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Projecting the contracts of 2016 Patriots free agents

The New England Patriots as well as the rest of the NFL will have several free agents set to hit the market in March. Free agency will begin at 4PM, March 9th. Teams can start to release players on February 8th. Released veterans can then be immediately signed by another team while players with less than 4 accrued seasons go through the waiver season.

Some basic definitions –

Accrued Season
The number of accrued seasons determines the free agency status for the player. To gain an accrued season the player must be at full pay status for a minimum of 6 regular season games. They player does not gain an accrued season if the player is on Reserve PUP, Commissioner’s Exempt List, or a team’s practice squad. Games on IR do count in the accrued season calculation.

Exclusive Rights Free Agent – ERFA
A player with 2 or less accrued seasons at the completion of their contract.

Restricted Free Agent
A player with 3 or less accrued seasons at the completion of their contract. The team can choose one of three right of refusal tenders on the player. A first round tender, second round tender, or original draft position tender. Each tender has an assigned contract value amount. Another team can attempt to sign the player to a new contract, but the original team has the right to match it. If the original team does not match they will receive draft value equaling the original tender.

Unrestricted Free Agent
A player with 4 or more accrued seasons at the completion of their contract. Unrestricted free agents are free to sign with any team as soon as they become a free agent. Unrestricted free agents become part of the compensatory picks calculation.

My look at NFL free agency will start off with the Patriots free agents.

The below graphic lists the snaps played. The total snaps sums up the player’s snaps on special teams and the player’s snaps on his unit (offense/defense).

Patriots Free Agents Snaps

Cameron Fleming who will be an ERFA. I expect the Patriots to tender him. His 2016 salary will be $600,000. It will not be not guaranteed. If tendered, Cameron Fleming must sign the tender in order to play in the NFL in 2016. If the Patriots do not tender Cameron Fleming, he will then become a street free agent at the start of free agency and the Patriots will not receive any compensation if he signs elsewhere. Level of confidence that Cameron Fleming will get tendered – 80%. Cap space taken up – $0 because the Patriots already have 51 players with cap hits of at least $600,000. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

CB Justin Coleman who will be an ERFA. I expect the Patriots to tender him. His 2016 salary will be $525,000. It will not be not guaranteed. If tendered, Justin Coleman must sign the tender in order to play in the NFL in 2016. If the Patriots do not tender Justin Coleman, he will then become a street free agent at the start of free agency and the Patriots will not receive any compensation if he signs elsewhere. Level of confidence that Justin Coleman will get tendered – 100%. Cap space taken up – $0 because the Patriots already have 51 players with cap hits of at least $600,000. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

S Brandon King who will be an ERFA. I expect the Patriots to tender him. His 2016 salary will be $525,000. It will not be not guaranteed. If tendered, Brandon King must sign the tender in order to play in the NFL in 2016. If the Patriots do not tender Brandon King, he will then become a street free agent at the start of free agency and the Patriots will not receive any compensation if he signs elsewhere. Level of confidence that Brandon King will get tendered – 80%. Cap space taken up – $0 because the Patriots already have 51 players with cap hits of at least $600,000. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

WR Josh Boyce who will be an ERFA. I expect the Patriots to tender him. His 2016 salary will be $525,000. It will not be not guaranteed. If tendered, Josh Boyce must sign the tender in order to play in the NFL in 2016. If the Patriots do not tender Josh Boyce, he will then become a street free agent at the start of free agency and the Patriots will not receive any compensation if he signs elsewhere. Because he was placed on Injured Reserve before the start of the 2015 regular season (August 31) and Boyce’s name was not shown on the Patriots.Com roster the entire season my level of confidence that Josh Boyce will get tendered is 50%. That is, I go back and forth on whether Boyce will get tendered. I understand the argument for not tendering him – time to move on. Cap space taken up – $0 because the Patriots already have 51 players with cap hits of at least $600,000. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

OT Kevin Hughes who will be an ERFA. I expect the Patriots to tender him. His 2016 salary will be $525,000. It will not be not guaranteed. If tendered, Kevin Hughes must sign the tender in order to play in the NFL in 2016. If the Patriots do not tender Kevin Hughes, he will then become a street free agent at the start of free agency and the Patriots will not receive any compensation if he signs elsewhere. Because he was placed on Injured Reserve before the start of the 2015 regular season (August 3) and Hughes’ name was not shown on the Patriots.Com roster the entire season my level of confidence that Kevin Hughes will get tendered is 60%. It is only because he plays the offensive tackle position that my confidence level for Hughes is higher than it is for Boyce. Cap space taken up – $0 because the Patriots already have 51 players with cap hits of at least $600,000. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

LB Rufus Johnson who will be an ERFA. I expect the Patriots to tender him. His 2016 salary will be $525,000. It will not be not guaranteed. If tendered, Rufus Johnson must sign the tender in order to play in the NFL in 2016. If the Patriots do not tender Rufus Johnson, he will then become a street free agent at the start of free agency and the Patriots will not receive any compensation if he signs elsewhere. Rufus Johnson was signed to a futures contract on January 7th and was placed on Non-Football Injury on October 25. Confidence level that Rufus Johnson will get tendered is 60% only because he plays the linebacker position. Cap space taken up – $0 because the Patriots already have 51 players with cap hits of at least $600,000. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

In January, 2015 the Patriots signed Brandon Bolden to a two-year extension. Bolden was scheduled to be a RFA in March, 2015. The low RFA tender in 2015 was $1.542 million.  While in January the exact amount of the low RFA tender level was not known it was known what its range could be between $1,503,000 and $1,574,000.  Below are the details of the Bolden’s deal.

2015:
Signing bonus: $300,000
Base salary: $660,000
Roster bonus: $200,000 ($12,500 per game on 46-man roster)
Workout bonus: $25,000
Cap hit: $1.035 million – Savings from the low RFA tender  was over $500,000.

2016:
Base salary: $760,000
Roster bonus: $350,000 ($21,875 per game on 46-man roster)
Workout bonus: $25,000
Cap hit: $1.285 million

While its exact amount is not known at the current time, we do know the range for the low RFA tender in 2016. Its lowest possible amount is $1,619,000. Its highest possible amount is $1,696,000.

It is likely that any 2016 extensions for the 4 RFAs (James Develin, Sealver Siliga, Brian Tyms, and LaAdrian Waddle) will use Bolden’s as a template. If the Patriots do not tender a RFA, they will be a street at the start of free agency and the Patriots will not receive any compensation if he signs elsewhere.

James Develin

2016:
Signing bonus: $250,000
Base salary: $675,000
Roster bonus: $200,000 ($12,500 per game on 46-man roster)
Workout bonus: $25,000
Cap hit: $1,025,000 – Savings from the low RFA tender would be over $600,000. Cap space taken up – $425,000 because the Patriots already have 51 players with cap hits of at least $600,000. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

2017:
Base salary: $775,000
Roster bonus: $400,000 ($25,000 per game on 46-man roster)
Workout bonus: $25,000
Cap hit: $1.325 million

LaAdrian Waddle

2016:
Signing bonus: $250,000
Base salary: $675,000
Roster bonus: $200,000 ($12,500 per game on 46-man roster)
Workout bonus: $25,000
Cap hit: $1,025,000 – Savings from the low RFA tender would be over $600,000. Cap space taken up – $425,000 because the Patriots already have 51 players with cap hits of at least $600,000. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

2017:
Base salary: $775,000
Roster bonus: $400,000 ($25,000 per game on 46-man roster)
Workout bonus: $25,000
Cap hit: $1.325 million

Sealver Siliga

2016:
Signing bonus: $0
Base salary: $675,000
Roster bonus: $200,000 ($12,500 per game on 46-man roster)
Workout bonus: $25,000
Cap hit: $900,000 – Savings from the low RFA tender would be over $700,000. Cap space taken up – $300,000 because the Patriots already have 51 players with cap hits of at least $600,000. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

2017:
Base salary: $775,000
Roster bonus: $400,000 ($25,000 per game on 46-man roster)
Workout bonus: $25,000
Cap hit: $1.2 million

Brian Tyms

2016:
Signing bonus: $0
Base salary: $675,000
Roster bonus: $200,000 ($12,500 per game on 46-man roster)
Workout bonus: $25,000
Cap hit: $900,000 – Savings from the low RFA tender would be over $700,000. Cap space taken up – $300,000 because the Patriots already have 51 players with cap hits of at least $600,000. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

2017:
Base salary: $775,000
Roster bonus: $400,000 ($25,000 per game on 46-man roster)
Workout bonus: $25,000
Cap hit: $1.2 million

On January 9th I made these projections for the Patriots UFAs. Over 3 weeks later I will stick with most of them , exception being Nate Ebner.

LB Dekoda Watson – signed to a Minimum Salary Benefit deal – 2016 cap number = $680,000. Cap space taken up = $80,000.

OL Ryan Wendell – either signs with another team or retires

CB Tarell Brown – signed to a similar deal in 2016 but since incentives are now NLTBE a smaller cap hit. Smaller signing bonus ($150K) and no week 1 $100,000 roster bonus. Deal would have $350,000 in 46-man active roster bonus. 2016 Cap number = $1,215,625. Cap space taken up = $615,265.

WR Brandon Gibson – Signed to a Minimum Salary Benefit deal – 2016 cap number = $680,000. Cap space taken up = $80,000.

WR KeShawn Martin – Signed to a small two-year incentive-laden deal- Already done. 2016 cap number=$1,287,500. Cap space taken up = $687,500.

DT Akiem Hicks – signs with another team in the hopes of more playing time and bigger contract than he would likely get from the Patriots.

RB LeGarette Blount – signs with the Patriots to another $1 million deal. Would include incentives starting at 750 yards and 30% playing-time so that they would be classified NLTBE (Not Likely to be Earned in 2016) as Blount rushed for 703 yards in 2015 while playing in 28% of the offensive snaps. Cap space taken up = $400,000.

RB Stephen Jackson – Retires

S Nate Ebner – On January 9th I projected that Ebner would be signed to a veteran minimum deal. Now think that he will sign a three-year deal with the Patriots similar to the 2014 Matthew Slater extension. Slater received a $2 million signing bonus and had $3 million guaranteed. I would guarantee Ebner $2 million. This deal positions Ebner to take on more Slater’s special-teams role in 2017 as Matthew Slater is not signed for the 2017 season.

2016:
Signing bonus: $1,200,000
Base salary: $800,000
Roster bonus: $200,000 ($12,500 per game on 46-man roster)
Cap hit: $1.4 million – Cap space taken up = $800,000

2017:
Base salary: $1,000,000
Roster bonus: $200,000 ($12,500 per game on 46-man roster)
Cap hit: $1.6 million

2018:
Base salary: $1,000,000
Roster bonus: $200,000 ($12,500 per game on 46-man roster)
Cap hit: $1.6 million

S Tavon Wilson – Signs with another team

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 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 Patscap.Com with your donation.

You can have a portion of your Amazon.Com purchases donated to the Bread of Life.
You can learn how to do so by watching a YouTube video at
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My offseason plan for the 2016 New England Patriots

As of January 29 I have the Patriots 2016 total cap commitment as $153,419,971. This total is AFTER the Patriots signed all of its practice squad players to 2016 contracts and presumes that the Patriots will tender all 5 ERFAs. There have been several projections for the 2016 League cap. I will use the latest projection of $154 million. I project that that the Patriots adjusted cap number will be about $4.7 million higher than the league cap number ($158,736,007) So, as of January 29 I project the Patriots to be under their 2016 projected cap number by about $5.3 million. So it appears that the Patriots will need to create cap space by releasing veterans or renegotiating existing contracts. There are plenty of opportunities to do both, thereby opening up millions of dollars under the cap.

10:20 PM update – Please note that during the roster cutdowns cap space will be created as lower-salaried players beat out veterans for roster spots. Example, if Kevin Snyder were to beat out Jonathan Freeney for a roster spot that would create close to $800,000 in cap space.

11:30 PM update – Noted that the $12.3 million should be enough to sign Brian Tyms, James Develin, Sealver Siliga, and Nate Ebner to deals for the 2016 season.

January 30, 10:30 AM update – Another reason for the amount of Amendola’s paycut is that I believe Edelman should get more cash than Amendola who is a lesser player. As of late January Edelman is due to receive $3.5 million if he plays all 16 games. Add another $500,000 to his total since if he does play 16 games he will earn his receptions incentive. Amendola is due to receive $5.5 million if he plays all 16 games.

There are two ways to address this imbalance.
1.) Increase Edelman’s cash intake
2.) Decrease Amendola’s cash intake

Option 2 is the more likely scenario this offseason.

January 31 – 9:15 AM Update – Why would the Patriots cut a player when it causes very little cap savings? Protect themselves from the possibility of the player who is probably not in their long-term plans from getting injured in offseason workout sessions, OTAs or training camp? Precedent-

Cameron Gordon LB 2015-05-18 Waived
Devin Gardner QB/WR 2015-05-18 Waived
Chimdi Chekwa CB 2015-05-18 Waived
Kyle Arrington CB 2015-05-11 Waived
Michael Buchanan DE 2015-05-07 Waived
Deontae Skinner LB 2015-05-05 Waived
Tyler Ott LS 2015-05-05 Waived
Alfonzo Dennard CB 2015-05-05 Waived

January 31 – 10PM update – Wanted to make clear that my offseason plan includes tendering the Patriots ERFAs (Cameron Fleming, Josh Boyce, Justin Coleman, Kevin Hughes, Rufus Johnson, and Brandon King)

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 Lafell was released, his cap number would be lowered by $2,675,000, although the actual team savings would be only $2,15,000 because another player’s $525,000 base salary would be added to the team cap.

Here’s my offseason plan for the 2016 Patriots will free up cap space. Please note that following some of these options will result in increasing the player’s cap numbers for future seasons.

In another blog post I list a good number of alternative ways that the Patriots could create cap space.

1.) Not pick up Jerod Mayo’s option

2.) Release Brandon Lafell

3.) Release Scott Chandler

4.) Release Marcus Cannon

5.) Waive Jon Bostic

6.) Waive Aaron Dobson Why would the Patriots cut a player when it causes very little cap savings? Protect themselves from the possibility of the player who is probably not in their long-term plans from getting injured in offseason workout sessions, OTAs or training camp? 2015 Precedents –

Cameron Gordon LB 2015-05-18 Waived
Devin Gardner QB/WR 2015-05-18 Waived
Chimdi Chekwa CB 2015-05-18 Waived
Kyle Arrington CB 2015-05-11 Waived
Michael Buchanan DE 2015-05-07 Waived
Deontae Skinner LB 2015-05-05 Waived
Tyler Ott LS 2015-05-05 Waived
Alfonzo Dennard CB 2015-05-05 Waived

7.) Redo Danny Amendola’s deal lowering his $5 million salary to $1.5 million while giving him a 1m roster bonus with the chance to earn 1m back with incentives starting at 70 catches so that they would be considered NLTBE. Cap savings of $2.5 million. In 2015 his cash intake went from $4 million to $1.75m with a chance to earn $750K back. Am proposing that cash intake go from $5,437,500 to $2,937,500 with a chance to earn $750K. Pay cut is only $250,000 more than it was in 2015 while increasing cash intake from 2015. Have to credit Joel Corry @corryjoel for deal parameters. Another reason for the amount of Amendola’s paycut is that I believe Edelman should get more cash than Amendola who is a lesser player. As of late January Edelman is due to receive $3.5 million if he plays all 16 games. Add another $500,000 to his total since if he does play 16 games he will earn his receptions incentive. Amendola is due to receive $5.5 million if he plays all 16 games.

8.) Extend Donta’ Hightower through the 2020 season with a deal that would pay over $50 million over 5 years.
16 million signing bonus
Over 23 million guaranteed.
Cap numbers
2016 – 6.45m
2017 – 8.5m
2017 – 10.7m
2018 – 11.7m
2019 – 12.7m

9.) Extend Jamie Collins through the 2020 season with a deal that would pay $47.75 million over 5 years.
15 million signing bonus
22 million guaranteed.
Cap numbers
2016 – 5.5m
2017 – 8.5m
2017 – 10.25m
2018 – 11.5m
2019 – 12m

10.) Sign Tarell Brown to a similar deal as his 2015 deal except with a smaller signing bonus ($150K) and no week 1 $100,000 roster bonus. Deal would have $350,000 in 46-man active roster bonus. Cap number = $1,215,625

11.) Lower Chris Jones’ 2016 cap number to $800,000.

12.) Sign Matt Forte to a 3-year $12 million deal (same totals as an older Frank Gore got from the Colts last year)
Cap numbers in each year will equal $4 million

or go after a young, big wideout like a Marvin Jones, Mohammed Sanu, or a Rishard Matthews

13.) Sign a young tight end like a Dwayne Allen or a Ladarius Green. 2016 Cap number of $2.5 million

14.) Sign a veteran offensive lineman – 2016 cap number of $4 million.

15.) Extend Jabaal Sheard through the 2020 season with a deal that would pay $45 million over 5 years.
10 million signing bonus
16.5 million guaranteed.
Cap numbers
2016 – 5.8125m
2017 – 8.5m
2017 – 9.75m
2018 – 10.75m
2019 – 12m

16.) Tendering the Patriots ERFAs (Cameron Fleming, Josh Boyce, Justin Coleman, Kevin Hughes, Rufus Johnson, and Brandon King). Fleming at 600K. The others at 525K. They must accept offer if they wish to play in the NFL in 2016.

After all of these moves the Patriots would have $12,355,980 in cap space which is more than enough to pay for

* Sign Brian Tyms, James Develin, Sealver Siliga, and Nate Ebner to small deals (less than 1m each) for the 2016 season.

* the 2016 draft class – $1 million in cap space.

* Pay for players 52 and 53 – $900,000

* Pay for the 10-man practice squad – ($6,600 * 17 weeks * 10 players) = $1,122,000. Will round up to $1,500,000 since Patriots typically pay some practice squad players more than the minimum and the Patriots have cut players after 4PM Tuesday when the player has earned that week’s salary.

* Have a cushion for the NLTBE 46-man active roster bonuses that could be earned by Sheard, Bolden, Kline, Freeny, Fletcher, Amendola, Lewis Edelman, Vollmer, Solder, Gronkowski, McCourty, and Chung. If all thirteen players play in all sixteen games in 2016, the Patriots will then lose $1.5 million in cap space.

* Have a cushion for other reachable NLTBE incentives (1.5 million) which consist of Vollmer’s playing-time incentive ($1 million) and Edelman’s receptions incentives ($500,000).

* Have a cushion to replace injured players during preseason and regular season – $2 to $ 4 million.

* Have a cushion to extend players during regular season. $1 to $2 million.

The Pats would certainly have cap space to extend one of their starting cornerbacks (Logan Ryan or Malcolm Butler).

The Patriots would still have the capability of creating even more cap space by extending or trading Chandler Jones.

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 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 Patscap.Com with your donation.

You can have a portion of your Amazon.Com purchases donated to the Bread of Life.
You can learn how to do so by watching a YouTube video at
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Listing the big decisions that the New England Patriots have to make right around the start of the 2016 League Year.

Last updated on January 28th.

  • Jerod Mayo – The Patriots have a $4 million option on Mayo’s first day of 2016 League Year roster bonus. They must decide to pick up the option or not by the end of the 2015 League Year. Have created a blog post dedicated to examining Jerod Mayo’s restructure
  • Alan Branch – The Patriots have a $400,000 option on Branch’s first day of 2016 League Year roster bonus. They must decide to pick up the option or not by the end of the 2015 League Year. Have created a blog post dedicated to examining Alan Branch’s deal with the Patriots
  • Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower’s 2016 options which are now guaranteed for injury only become fully guaranteed on 4PM, March 9th.
  • The Pats will have until the start of the 2016 League 4PM, March 9th to make ERFA tender offer to these six potential ERFAs (Cameron Fleming, Rufus Johnson, Kevin Hughes, Josh Boyce, Justin Coleman and Brandon King), The tender offer equals the minimum salary for a player with the amount of credited seasons. The tender offer for Cameron Fleming will be $600,000 while the tender offers for Kevin Hughes, Josh Boyce, Justin Coleman and Brandon King will be $525,000.
  • The Pats will have until the start of the 2016 League Year to these potential RFAs (James Develin, Brian Tyms, Sealver Siliga, and LaAdrain Waddle). The 2015 tenders were $3.354 million for the 1st round tender, $2.356 million for the 2nd round tender, and $1.542 million for original round tenders. The minimum increase is 5%. The maximum increase is 10%.
  • Out of the potential UFAs (Ryan Wendell, Brandon Gibson, Tarell Brown, Akiem Hicks, Tavon Wilson, DaKoda Watson, Stephen Jackson, Nate Ebner, and LaGarette Blount) none of them are worthy of a franchise tag.
  • Pats have a total of 74 players (53 active, 2 PUP, 18 IR, 1 NFI).
    55 of them signed for 2016
    6 will be ERFA
    4 will be RFA
    9 will be UFA
  • Rob Gronkowski – The Patriots will have until the start of the 2016 League to pick up Gronkowski’s $6 million option bonus. If they do, he will be signed through the 2019 season. As it stands right now, Gronk will have the 9th highest cap hit for a tight end in 2016, 7th highest in 2017, and the highest in both 2018 and 2019. The option bonus was originally $10 million but on July 30th the Patriots paid Gronkowski $4 million. Source for Gronk’s rankings: http://www.overthecap.com. If the Patriots do not, Gronk will become a free agent at the start of the 2016 League Year and the Patriots can not place the franchise tag on him.
  • Jabaal Sheard – $500,000 of Sheard’s 2016 salary becomes fully guaranteed the 5th day of the 2016 league year.

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 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 Patscap.Com with your donation.

You can have a portion of your Amazon.Com purchases donated to the Bread of Life.
You can learn how to do so by watching a YouTube video at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eA-t4XxeOc

Tracking New England Patriots Incentives after the AFC Championship Game

LTBE incentives count against the team’s salary cap in the year that they are scheduled to be earned. All but 1 (46-man active roster) NLTBE bonuses do not.
LTBE = Likely to Be Earned
NLTBE= Not Likely to be Earned

At the end of the season, the NFL calculates how much each team had set aside for LTBEs that weren’t earned – or said differently, it figures out how much was charged to the team’s cap that was not actually spent. Similarly, the NFL calculates the amount of incentives designated NLTBE that were actually earned. If the unearned LTBEs are greater than the earned NLTBEs, then the following year’s salary cap for that team is increased by the net amount. Similarly, if the earned NLTBEs exceed the unearned LTBEs, then the team’s cap for the following year is lowered by that amount. You can see an example of the effect of cap adjustments at NFLPlayers.Com. The teams with negative cap adjustments had most likely earned more NLTBE incentives in 2014 than they did not earn LTBE incentives.

In 2015 the Patriots received a debit of $5,143,970 toward their 2015 cap number because of the LTBE/NTLBE calculation.
The 2015 Patriots adjusted cap of $144,578,084 consists of $143,280,000 (League Cap) + $5,258,054 (rollover amount from 2014 season) + $1,184,000 (Aaron Hernandez credit) – $5,143,970 (LTBE/NTLE adjustment).

LTBE Incentives ($3,617,500 total)

* Matthew Slater has a $100,000 Pro Bowl incentive – Earned
* Alan Branch’s weight bonus – $400,000 – Probable
* Marcus Cannon’s weight bonus – $100,000- Probable
* Travaris Cadet’s one-time 53-man roster bonus – $50,000 – Earned Week 1
* Joe Cardona’s one-time 53-man roster bonus – $17,500 – Earned Week 1
* Tarell Brown’s one-time 53-man roster bonus – $100,000 – Earned Week 1

* Julian Edelman has a $500,000 receptions incentive that can be earned in one of the following four ways:
1.)1,057 receiving yards – Unearned
2.)70 receptions plus seven TDs – Unearned
3.)80 receptions plus 13 wins – Unearned
4.)80 receptions plus Super Bowl appearance – Unearned
After 16 games, Julian has 61 receptions totaling 692 yards. He has 7 receiving touchdowns and the Patriots have won twelve games. Unearned

* Brandon Lafell has a $300,000 incentive that is tied to receiving yards. $200,000 is earned at the 800 yard level. Another $100,000 is earned at the 900 yard level. After 16 games Lafell has 515 receiving yards – 800 yards – Unearned. 900 yards – Unearned
* Tarell Brown’s playing time incentive – $500,000. Given that Tarell Brown will miss 13 games in 2015, it will be impossible for him to earn this playing-time incentive – Unearned
* Ryan Wendell’s playing time incentive – $800,000. Wendell played in 77.8% of the offensive snaps in 2014. After 15 games Wendell has played in about 1% of the snaps so far. Given that Ryan Wendell is now on IR he will probably end the year playing 1% of the snaps. – Unearned
* Sebastian Vollmer’s 80% playing-time incentive- $750,000. After 15 games Vollmer played in 77.1% of the snaps so far in 2015. – Since he missed the Dolphins game, Vollmer can’t earn this incentive. Unearned

46-man per-game roster bonuses – As of January 3, 2016, 9:00 PM, the Patriots have $5,878,750 in 46-man active roster bonuses that are now counting against their 2015 cap

* Jabaal Sheard has a $62,500 per active game roster bonus. Sheard played in 16 games in 2014 so his LTBE amount is $1,000,000 ($62,500*16). Sheard has been active for 13 games this year.
* Sebastian Vollmer has a $62,500 per game roster bonus. Vollmer played in 15 games in 2014 so his LTBE amount is $937,500 ($62,500*15). Vollmer has been active for 14 games this year.
* Julian Edelman has a $46,875 per game roster bonus. Edelman played in 14 games in 2014 so his LTBE amount is $656,250 ($46,875*14). Edelman has been active for 9 games this year.
* Devin McCourty has a $31,250 per game roster bonus. McCourty played in 16 games in 2014 so his LTBE amount is $500,000 ($31,250*16). McCourty has been active for 14 games this year.
* Danny Amendola has a $31,250 per game roster bonus. Amendola played in 16 games in 2014 so his LTBE amount is $500,000 ($31,250*16). Amendola has been active for 14 games this year.
* Rob Ninkovich has a $25,000 per game roster bonus. Ninkovich played in 16 games in 2014 so his LTBE amount is $400,000 ($25,000*16). Ninkovich has been active for all 16 games this year.
* Brandon Lafell has a $25,000 per game roster bonus. Lafell played in 16 games last year so his LTBE amount is $400,000 ($25,000 *16). Lafell has been active for 11 games this year.
* Marcus Cannon has a $15,625 per game roster bonus. Cannon played in 16 games in 2014 so his LTBE amount is $250,000 ($15,625*16). Cannon has been active for 12 games this year.
* Alan Branch has a $25,000 per game roster bonus. Branch played in 8 games in 2014 so his LTBE amount is $200,000 ($25,000*16). Branch has been active for all 16 games this year.
* Patrick Chung has a $12,500 per game roster bonus. Chung played in 16 games in 2014 so his LTBE amount is $200,000 ($12,500*16). Chung has been active for 16 games this year
* Stephen Gostkowski has a $12,500 per game roster bonus. Gostkowski played in 16 games in 2014 so his LTBE amount is $200,000 ($12,500*16). Gostkowski has been active for all 16 games this year.
* Brandon Bolden has a $12,500 per game roster bonus. Bolden played in 16 games in 2014 so his LTBE amount is $200,000 ($12,500*16). Bolden has been active for 15 games this year.
* Ryan Wendell has a $12,500 per game roster bonus. Wendell played in 14 games last year so his LTBE amount is $175,000 ($12,500 *14). Wendell was active for 2 games this year before being placed on IR.
* Michael Hoomanawanui had a $6,250 per game roster bonus. Hoomanawanui played in 16 games in 2014 so his LTBE amount was $100,000 ($6,250 *16). Hoomanawanui was inactive for 1 game before being traded.
* LaGarrette Blount had a $6,250 per game roster bonus. Blount played in 16 games in 2014 so his LTBE amount was $100,000 ($6,250 *16). Blount was active for 12 games this year before being placed on IR on December 16th.
* Dane Fletcher had a $6,000 per game roster bonus that maxes at $60,000 (10 games). Dane Fletcher played in 16 games in 2014 so his LTBE amount is $60,000. Dane Fletcher has not been active for a game this year.

NLTBE Incentives ($6,381,250 total)

* Sebastian Vollmer has a 250K NLTBE Pro Bowl incentive – Unearned
* Jerod Mayo has a 300K NLTBE Pro Bowl incentive- Unearned
* Nate Solder has a 500K NLTBE Pro Bowl incentive – Unearned
* LaGarrette Blount’s 20% playing time incentive – Earned since Blount played in 27.5% of the offensive snaps in 2015.
* LaGarrette Blount has a $100,000 incentive tied to rushing yards – Earned by rushing over 600 yards.
* Sebastian Vollmer’s playing time incentive – $1 million if he plays in 90% of the offensive snaps. Vollmer has played less than 77% of the offensive snaps this year making it impossible for him to earn this incentive. – Unearned
* Marcus Cannon’s playing time incentive – $250,000 if he plays in 80% of the offensive snaps. Cannon has placed in 50.8% of the offensive snaps this year making it impossible for him to earn this incentive. – Unearned
* Alan Branch’s playing time incentive – $750,000. Branch has played in 40% of the defensive snaps in 2015 making it impossible for earn this incentive.
50% playing-time – $250,000 – Unearned
55% playing-time for another $250,000 ($500,000 total) – Unearned
65% playing-time for another $250,000 ($750,000 total) – Unearned
* Jerod Mayo can earn up to $1.5 million in playing-time incentives if he plays in 85% of the snaps. Mayo has played in 29% of the snaps making it impossible for him to earn this incentive. – Unearned

Danny Amendola has a $750,000 NLTBE incentive that is tied to receptions. His incentive is tiered. ($150,000 for 40 catches, another $150,000 for 50 receptions, another $225,000 for 60 catches, and another $225,000 for 70 receptions). After 16 games Amendola has caught 65 passes already surpassing the three lowest levels) –
40 catches for $150,000 – Earned
50 catches for another $150,000 ($300,000 total) – Earned
60 catches for another $225,000 ($525,000 total) – Earned
70 catches for another $150,000 ($750,000 total) – Unearned

Per the CBA, “Any roster bonus which is deemed not “likely to be earned” based upon the player’s performance during the prior year shall immediately be included in Team Salary when earned” so as the below players play in more games in 2015 than they did in 2014 the Patriots will lose cap space in the amount of the 46-man active roster bonus. Example – Alan Branch played in 8 games in 2014. He played in 16 games in 2015. The Patriots have lost $200,000 ($25,000 * 8) in cap space so far this season.

* Alan Branch has a $25,000 46-man active per game roster bonus. Branch played in 8 games in 2014 so his NLTBE amount is $200,000 ($25,000 * 8). Branch has been active for 16 games this year.
* Sebastian Vollmer has a $62,500 46-man active per game roster bonus. Vollmer played in 15 games in 2014 so his NLTBE amount is $62,500 ($62,500*1). Since Vollmer has missed two games this year, it will not be possible for Vollmer to reach this incentive.
* Julian Edelman has a $46,875 46-man active per game roster bonus. Edelman played in 14 games in 2014 so his NLTBE amount is $93,750 ($46,875*2). Since Edelman missed seven games this year, it will not be possible for Vollmer to reach this incentive.

Amount - Event - Likelihood
   $250,000 - Vollmer making the Pro Bowl                                    - Unearned
   $500,000 - Solder making the Pro Bowl                                     - Unearned
   $300,000 - Mayo making the Pro Bowl                                       - Unearned
 $1,000,000 - Vollmer exceeding 90% playing time                             - Unearned
   $100,000 - Blount exceeding 20% playing time                              - Earned
   $100,000 - Blount exceeding 600 yards rushing                             - Earned
   $150,000 - Amendola catching 40 receptions                                - Earned
   $300,000 - Amendola catching 50 catches                                   - Earned
   $525,000 - Amendola catching 60 catches                                   - Earned
   $750,000 - Amendola catching 70 catches                                   - Unearned
 $1,500,000 - Mayo's 85% playing-time incentive                              - Unearned
   $750,000 - Alan Branch's playing-time incentive                           - Unearned
   $500,000 - Wendell's playing-time incentive                               - Unearned
   $200,000 - Branch being on the 46-man active roster for more than 8 games - Earned and already counting against 2015 cap
    $25,000 - Wendell being on the 46-man roster for all 16 games            - Unearned
    $93,750 - Edelman being on the 46-man roster for 16 games                - Unearned

Totals
$5,456,250 Unearned
  $200,000 Earned and counting against 2015 cap
  $725,000 Earned and will count against 2016 cap
$6,381,250 NLTBE incentive

As far as I know, the Patriots will not be credited with any unreached LTBE incentives (Tarell Brown’s playing-time, for example) in 2015. What will happened is that any unreached LTBE incentives will be used to offset NLTBE incentives that were actually earned by other players at the end of the year and there will be an adjustment made to the Patriots 2016 cap number.

After the AFC Championship Game
Negative means that the player will reached or has reached a NLTBE incentive
Positive means that the player did not earned a LTBE incentive

* Ryan Wendell’s playing-time ($800,000)
* Sebastian Vollmer’s playing-time ($750,000)
* Julian Edelman’s receptions ($500,000)
* Tarell Brown’s playing-time ($500,000)
* Brandon Lafell’s reception yardage (900 yards total) ($300,000)
* Julian Edelman’s 46-man active roster bonus ($243,375)
* Jabaal Sheard’s 46-man active roster bonus ($187,500)
* Ryan Wendell’s 46-man active roster bonus ($150,000)
* Brandon Lafell’s 46-man active roster bonus ($125,000)
* Danny Amendola’s 46-man active roster bonus ($62,500)
* Sebastian Vollmer’s 46-man active roster bonus ($62,500)
* Devin McCourty’s 46-man active roster bonus ($62,500)
* Marcus Cannon’s 46-man active roster bonus ($62,500)
* Dane Fletcher’s 46-man active roster bonus ($60,000)
* Brandon Bolden’s 46-man active roster bonus ($12,500)
* LaGarrette Blount’s 46-man active roster bonus ($25,000)
* Michael Hoomanawanui’s 46-man active roster bonus ($6,250)
* LaGarrette Blount’s rushing incentive (-$100,000)
* LaGarrette Blount’s playing-time incentive (-$100,000)
* Danny Amendola’s receptions incentives (-$525,000)
* Totals ($3,188,125)

The $3,188,125 LTBE/NLTBE adjustment will be included in the Patriots 2016 adjusted salary cap number calculation as a credit. If 2016 League Cap is $154 million, the Patriots 2016 adjusted cap number would then be $157,188,125 before including the 2015 rollover amount. The 2015 rollover amount will be $1,347,882. So my current projection for the Patriots 2016 adjusted cap number is $158,536,007 (League Cap of $154 million plus $1,347,882 rollover plus $3,188,125 adjustment).

Another way that incentives will affect the Patriots salary cap in 2015 is how the incentives changed the player’s 2016 cap number.

* Nate Solder’s $31,250 per active game roster bonus is now LTBE for 4 games, not 16 in 2016 – an decrease of $375,000
* Jabaal Sheard’s $62,500 per game roster bonus is now LTBE for all 13 games in 2016. It was 16 in 2015 – an decrease of $187,500
* Marcus Cannon’s $15,625 per game roster bonus is now LTBE for 12 games in 2016. It was 16 in 2015 – an decrease of $62,500
* Brandon Lafell’s $25,000 per game roster bonus is now LTBE for 11 games in 2016. It was 16 in 2015 – an decrease of $125,000
* Alan Branch’s $25,000 per game roster bonus is LTBE for 15 games in 2016. It was 8 in 2015 – an increase of $175,000
* Brandon Bolden’s $21,875 per game roster bonus is LTBE for 15 games in 2016. It was 16 in 2015 – an decrease of $21,875
* Sebastian Vollmer’s $62,500 per game roster bonus is LTBE for 14 games in 2016. It was 15 in 2015 – an decrease of $62,500
* By playing in 73% of the snaps Sebastian Vollmer did not earn his 1 million roster bonus for 2016 that was tied to 80% playing time.
* Rob Gronkowski’s $31,250 per game roster bonus is LTBE for 15 games in 2016, not 16 – an decrease of $31,250
* Danny Amendola’s $31,250 per game roster bonus is LTBE for 14 games in 2016. It was 16 in 2015 – an decrease of $62,500
* Devin McCourty’s $31,250 per game roster bonus is LTBE for 14 games in 2016. It was 16 in 2015 – an decrease of $62,500
* Julian Edelman’s $46,875 per game roster bonus is now LTBE for 9 games in 2016. It was LTBE for 14 games in 2015, a decrease of $234,375.
* Julian Edelman’s $500,000 incentive that can be earned in one of the following four ways:
1.) 1,057 receiving yards
2.) 70 receptions plus seven TDs
3.) 80 receptions plus 13 wins
4.) 80 receptions plus Super Bowl appearance
is now NLTBE for 2016, a decrease of $500,000

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
useful that if you are able to do so, please make a donation to the Bread of Life
soup kitchen/food pantry. http://www.breadoflifemalden.org/
Their address is
Attn: Mea Quinn Mustone
Bread of Life
54 Eastern Avenue, Rear
Malden, MA 02148
Please mention this website Patscap.Com with your donation.
You can have a portion of your Amazon.Com purchases donated to the Bread of Life.
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How the New England Patriots can create cap space in 2016

As of January 24, I have the Patriots 2016 total cap commitments as $153,419,971. The $153,419,971 total presumes that the Patriots will sign all of its practice squad players to 2016 contracts as well as tender all 6 of its Exclusive Rights Free Agents (ERFAs). There are several projections for the 2016 League cap. For the time being, I am using $154 million. I project that that the Patriots adjusted cap number will be about $4,736,007 higher than the league cap number. So, as of January 24th I project the Patriots to be under their projected cap number by about $5.3 million. So it appears that the Patriots will need to create cap space by releasing veterans or renegotiating existing contracts in order to stay under the cap during the 2016 season. There are plenty of opportunities to do both, thereby opening up millions of dollars under the cap.

When determining the cap savings from releasing players, keep in mind the Rule of 51. When a player from the top 51 is released or traded, the base salary of the player with the 52nd-highest cap number is added to the cap. For example, if Mayo’s option was not picked up, his cap number would be lowered by $7,000,000, although the actual team savings would be only $6,475,000 because another player’s $525,000 base salary would be added to the team cap.

You can see all of the possible cap savings for all of the 2016 Patriots at patscap.com

Here are some possible ways that the Pats could free up cap space. Please note that I am NOT advocating nor I am suggesting that the Patriots do all of these salary-cap maneuvers. The bolded maneuvers are my current predictions for that particular player. Am NOT predicting that the Patriots will do all of the bolded moves, just that if they do a move with a player, that it will be the bolded one. There is no need for the Patriots to do all of the bolded moves. The players are listed in descending 2016 cap number. Please note that following some option will result in increasing the player’s cap numbers for future seasons.

1.) Convert 8 million of Tom Brady’s 2016 salary into a signing bonus lowering his 2016 cap number from $15 million to $11 million while increasing his 2017 cap number from $16 million to $20 million

2.) Not pick up Jerod Mayo’s option creating net cap savings of $6.425 million.

3.) Lower’s Mayo’ 2016 cash intake from $8 million to 1 million for a net cap savings of 7 million

4.) Trade Chandler Jones for a net cap savings of $7,274,000

5.) Sign Chandler Jones to an extension. A deal that is slightly better than Robert Quinn’s would create $1.249 million in cap space
Chandler Jones' extension

6.)Sign Donta’ Hightower to an extension. A deal that is slightly better than Bobby Wagner’s would create $1.301 million in cap space
Donta' Hightower's extension

7.) Extend or Restructure Danny Amendola’s deal giving him a signing bonus in return for a lower salary in 2016 with a chance to make up some of the lost money in with incentives – net cap savings of between $2 million and $3 million

8.) Cut Danny Amendola for a net cap savings of $4,070,832

9.) Release Sebastian Vollmer for a net cap savings of $2.6 million

10.) Extend Jabaal Sheard through the 2020 season for a net cap savings of 1 million.
Jabaal Sheard' extension

11.) Release Marcus Cannon for a net cap savings of $3,162,500

12.) Release Rob Ninkovich for a net cap savings of $1.475 million.

13.) Release Brandon Lafell for a net cap savings of $2.15 million

14.) Release Scott Chandler for a net cap savings of $1.525 million

15.) Not pick up Alan Branch’s option for a net cap savings of $1.875 million

16.) Release Josh Kline for a net cap savings of $1.4 million

17.) Have Chris Jones take a paycut from $1.696 million with a chance to earn some money by reaching incentives – net cap savings ranging from 600K to 800K.

18.) Waive Chris Jones for a net cap savings of around $1 million

19.) Waive Aaron Dobson for a net cap savings of $347,505

20.) Waive Jon Bostic for a net cap savings of $417,381

21.) Waive Ishmaa’ily Kitchen for a net cap savings of $160,000

Here are the moves that I think that will happen

Extend Hightower
Restructure Danny Amendola
Release Lafell
Not pick up Mayo’s option
Release Scott Chandler
Release Marcus Cannon
Waive Chris Jones

As you can see from above, the Pats could create over 20 million in cap space if they chose to do all of my bolded predictions.

The Patriots may wait to do the other bolded moves for when they need to create cap space or during roster cutdowns.

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 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 Patscap.Com with your donation.

You can have a portion of your Amazon.Com purchases donated to the Bread of Life.
You can learn how to do so by watching a YouTube video at
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A couple of my Twitter followers asked for a New England Patriots 2016 salary cap preview. Please note that I have used Brian McFarland’s @ravenssalarycap preview of the Ravens 2016 salary cap a template for this blog post.
These numbers were last updated on January 15, 2016.

Quick summary – The Patriots are going to have to make several difficult decisions in the next couple of years about which young players to retain. I will presume that the 2016 salary cap will be $154 million. While we are less than 2 months away from the start of the 2016 League Year (4PM, March 9) I do plan to update this later this year as we come close to the start of the 2016 League Year.

In order to keep these blog posts relatively short I had to break up this preview into 4 pieces.
The first blog explains my projections for the 2016 Patriots adjusted salary cap number. second post projected what will happen with the Patriots unrestricted free agents The second post projected what will happen with the Patriots unrestricted free agents – specifically, the players on the offensive side of the ball and the special teamers. This third blog will project what will happen with the defensive line and the safeties. The fourth portion will focus on the linebackers and the cornerbacks.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (UFAs)
The following 10 Patriots are Unrestricted Free Agents (UFAs) and will be free to sign with other teams if they haven’t re-signed with the Patriots before Free Agency begins on March 9th at 4:00 p.m.:

LB – Dekoda Watson ($585,000 salary, $34,412 cap)
OL – Ryan Wendell ($2,406,240 cap)
CB – Tarell Brown ($2,000,000 cap)
WR – Brandon Gibson ($671,240 cap)
WR – KeShawn Martin ($660,000 salary, $621,176 cap)
DT – Akiem Hicks ($1,542,000 salary, $1,259,588 cap)
RB – LeGarette Blount ($962,122 cap)
RB – Stephen Jackson ($970,000 salary, $114,117 cap)
S – Nate Ebner ($690,390 cap)
S – Tavon Wilson ($1,348,297 cap)

The Patriots do not have any UFAs that must be re-signed. 4 UFAs (Wendell, Brown, Gibson, Blount) are currently on IR. There is no chance that any of the ten UFAs will be given the franchise tag.

1/13 projections on what will happen with the 10 UFAs
LB – Dekoda Watson – signed to a Minimum Salary Benefit deal
OL – Ryan Wendell – either signs with another team or retires
CB – Tarell Brown – signed to a similar deal in 2016 but since incentives are now NLTBE a smaller cap hit
WR – Brandon Gibson – Signed to a Minimum Salary Benefit deal
WR – KeShawn Martin – Signed to a small two-year incentive-laden deal
DT – Akiem Hicks – signs with another team in the hopes of more playing time
RB – LeGarette Blount – signs with the Patriots to another $1 million deal.
RB – Stephen Jackson – Retires
S – Nate Ebner – Signs a Minimum Salary Benefit deal and competes for a roster spot during training camp
S – Tavon Wilson – Signs with another team

I am projecting that the Patriots will have an adjusted Team Salary Cap of $158.7M. The team’s adjusted Cap consists of the projected league-wide Salary Cap of $154M, plus the carryover of the 2015 excess Cap space of $1.3M (actual amount=$1,347,882), and incentive/Cap repayment adjustments (estimated $3.4M – $3,388,125).

So, for the purposes of this projection – and presenting the worst place scenario as the starting point – if the team signs and tenders all of their practice squad players and ERFAs and prior to the team making any other roster moves (releases or retirements) or the restructure of any contracts, the team will have 69 players under contract.

During the offseason, though, when rosters can balloon to up to 90 players, only the highest 51 Salary Cap numbers (and all 2016 signing bonus prorations and all dead money from released players) are counted for Salary Cap purposes.

As such, the Patriots’ estimated Rule of 51 number – again, if they sign all 10 practice squad players and tender all 6 ERFAs would be a Cap commitment of just over $152.1M

Estimates
2016 Cap- 154m
2015 Carryover-1.3m
2016 Adjustments-3.4m
2016 Pats adjusted cap- 158.7m
Cap Commitment (68 players)-152.7m
Space=6m

I am now going to examine by position the most likely 2016 salary cap consequences for the player.

Background information – The CBA says that “a Rookie Contract for a Drafted Rookie may not be renegotiated, amended or altered in any way until after the final regular season game of the player’s third contract year” which means that the contracts of the Patriots drafted in 2014 or 2015 can not be redone at all during the 2016 season. This affects Dominique Easley, Jimmy Garoppolo, Bryan Stork, James White, Tyler Gaffney, Malcom Brown, Jordan Richards, Geneo Grissom, Trey Flowers, Tre’ Jackson, Shaq Mason, Joe Cardona, A.J. Derby and Darryl Roberts. The CBA also says that 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” which means that David Andrews’ contract can not be redone during the 2016 season.

More background information – The 2016 League Year starts at 4PM, March 9th. By the time the 2016 League Year the player with the 51st highest cap number will have a salary of $600,000. Am presuming that the Patriots will tender all of the ERFAs (Exclusive Rights Free Agents) and sign all 10 of their practice squad members to futures contracts.

The first number after the player is their 2016 salary cap number. The second number is the year that the player is signed through.

DL (10): Chandler Jones ($7.799M, 2016 ); Jabaal Sheard ($6.8125M, 2016 ); Rob Ninkovich ($4.75M, 2016 ); Alan Branch ($2.8M, 2016); Dominique Easley ($1,991,877, 2017); Malcom Brown ($1,730,280, 2018); Chris Jones ($1.668M, 2016); Ishmaa’ily Kitchen ($760,000, 2016); Geneo Grissom ($680,487, 2018); Trey Flowers ($664,733, 2018)

Per the CBA Dominique Easley’s contract can not be touched until after the 2016 season so his 2016 salary cap number will remain the same. Per the CBA the contracts of Geneo Grissom, Trey Flowers and Malcom Brown can not be touched until after the 2017 season so their 2016 salary cap numbers will remain the same.

Expect Kitchen to compete for a roster spot. Only if he earns a spot on the 53-man roster and proves to be a capable backup do I expect him to get extended late during the 2016 season.

Expect Chris Jones who spent the 2015 season on PUP to take a substantial paycut in order to remain with the Patriots this year. Chris Jones had done enough to earn the Proven Performance Escalator in 2016 which increased his salary from $675,000 to a projected $1,668,000. 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. Since Chris Jones played in 46% of the defensive snaps in 2014 and in 67.9% of the defensive snaps in 2013 he qualified for the Proven Performance Escalator in 2016. I am using $1,668,000 which is a 8% increase over the same 2015 number. Expect Chris Jones to sign an incentive-laden one-year deal that lowers his cap number from $1.668 million to somewhere between $800,000 and 1 million.

Since Rob Ninkovich will be 32 years old when the 2016 season and is due only $2 million in cash expect Ninkovich to play the 2016 season under his contract. The most cap space that the Patriots could create by extending Ninkovich is $7,500.

Alan Branch’s presence on the 2016 Patriots roster may be tied to Akiem Hicks who is scheduled to become a free agent in March. If Hicks agrees to a deal that has a 2016 cap number of no more than $2.4 million he would be a younger (by almost 5 years), cheaper and better use of Branch’s cap space. The Patriots have until 4PM March to pick up their option on Branch’s 2016 season. If they pick up the option, they have to pay Branch a $400,000 roster bonus. If the Patriots extend Hicks before March 9th, I would then expect for Branch’s option not to be picked up.

I expect Sheard and the Patriots to reach a long-term extension during the 2016 season. Any such extension will likely lower Sheard’s 2016 cap number. Would expect Sheard to receive a deal that would be scheduled to pay him $45 million over 5 years ($9M APY) – a slightly better deal than Jared Olrick received in 2015 ($8.5M APY). In this deal his 2016 and 2017 salaries are fully guaranteed.

Sheard's Proposed Extension

If I am on the high side on my projection, the better it is for the Patriots salary cap.

As Malcolm Butler’s play continue to improve throughout the year the more I felt that Chandler Jones would be the player that would not reach a long-term deal with the Patriots. Why?

  1. His position (4-3 Defensive End) is the most expensive defensive position out of the ones that are coming up for extension – the others being linebacker, cornerback and safety.
  2. The Patriots not only have seasoned veterans (Ninkovich and Sheard) at his position but they also are grooming even younger talent (Geneo Grissom, Trey Flowers)
  3. Sacks as an singular stat are overrated and have often caused players with a great number of sacks to be overpaid.
  4. Jamie Collins, Dont’a Hightower, and Jabaal Sheard are better all-around players
  5. His incident with the Foxboro police makes it easier public-relations wise to trade Chandler Jones

What do I expect to happen with Chandler Jones? I expect him to play the 2016 season for the Patriots. I then expect him to be tagged in February, 2017 and then traded in March 2017. It is certainly possible that the trade happens this year.

It is in Chandler Jones’ best interest regarding his second contract to put as much time as possible between it and his “stupid mistake”. Before his “stupid mistake” I proposed a deal between Chandler Jones and the New England Patriots that was slightly better than Robert Quinn. This deal is too rich, now.

Chandler Jones's Proposed Extension

S (4): Devin McCourty ($7,937,500, 2019); Patrick Chung ($3,287,500, 2017); Jordan Richards ($843,534, 2018); Duron Harmon ($814.4K, 2016)

Since Devin McCourty signed his deal in 2015 and his 2016 $4.5 million salary is fully guaranteed, can’t imagine that his deal will be touched this year. Please note that as McCourty is active for more games than he was in 2015 (14) his salary cap number will go up by $31,250 as he earns a NLTBE (Not Likely to Be Earned) 46-man active roster bonus. The Patriots will need to reserve a total of $62,500 just in case McCourty is active for all 16 games during the 2016 season.

Since Patrick Chung signed his deal in 2015, can’t imagine that his deal will be touched this year. Please note that as Chung is active for more games than he was in 2015 (15) his salary cap number will go up by $12,500 as he earns a NLTBE (Not Likely to Be Earned) 46-man active roster bonus. The Patriots will need to reserve a total of $12,500 just in case Chung is active for all 16 games during the 2016 season.

Duron Harmon Jones had done enough to earn the Proven Performance Escalator in 2016 which increased his salary from $675,000 to a projected $1,668,000. 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. Since Duron Harmon played in 37% of the defensive snaps in 2013 and in 55% of the defensive snaps in 2015 he qualified for the Proven Performance Escalator in 2016. I am using $1,668,000 which is a 8% increase over the same 2015 number. Since 1.7m is right around the range of the APY (Average Per Year) for a Top 10 3rd safety expect Harmon to reach an long-term extension with the Patriots for around that number with incentives that increases his pay if he plays a higher percentage of snaps.

Per the CBA Jordan Richard’s contract cannot be touched until after the 2017 season so his 2016 salary cap numbers will remain the same.

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 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 Patscap.Com with your donation.

You can have a portion of your Amazon.Com purchases donated to the Bread of Life.
You can learn how to do so by watching a YouTube video at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eA-t4XxeOc

A couple of my Twitter followers asked for a New England Patriots 2016 salary cap preview. Please note that I have used Brian McFarland’s preview of the Ravens 2016 salary cap a template for this blog post.

These numbers were last updated on January 9, 2016.

January 31 update – Noted that KeShawn Martin was extended after this blog was first published on January 9th.

Quick summary – The Patriots are going to have to make several difficult decisions in the next couple of years about which young players to retain. I will presume that the 2016 salary cap will be $154 million. Given that we are about 2 months away from the start of the 2016 League Year (4PM, March 9) this preview may be premature so I plan to update this later this year as we come close to the start of the 2016 League Year.

In order to keep these blog posts relatively short I had to break up this preview into 3 pieces.
The first blog explains my projections for the 2016 Patriots adjusted salary cap number. This post projects what will happen with the Patriots unrestricted free agents, the players on the offensive side of the ball and the special teamers. The third blog will project what will happen with the defensive players.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (UFAs)
The following 9 Patriots are Unrestricted Free Agents (UFAs) and will be free to sign with other teams if they haven’t re-signed with the Patriots before Free Agency begins on March 9th at 4:00 p.m.:

LB – Dekoda Watson ($585,000 salary, $34,412 cap)
OL – Ryan Wendell ($2,406,240 cap)
CB – Tarell Brown ($2,000,000 cap)
WR – Brandon Gibson ($671,240 cap)
DT – Akiem Hicks ($1,542,000 salary, $1,259,588 cap)
RB – LeGarette Blount ($962,122 cap)
RB – Stephen Jackson ($970,000 salary, $114,117 cap)
S – Nate Ebner ($690,390 cap)
S – Tavon Wilson ($1,348,297 cap)

The Patriots do not have any UFAs that must be re-signed. 4 UFAs (Wendell, Brown, Gibson, Blount) are currently on IR. There is no chance that any of the nine UFAs will be given the franchise tag.

1/9 projections on what will happen with the 10 UFAs
LB – Dekoda Watson – signed to a Minimum Salary Benefit deal
OL – Ryan Wendell – either signs with another team or retires
CB – Tarell Brown – signed to a similar deal in 2016 but since incentives are now NLTBE a smaller cap hit
WR – Brandon Gibson – Signed to a Minimum Salary Benefit deal
WR – KeShawn Martin – Signed to a small two-year incentive-laden deal – Done
DT – Akiem Hicks – signs with another team in the hopes of more playing time
RB – LeGarette Blount – signs with the Patriots to another $1 million deal.
RB – Stephen Jackson – Retires
S – Nate Ebner – Signs a Minimum Salary Benefit deal and competes for a roster spot during training camp
S – Tavon Wilson – Signs with another team

I am now going to examine by position the most likely 2016 salary cap consequences for the player.

Background information – The CBA says that “a Rookie Contract for a Drafted Rookie may not be renegotiated, amended or altered in any way until after the final regular season game of the player’s third contract year” which means that the contracts of the Patriots drafted in 2014 or 2015 can not be redone at all during the 2016 season. This affects Dominique Easley, Jimmy Garoppolo, Bryan Stork, James White, Tyler Gaffney, Malcom Brown, Jordan Richards, Geneo Grissom, Trey Flowers, Tre’ Jackson, Shaq Mason, Joe Cardona, A.J. Derby and Darryl Roberts. The CBA also says that 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” which means that David Andrews’ contract can not be redone during the 2016 season.

More background information – The 2016 League Year starts at 4PM, March 9th. By the time the 2016 League Year the player with the 51st highest cap number will have a salary of $600,000. Am presuming that the Patriots will tender all of the ERFAs (Exclusive Rights Free Agents).

The first number after the player is their 2016 salary cap number. The second number is the year that the player is signed through.

QBs (2): Tom Brady ($15M, 2017 ); Jimmy Garoppolo ($950,154, 2017)

Per the CBA Jimmy Garoppolo’s contract can not be touched until after the 2016 season so his 2016 salary cap number will remain at $950,154 – a bargain price for a backup quarterback. Like Jimmy Garoppolo Tom Brady is signed through the 2017 season.

In the past the Patriots and Tom Brady have reached extensions when he has two years left on his deal. Given how Tom Brady’s willingness to play at a discount price for such an elite quarterback the most likely scenario is that Brady plays out the 2016 season at his $15 million cap number, which is currently the 19th highest cap number for a quarterback in 2016. Brady will move up the ranking to 16th after Peyton Manning, Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick are released by their current teams. There is a small possibility that the Patriots reach an 3-year extension with Brady keeping him with the team through the 2020 season. Such a deal could lower Brady’s salary to $1 million while giving him a signing bonus. Any extension with Brady would likely lower his 2016 cap number by a couple of million dollars

RBs (4): Brandon Bolden ($1,263,125, 2016); Dion Lewis ($1.0875M, 2017 ); James White ($699,272, 2017 ); Tyler Gaffney ($600K, 2017);

Per the CBA the contracts of James White and Tyler Gaffney can not be touched until after the 2016 season so their 2016 salary cap number will remain the same.

Since Dion Lewis just signed an extension and is coming off a season-ending injury, can’t imagine that his deal will be touched this year so he will remain a bargain. Please note that as Dion Lewis is active for more games than he was in 2015 (7) his salary cap number will go up by $12,500 as he earns a NLTBE (Not Likely to Be Earned) 46-man active roster bonus.

I fully expect Brandon Bolden to play the 2016 season on his current deal and to reach a deal with the Patriots soon after the 2016 season. If Brandon Bolden is active for all 16 games during the 2016 season his salary cap number will go up by $21,875 as he earns a NLTBE (Not Likely to Be Earned) 46-man active roster bonus.

The Patriots will need to reserve a total of $134,375 just in case both Lewis and Bolden are active for 16 games.

WRs (6): Danny Amendola ($7,329,166,2017); Julian Edelman ($4,421,875,2017); Brandon Lafell ($3.675M, 2016); Aaron Dobson ($1,090,845, 2016); Chris Harper ($525K, 2016); Boyce ($525K)

Expect that Chris Harper will be competing for a roster spot during training camp. But if cut before then Harper would leave no dead money on the cap while not creating any cap space since it is very likely that Harper will not have the 51 highest salary cap numbers therefore his $525K salary would not count against the cap. While waiving Dodson creates little cap space ($272,505 total) I expect him to be waived before the start of training camp, probably in March so as to avoid the possibility of him getting injured.

Expect that Josh Boyce will be tendered as an ERFA and that he will compete for a roster spot during training camp. If cut Boyce would leave no dead money on the cap while not creating any cap space since it is very likely that Boyces will not have the 51 highest salary cap numbers therefore his $525K salary would not count against the cap.

After missing 7 games during the 2015 season I expect Julian Edelman to play the 2016 season without a change to his contract. Please note that as Edelman is active for more games than he was in 2015 (9) his salary cap number will go up by $46,875 as he earns a NLTBE (Not Likely to Be Earned) 46-man active roster bonus. The Patriots will need to reserve a total of $328,125 just in case Edelman is active for all 16 games during the 2016 season. Edelman has a $500,000 NLTBE incentive if one of the following four things happens in 2016:

  1. 1,057 receiving yards
  2. 70 receptions plus seven TDs
  3. 80 receptions plus 13 wins
  4. 80 receptions plus Super Bowl appearance

Given his 2015 poor season and the Patriots’ need to create cap space for the 2016 season I project Lafell to be cut before the start of the 2016 League Year. Cutting Lafell will create $2,075,000 in cap space while creating 1 million in dead money.

I project that Danny Amendola will reach another restructure with the Patriots that lowers his 2016 cap number. His 2016 cap number is currently the 24th highest among all wideouts and is close to 3 million more than Edelman’s. Since Edelman is a superior player expect Pats to attempt to lower the 3 million difference. Most likely scenario is an deal that lowers Amendola’s salary to maybe a million while giving a small signing bonus (2 to 3 million) in return. Such a deal would lower his 2016 cap number by $3 million while increasing his 2017 cap number by 1 million to $9,391,668. Another scenario would be a straight paycut. Another scenario, however unlikely, is that the Patriots completely redo Amendola’s deal by extending him while paying him a medium signing bonus ($5 to 8 million). Such an extension would lower both his 2016 and 2017 cap numbers.

TE (4): Rob Gronkowski ($6,618,750, 2019); Scott Chandler ($3.050M, 2016 ); Michael Williams ($525K, 2016); A.J. Derby ($478,013, 2018)

Per the CBA A.J. Derby’s contract can not be touched until after the 2016 season so his 2016 salary cap number will remain the same.

Expect that Michael Williams will be competing for a roster spot during training camp. But if cut before then Williams would leave no dead money on the cap while not creating any cap space since it is very likely that Williams will not have the 51 highest salary cap numbers therefore his $525K salary would not count against the cap.

Given his 2015 poor season and the Patriots’ need to create cap space for the 2016 season I project Scott Chandler to be cut before the start of the 2016 League Year. Cutting Scott Chandler will create $1,450,000 in cap space while creating 1 million in dead money.

The Patriots have until 4PM March 9th to pick up Gronkowski’s option. Fully expect them to do so. Do not expect any changes to his 2016 cap number since it is such a bargain price for one of the game’s best players.

OL (10): Nate Solder ($10,322,666, 2017); Sebastian Vollmer ($5,208,334, 2016 ); Marcus Cannon ($4,754,168, 2016); Josh Kline ($2.175M, 2017); Bryan Stork ($719,250, 2017); Tre’ Jackson ($655,935,2018); Shaq Mason ($635,881, 2018), David Andrews ($530K, 2017), Cameron Fleming ($600K, 2016), Kevin Hughes ($525K, 2016)

Per the CBA the contracts of Bryan Stork and David Andrews can not be touched until after the 2016 season so their 2016 salary cap number will remain the same. Per the CBA the contracts of Tre’ Jackson and Shaq Mason can not be touched until after the 2017 season so their 2016 salary cap number will remain the sameGiven the Patriots need to develop backup offensive tackles expect Kevin Hughes who spent the entire season on IR to be tendered as an ERFA. Also expect that Kevin Hughes will be competing for a roster spot during training camp. If cut Hughes would leave no dead money on the cap while not creating any cap space since it is very likely that Hughes will not have the 51 highest salary cap numbers therefore his $525K salary would not count against the cap.

Expect Cameron Fleming who started 5 games at right tackle and one at left tackle to be tendered as an ERFA. Also expect that Kevin Hughes will be competing for a roster spot during training camp. If cut Cameron Fleming would leave no dead money on the cap while not creating any cap space since it is very likely that he will be tied for the 51 highest salary cap number therefore his $600K salary would not count against the cap.

Since Solder’s 2016 6 million salary is fully guaranteed, there is no chance that the Patriots will release him during the 2016 season as there would be very little cap savings in doing so. Please note that as Solder is active for more games than he was in 2015 (4) his salary cap number will go up by $31,250 as he earns a NLTBE (Not Likely to Be Earned) 46-man active roster bonus. The Patriots will need to reserve a total of $375,000 just in case Edelman is active for all 16 games during the 2016 season.

Since Josh Kline signed an extension in 2015, can’t imagine that his deal will be touched this year so he will remain a bargain for an interior linemen. Please note that as Kline is active for more games than he was in 2015 (14) his salary cap number will go up by $12,500 as he earns a NLTBE (Not Likely to Be Earned) 46-man active roster bonus. The Patriots will need to reserve a total of $25,000 just in case Kline is active for all 16 games during the 2016 season.

Because he did not earn his 75% playing-time incentive Vollmer’s 2016 salary cap number of just over $5.2 million is a bargain for a starting right tackle in the league.

Project Marcus Cannon to be cut sometime during the 2016 season. The Patriots may cut him early during the 2016 League Year if they feel the need to create cap space in order to sign/extend other players. They may wait until the roster cutdowns to cut Cannon just in case they have not found a capable replacement for him. Cutting Cannon would create $3,087,500 in cap space.

ST (4): Stephen Gostkowski ($4.1M) Matthew Slater ($1,766,668); Ryan Allen ($1.7M); Joe Cardona ($587.5K)

Do not expect any changes to any of the four contracts in 2016.

My next blog will cover the defensive side of the ball.

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 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 Patscap.Com with your donation.

You can have a portion of your Amazon.Com purchases donated to the Bread of Life.
You can learn how to do so by watching a YouTube video at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eA-t4XxeOc

Previewing the New England Patriots 2016 Salary Cap (Part 1)

A couple of my Twitter followers asked for a New England Patiots 2016 salary cap preview. Please note that I have used Brian McFarland’s preview of the Ravens 2016 salary cap a template for this blog post.

These numbers were last updated on January 6, 2016.

Quick summary – The Patriots are going to have to make several difficult decisions in the next couple of years about which young players to retain. I will presume that the 2016 salary cap will be $154 million. Given that we are about 2 months away from the start of the 2016 League Year (4PM, March 9) this preview is a bit premature so I plan to update this in February after the Super Bowl.

PLAYERS UNDER CONTRACT
The Patriots presently have the following 53 players under contract for 2016 (with Cap Numbers indicated):

QBs (2): Tom Brady ($15M); Jimmy Garoppolo ($950,154)

RBs (4): Brandon Bolden ($1,263,125); Dion Lewis ($1.0875M); James White ($699,272); Tyler Gaffney ($600K);

WRs (5): Danny Amendola ($7,329,166); Julian Edelman ($4,421,875); Brandon Lafell ($3.675M); Aaron Dobson ($1,090,845); Chris Harper ($525K)

TE (4): Rob Gronkowski ($6,618,750); Scott Chandler ($3.050M); Michael Williams ($525K); A.J. Derby ($478,013)

OL (8): Nate Solder ($10,322,666); Sebastian Vollmer ($5,208,334); Marcus Cannon ($4,754,168); Josh Kline ($2.175M); Bryan Stork ($719,250); Tre’ Jackson ($655,935); Shaq Mason ($635,881), David Andrews ($530K)

DL (10): Chandler Jones ($7.799M); Jabaal Sheard ($6.8125M); Rob Ninkovich ($4.75M); Alan Branch ($2.8M); Dominique Easley ($1,991,877); Malcom Brown ($1,730,280); Chris Jones ($1.668M); Ishmaa’ily Kitchen, Geneo Grissom ($680,487); Trey Flowers ($664,733)

LBs (8): Jerod Mayo ($11.4M); Dont’a Hightower ($7.751M); Jonathan Freeney ($1,453,125); Jamie Collins($1,196,683); Jonathan Bostic($942,381); Darius Fleming ($675K); Eric Martin ($675K); Dane Fletcher ($600K)

CBs (3): Logan Ryan ($1,828,813); Leonard Johnson ($760K); Malcolm Butler ($600K); Darryl Roberts ($463,556);

S (4): Devin McCourty ($7,937,500); Patrick Chung ($3,287,500); Jordan Richards($843,534); Duron Harmon ($814.4K);

ST (4): Stephen Gostkowski ($4.1M) Matthew Slater ($1,766,668); Ryan Allen ($1.7M); Joe Cardona ($587.5K)

The above 53 players are under contract for a total Salary Cap commitment (which includes dead money from players no longer on the team) of $151,202,871.

Initial projections have estimated that the 2016 Salary Cap would see an increase of $11M, moving the Cap up to around $154M.

So, using the figure of $154M for the estimated Cap, the Patriots will initially have around $2,797,129 in Cap space.

This will be the basis for early reports on the status of the Patriots’ Salary Cap, but it’s important to keep in mind that this number is based only on the 53 players that are presently under contract and nowhere near representative of the team’s Cap with a full roster.

So, between now and March 9th at 4:00 p.m., when the new league year begins and free agency begins, the Patriots will have a lot of work to do.

PRACTICE SQUAD FREE AGENTS (FAs)
In past years, the Patriots have usually re-signed all of their Practice Squad players to contracts for the coming year. The announcement of those signed should come right after the Super Bowl.

The 9 players currently on the Practice Squad are:

RB – Montee Ball
LB – Kevin Snyder
FB – Joey Iosefa
S – Brock Vereen
G – Chris Barker
CB – Rashaan Melvin
OL – Keavon Milton
OL – Torrian Wilson
WR – DeAndre Carter

Kevin Snyder, DeAndre Carter, Joey Iosefa and Torrian Wilson will be signed to contracts with 2016 salaries equaling $450K. Based on already having a credited season in the NFL, Chris Barker and Keavon Milton would receive contracts with 2016 salaries equaling $525K. With two credited seasons Montee Ball and Brock Vereen would receive contracts with 2016 salaries equaling $600K. With three credited seasons Rashaan Melvin would receive a contract whose 2016 salary is $675K. Melvin will displace a player with a $525K salary while Ball and Vereen will displace two players with a $525K salary from the Top 51 list increasing the total cap commitment by $300K. Patriots total cap commitment after signing their nine practice squad members is $151,502,871.

2015 SALARY CAP CARRYOVER
Under the terms of the CBA, teams are now allowed to carry over excess Salary Cap space from one year to the next. As of 1/6/2016 I am projecting that the Patriots will end the 2015 season with $1.3 million in cap space. Add $1.3m to our League Cap Projection of $154m and we now have the Patriots adjusted cap as $155.3 million. Subtract Pats commitment of $151,502,871 from $155.7 million and we get about $3.8 million in cap space with 62 players on the Patriots 2016 roster.

OTHER SALARY CAP ADJUSTMENTS
WORKOUT BONUS ADJUSTMENT: All teams will have an adjustment of $561,600 (80 players times 36 workouts times $195 per workout) added to their Cap for team workout bonuses. This number is essentially the total amount of CBA mandated workout bonuses that could be earned by the players in the offseason. This amount is a debit from the Cap. Once training camp begins, this debit will be removed and the actual amount of workout bonuses earned by the players will be added onto the Cap. Add $561,600 to the Total Cap Commitment number and we get $152,064,471. Subtract $152,064,471 from $155.7 million and we get around 3.2 million in cap space.

INCENTIVE ADJUSTMENTS:The Patriots’ 2016 Cap will also see adjustments for incentives earned that didn’t count against the 2015 Cap (“Not Likely To Be Earned” incentives) that were actually earned and incentives that did count against the 2015 Cap (“Likely To Be Earned” incentives) but weren’t earned. The total of these incentive adjustments are usually not disclosed until the beginning of the 2016 league year in March. I currently project that the Patriots will get a credit of $3,388,125. my blog post that tracks the Patriots incentives to see the underlying details behind this projection. Add $3,388,125 to the prior Patriots adjusted cap number of $155.7 million and we now have our final projection of the Patriots 2016 adjusted cap number as $158,688,125. Subtract $152,064,471 from $158.7 million and we get about $6.6 million in cap space.

2011/2012 CAP ADJUSTMENT REPAYMENT: When the new CBA was agreed upon in 2011, the Salary Cap saw a reduction and, for the first few years, stagnation. Foreseeing this, the terms of the CBA allowed for teams to borrow ($3M in 2011; $1.5M in 2012) against future Caps, but forced teams to repay that amount during the 2014 through 2017 league years. The CBA left it up to the team to decide when to repay those amounts. I have been unable to determine if the Patriots borrow any cap space in 2011 or in 2012. But if they did, they will have to pay it back by the 2017 season.

AARON HERNANDEZ: While I expect the Patriots to receive a $3.25M credit for Aaron Hernandez, I expect the credit to come in the 2017 season. detailed why in this linked blog post

PROVEN PERFORMANCE ESCALATOR: The Patriots have 3 players who were drafted in the 3rd through 7th rounds of the 2013 draft who are likely to achieve the Proven Performance Escalator, thereby seeing their base salaries rise from the scheduled amount of $675K up to the (estimated) low RFA tender amount of $1.668M. Since the 2011 CBA mandated 4-year contracts for all draft picks, thus removing the player’s chance to receive the higher paying RFA tender in their 4th year, the Proven Performance Escalator was put in place to allow lower draft picks to make the equivalent of the low RFA tender if they performed well. The player’s “performance” is measured by playing time, so the escalator is earned if the player either (1) plays in 35% of offensive or defensive snaps in 2 of the player’s first 3 seasons or (2) plays in 35% of the cumulative snaps over his first 3 seasons.

The 3 Patriots who have already earned the escalator are DT Chris Jones, S Duron Harmon and CB Logan Ryan. My projected salaries of $1.668M for them are already included in the total cap commitment number of $152,357,471.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS (ERFAs)
These players must be tendered contracts of the league minimum, based on the player’s length of service in the league ($600K, $525K or $450K). Once tendered, these players are fully under the team’s control and are not free to negotiate with other teams.

The Patriots have 6 players who will become Exclusive Rights Free Agents (ERFAs) after this season

OT – Cameron Fleming ($600K)
WR – Josh Boyce ($525K)
OT – Kevin Hughes ($525K)
CB – Justin Coleman ($525K)
S – Brandon King ($525K)
LB – Rufus Johnson ($525K)

In the past, the Patriots have usually tendered all of their ERFAs who played some during the regular season. The Patriots have sometimes not tendered a player who spent the entire prior season on IR (Greg Orton – 2014 season). Tendering their 6 ERFAs will increase the Patriots total commitment by $75,000 as Cameron Fleming will displace a player with a $525K salary from the Top 51 list. Our new total cap commitment number is $152,139,471. Subtract that from our $158.7m projection for the 2016 Patriots adjusted cap number and we get about $6.5 million in cap space.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (RFAs)
These are players whose contracts have expired and who have 3 years of accrued service time. The team must tender the player with an RFA offer. Once tendered, another team can sign the player to a RFA offer sheet, but the Patriots then have 7 days to match that offer sheet and retain the player under the terms of that offer sheet. If the Patriots were to choose not to match the offer sheet, they would then receive compensation based on the level of RFA tender made to the player.

There are 3 RFA Tenders

* 1st Round Tender: allows the team to receive compensation of a 1st round – $3.586M (est)
* 2nd Round Tender: allows the team to receive compensation of 2nd round pick – $2.52M (est)
* Low Tender: allows the team to receive compensation of a draft pick equal to the round in which the player was originally drafted or the Right of First Refusal (ROFR) for an undrafted player – $1.668M (est)

Note: The 2011 CBA eliminated the “high” tender of 1st and 3rd round draft picks as compensation

The above Tender amounts are just estimates at this point. Under the terms of the CBA, the RFA Tender amounts increase at the same rate as the overall Salary Cap, with the minimum increase being 5%. An increase in the Salary Cap from $143.28M to $154M would represent a 8% increase in the Cap, so the above estimates for the RFA tenders are based on a 8% increase over the 2015 RFA tenders.

The Patriots have 4 players who are scheduled to be Restricted Free Agents (RFAs) after the 2015 season.

DT – Sealver Siliga (undrafted)
FB – James Develin (undrafted)
CB – Rashaan Melvin (undrafted)
WR – Brian Tyms (undrafted)
OT – LaAdrian Waddle (undrafted)
Over the years, the Patriots have tendered some of their RFAs and non-tendered others with the hopes of re-signing them to cheaper 1- or 2-year deals with a small signing bonus and veteran minimum salaries. The veteran minimum salary for Waddle, Develin and Siliga for 2016 is $760K. The minimum salary for Melvin and Tyms is $675K.

It is possible that the Patriots will not tender all 5 of the above RFAs. If the Patriots do tender a RFA, I expect it to be Waddle at the lowest level which should be around $1.668 million.

Keeping in mind, though, that RFA/ERFA tenders are not guaranteed, so just because a player is tendered (as either as a RFA or ERFA) that is no guarantee that the player will ultimately make the final 53-man roster.

PROJECTED ADJUSTED TEAM CAP AND RULE OF 51 SALARY CAP COMMITMENT

Based on all of the above, I am projecting that the Patriots will have an adjusted Team Salary Cap of $158.7M. The team’s adjusted Cap consists of the projected league-wide Salary Cap of $154M, plus the carryover of the 2015 excess Cap space of $1.3M (estimated), and incentive/Cap repayment adjustments (estimated $3.4M).

So, for the purposes of this projection – and presenting the worst place scenario as the starting point – if the team signs and tenders all of their practice squad players and ERFAs and prior to the team making any other roster moves (releases or retirements) or the restructure of any contracts, the team will have 68 players under contract.

During the offseason, though, when rosters can balloon to up to 90 players, only the highest 51 Salary Cap numbers (and all 2016 signing bonus prorations and all dead money from released players) are counted for Salary Cap purposes.

As such, the Patriots’ estimated Rule of 51 number – again, if they sign all 10 practice squad players and tender all 6 ERFAs would be a Cap commitment of just over $152.1M

Estimates
2016 Cap-154m
2015 Carryover-1.3m
2016 Adjustments-3.4m
2016 Pats adjusted cap- 158.7m
Cap Commitment (68 players)-152.1m
Space=6.6m

That would leave the Patriots projected 2016 cap number at $6.6M under their projected adjusted cap number. They will likely release some players and restructure some contracts in order to create more cap space. I will talk about those moves along with discussing the players who will become free agents in 2016/2017 in Part 2.

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 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 Patscap.Com with your donation.

You can have a portion of your Amazon.Com purchases donated to the Bread of Life.
You can learn how to do so by watching a YouTube video at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3eA-t4XxeOc

Customizing the 2016 NFL calendar for the New England Patriots.

Customizing the 2016 NFL calendar for the best team of the NFL salary cap era – the New England Patriots.

January 4 – Clubs could start signing free agent players for the 2016 season. In 2015 Patriots signed Rufus Johnson, Dion Lewis, and Antonio Johnson to 2015 contracts

January 4 – Patriots may renegotiate or extend the rookie contract of a drafted rookie who was selected in the 2013 NFL Draft (Jamie Collins, Aaron Dobson, Logan Ryan, Duron Harmon and Chris Jones). Any permissible renegotiated or extended player contract will not be considered a rookie contract, and will not be subject to the rules that limit rookie contracts.

January 4 – Patriots may renegotiate or extend the rookie contract of a undrafted rookie who was not selected in the 2014 NFL Draft (Malcolm Butler). Any permissible renegotiated or extended player contract will not be considered a rookie contract, and will not be subject to the rules that limit rookie contracts

January 10-11 – Patriots Assistant coaches like Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia may be interviewed for head coaching positions through the conclusion of the Wild Card games.

January 16 – The Patriots hosted the Kansas City Chiefs at 4:35 PM

January 18 – Deadline for college players that are underclassmen to apply for special eligibility. A list of players who are accepted into the NFL Draft will be sent to clubs on January 22.

January 24 – AFC and NFC Championship Games

January 31 – Deadline for NFL clubs to try out and negotiate with CFL players whose 2015 contracts are due to expire at 12 noon, New York time, on February 9

February 7 – Super Bowl 50

February 8 – Waiver system begins for 2015

February 9 – Beginning at 12 noon, New York time, NFL clubs could sign players whose 2015 CFL contracts have expired. Players under contract to a CFL club for the 2016 season or who have an option for the 2016 season are not eligible to be signed.

February 16 – First day that the Patriots could designate a Franchise or Transition Player.

March 1 – Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for Patriots to designate a Franchise or Transition Player. Can’t imagine that the Patriots will tag any of the following
Watson, Dekoda
Brown, Tarell
Wendell, Ryan
Gibson, Brandon
Hicks, Akiem
Blount, LeGarette
Jackson, Stephen
Ebner, Nate
Wilson, Tavon

March 7-9 – Patriots were permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with the certified agents of players who would become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2015 contracts at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 9. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 9

4PM March 9 (End of 2015 League Year) – Deadline for the New England Patriots to exercise options for Rob Gronkowski, Jerod Mayo and Alan Branch. Gronkowski’s $6 million option is for the 2016/2017/2018/2019 years. If Gronk’s option is not picked up, he can not get the franchise tag. Mayo’s option is for 2016 including a $4 million first day of the 2016 league year roster bonus. Branch’s option is for the 2016 season. Branch was due a $400,000 roster bonus.

March 9 – Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, the Patriots must submit a Minimum Salary Tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2015 contracts and who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agency credit (Cameron Fleming – $600,000; Josh Boyce – $525,000; Justin Coleman – $525,000; Kevin Hughes – $525,000; Rufus Johnson – $525,000; Brandon King – $525,000).

March 9 – Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must submit qualifying offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts and to whom they desire to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation. James Develin, Brian Tyms, Sealver Siliga, and LaAdrian Waddle are scheduled to become RFAs.

March 9The use of the Top 51 rule Begins. All clubs had to have been their 2015 adjusted cap number prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time. The 2015 League cap is projected to be $154,000,000. In my .tracking incentives blog I explain why I think that the 2016 Patriots adjusted cap will be about $4 million more than the League Cap.

March 9 – All 2015 player contracts expired at 4:00 p.m., New York time

March 9 – Clubs will receive a personnel notice that will include all transactions submitted to the league office during the period between 4:00 p.m., New York time, and 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 9

March 9 – Trading period for 2016 begins at 4:00 p.m., New York time, after expiration of all 2015 contracts

March 9, 4PM – After 4PM March 9 Patriots can apply the June 1 release designation to no more than two players. The player’s cap hit will remain the same until June 2nd when his 2016 salary and any unearned LTBE incentives would come off the books

March 13, 4PM – $500,000 of Jabaal Sheard’s $4 million salary becomes fully guaranteed.

March 20 through March 23 – NFL Annual Meeting. It will be during this meeting that the compensatory picks will be announced. The compensatory pick guru @nickkorte projects that the Patriots will receive a 3rd round pick (Darrelle Revis), 5th round pick (Vince Wilfork), 6th round pick (Shane Vereen) and 7th round pick (Akeem Ayers). Teams are limited to receiving four compensatory picks.

April 15 – Marcus Cannon had to weigh no more than 350 pounds on April 15 in order to earn a $30,000 weight clause.April 20All 32 NFL teams will be charged $561,600 on their caps to cover offseason workout bonus. $195 per workout times 80 players times 36 workouts equals $561,600. The Patriots offseason workout program begins.

April 22 – Deadline for Patriots to sign Restricted Free Agents to offer sheets

April 28 – April 30 – 2015 NFL Draft, Chicago, Illinois
OvertheCap.Com’s Nick Korte projects that the Patriots will receive a 3rd round pick (Darrelle Revis), 5th round pick (Vince Wilfork), 6th round pick (Shane Vereen) and 7th round pick (Akeem Ayers). Teams are limited to receiving four compensatory picks. The Patriots received the Houston Texans’ 2016 7th round pick as part of the Ryan Mallett trade. The Patriots lost their 2016 first round pick as part of their punishment for violations of the NFL Policy on Integrity of the Game and Enforcement of Competitive Rules relating to the use of under-inflated footballs in the 2014 AFC Championship Game and their failure to cooperate in the subsequent investigation. As of January 31 2016 the Patriots will enter the 2016 draft with 11 draft picks
First round: Taken away by the NFL
1. Second round: Own pick
2. Third round: Own pick
3. Third round: Compensatory pick for loss of Darrelle Revis. 97th overall
4. Fourth round: Own pick
5. Fifth round: Traded to the Texans as part of the KeShawn Martin trade
6. Fifth round: Compensatory pick for loss of Vince Wilfork.
7. Fifth round: Acquired from the Texans as part of the KeShawn Martin trade
8. Sixth round: Traded to the Bears for Jon Bostic
9. Sixth round: Compensatory pick for loss of Shane Vereen.
10. Seventh round: Texans – acquired as part of the Ryan Mallett trade
11.Seventh round: Own pick
11.Seventh round: Compensatory pick for loss of Akeem Ayers.

April 30 – Patriots can start signing undrafted players.

April 30 – Patriots can start signing their drafted players. Because of the Top 51 rule signing the 2015 Patriots draft class took up $1,549,325 in cap space. Therefore, it seems safe to project that the Patriots will need between $800,000 and $1 million in cap space to sign its 2016 draft picks. I attempt to explain the rookie pool and its impact on the Patriots 2015 salary cap in this blog post. Please refer to it if you have any questions.

June 1 – For any Patriot removed from the club’s roster or whose contract is assigned via waivers or trade on or after June 1, any unamortized signing bonus amounts for future years will be included fully in team salary at the start of the 2017 League Year. These Patriots are currently signed past the 2016 season so they would be affected by the June 1 amortization rule (Tom Brady, Jerod Mayo, Rob Gronkowski, Ryan Allen, Stephen Gostkowski, Danny Amendola, Devin McCourty, Julian Edelman, Malcom Brown, Jordan Richards, Patrick Chung, Dominique Easley, Joe Cardona, David Andrews, Jimmy Garoppolo, Nate Solder, Duron Harmon, Bryan Stork, James White, Cameron Fleming, Dion Lewis, Josh Kline, Jordan Richards, Geneo Grissom, Trey Flowers, Tre’ Jackson, James White Wells, A.J. Derby, Darryl Roberts and Shaq Mason)

June 1 – Deadline for prior club to send “June 1 Tender” to its unsigned Unrestricted Free Agents. If the player has not signed a contract with a club by July 22 or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later, he may negotiate or sign a contract from that date until the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, at 4:00 p.m., New York time, only with his prior club.

June 1 – Marcus Cannon has to weigh no more than 345 pounds on June 1 in order to earn a $35,000 weight clause.

July 15 – Marcus Cannon has to weigh no more than 340 pounds on July 15 in order to earn a $35,000 weight clause.

July 22 – Signing Period ends for unrestricted Free Agents to whom a “June 1 Tender” was made by prior club. After this date and until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, prior club has exclusive negotiating rights.

July 22 – Signing period ends for Transition Players with outstanding tenders. After this date and until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the Tuesday following the 10th weekend of the regular season, prior club has exclusive negotiating rights.

September 9At 12:00 a.m., New York time, the Top 51 Rule expires for all NFL Clubs

You can follow me on Twitter at @patscap.

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The following tables attempt to show the current roster status of the 72 Patriots who were on the Patriots roster the day of Super Bowl XLIX. This is as of December 20, 2015.

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

Below is a summary.

53 man roster 53
53 man roster 30
Signed with Another Team 7
IR 6
Cut 6
Traded 2
PUP 1
Retired 1
IR 10
Cut 4
53 man roster 3
Signed with Another Team 1
Unsigned 1
Practice Squad 9
Cut 6
Retired 1
Practice Squad 1
IR 1
Grand Total 72
53 man roster 31
IR 10
PUP 1
Signed with Another Team 8
Retired 2
Traded 2
Unsigned 1
Cut 16
Practice Squad 1