog, the Patriots could have done so but it is not wise to make business decisions under pressure.

 

Trying to anticipate questions that the blog post may cause:
1.) Question: Has any team won a Super Bowl with a player taking up a percentage as large as Revis’ if he played with a $21 million cap number? Answer: No.
2.) Question: If Revis played at a $21 million cap number in 2015 how much it would have cost to tag him in 2016? Answer: 120% of $21 million, or $25,200,000.
3.) Question: Are you surprised at what happened? Answer: Extremely so. I always thought that as long as Revis was willing to be paid in the neighborhood of the top cornerbacks ($12 to $14M APY) rather than the top defenders ($16M to $19M APY) a deal would get done.
4.) Question: Does the Revis  departure 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: Will Revis count as a compensatory pick.Answer:Yes.  In Feb 2008 Pats declined option on Donte Stallworth. He signed FA deal with the Cleveland Browns on 3/1/2008. Pats got 2009 5th round compensatory pick that turned out to be George Bussey. So there is that precedent. Also, Darrelle Revis’ name is listed among the 2015 UFAs in the NFL’s free agency press release. Compensatory picks are meant to help compensate a team for its lost free agents.
6.) Question: If the Patriots had reached an extension with Darrelle, could they have prorated the existing $5 million signing bonus proration.Answer:No
7.) Question: Why do you think that the Patriots and Revis could not reach a deal? Answer: He wanted to return to New York and only by receiving a much better offer that would not happen. It seems strange to me that in a passing league very few teams entered into his bidding. 4:45PM update Am now hearing that Revis was asking for $16M from the Patriots. He signed with the Jets for $14M APY.
8.) Question: Your report of $13.6 million in cap space even after Revis departure seems low. Please explain. Answer: Saved the best question for last. Hopefully, I am up to the task:)

  1. The big leaps: Four contracts had huge salary-cap increases in 2015 — left tackle Nate Solder, right tackle Sebastian Vollmer and tight end Rob Gronkowski. 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.
  2. Smaller bounces: The other cap jumps in 2015 were more modest. Vince Wilfork, Danny Amendola, Kyle Arrington, Rob Ninkovich,  and Julian Edelman 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Players not signed past the 2015 season with large cap numbers – Nate Solder and Stephen Gostkowski.

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

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

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

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

AzCentral.Com’s Bob McManaman rates McCourty the 10th best available free agent. USA Today also rates McCourty the 10th best available free agent. ESPN has McCourty as the 5th
best available free agent. The New York Post also considers Devin the 5th best free agent. AOL rates McCourty as the 9th best available free agent. NFL.Com rates McCourty as the 6th best available agent. Pro Football Focus wrote this about McCourty – “After switching from corner early in his career McCourty has really hit his stride as a center fielder that you really shouldn’t try testing. A valuable skill in any era”

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

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

Jarius Byrd – 9M APY
Year Salary Prorated Bonus Roster Bonus Workout Bonus Cap Number Dead Money Cap Savings
2014 $1,300,000 $2,200,000 $0 $100,000 $3,500,000 $18,300,000 ($14,800,000)
2015 $2,000,000 $3,400,000 $0 $100,000 $5,500,000 $14,800,000 ($9,300,000)
2016 $7,400,000 $3,400,000 $0 $100,000 $10,900,000 $11,400,000 ($500,000)
2017 $7,900,000 $3,400,000 $300,000 $100,000 $11,700,000 $8,000,000 $3,700,000
2018 $8,400,000 $3,400,000 $300,000 $100,000 $12,200,000 $4,600,000 $7,600,000
2019 $8,600,000 $1,200,000 $300,000 $100,000 $10,200,000 $1,200,000 $9,000,000

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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