A fellow capologist, Jay Hurley, wrote about how Week 1 guarantees will impact the 49ers salary cap. It was a such informative piece that I decided to customize it for the New England Patriots.
The defending Super Bowl Champions will cut down to their final roster in less than three weeks. When the 53-man roster is set at that point, it will likely not be completely finalized. We will see roster moves in the days leading up to Week 1, and there could be a flurry of roster moves immediately after Week 1 wraps.
The reason for that latter prediction is due to NFL rules regarding veteran contracts. Generally speaking, NFL contracts are viewed as not guaranteed, barring some additional negotiation between player and team. However, once the regular season starts, certain salaries become fully guaranteed for that season.
Under the terms of the CBA, if a player has four or more years of accrued service, if he is on the team’s Week 1 roster, his base salary for that season becomes fully guaranteed. It does not guarantee future salaries, but it guarantees money owed that year. A player accrues a season’s worth of service when he is on the 53-man roster, IR or PUP list for at least six regular season games.
The best example of this in recent years has been the Patriots adding and dropping of tight end Matthew Mulligan in 2013. He was signed on September 3rd, released on September 5th and re-signed the Tuesday after Week 1 Monday Night Football game. The player gets a 25 percent salary guarantee if on the roster after Week 1.
This is mostly notable for veteran players. For example, Derek Cox was on the Patriots roster this offseason. If the team is interested in re-signing him, the Patriots will likely wait until after Week 1, when he no longer gets the full salary guarantee. A veteran minimum is not a crazy amount of money, but if you don’t see the player as a definite starter, there is a chance he will be released later in the year for another roster issue. Waiting until after Week 1 allows for more flexibility
I thought it was time to take a look at all the Patriots that will have their 2015 salary become fully guaranteed when Week 1 hits. First up, we have a list of vested veterans (4+ years of accrued service). Some had parts of their salary guaranteed at signing or on a particular date, and that information has been included in parentheses.
All of these salaries are already factored into the salary cap, so these are not new impacts to the Patriots existing salary cap space.
QB Tom Brady – $8 million
TE Rob Gronkowski – $4.75 million (the $4.75 million was guaranteed for injury at signing and became fully guaranteed at the start of the 2015 League Year)
LT Nate Solder – $7.438 million (Solder’s salary became fully guaranteed at the start of the 2015 League Year)
RT Sebastian Vollmer – $2.25 million
LB Jerod Mayo – $1.5 million (the $1.5 million was fully guaranteed at signing)
S Devin McCourty – $2.5 million (the $2.5 million was fully guaranteed at signing)
DE Rob Ninkovich – $1.5 million (the $1.5 million was fully guaranteed at signing)
WR Julian Edelman – $2.25 million (2 million became fully guaranteed at the start of the 2015 League Year)
DE Jabaal Sheard – $1,000,000 (the one million was fully guaranteed at signing)
K Stephen Gostkowski – $1.8 million (the $1.8 million was fully guaranteed at signing)
WR Brandon Lafell – $1.8 million
WR Danny Amendola – $1.25 million
OT Marcus Cannon – $1.2 million
Ryan Wendell – $1 million
TE Scott Chandler – $1.2 million
DT Alan Branch – $1.2 million
S Patrick Chung – $1,000,000 (the one million was fully guaranteed at signing)
ST Matthew Slater- $1,000,000 (the one million was fully guaranteed at signing)
TE Matthew Hoomanawanui – $800,000
CB Robert McClain – $800,000 ($150,000 fully guaranteed at signing)
RB LaGarrette Blount – $750,000
LB Jonathan Freeney – $850,000
LB Dane Fletcher – $585,000
DT Antonio Johnson – $585,000
Three players also have roster bonuses that they will earn Week 1 for making the 53-man roster.
CB Tarrell Brown – $100,000
RB Travaris Cadet – $50,000
This next group of players have some or all of their base salaries that are already fully guaranteed as part of their rookie deals
DE Chandler Jones – $752,284 of $1,504,568 salary fully guaranteed
DT Dominique Easley – $751,980
DT Malcom Brown – $435,000
QB Jimmy Garoppolo – $250,000 of $578,359 salary fully guaranteed.
S Jordan Richards – $199,700 of $435,000 salary fully guaranteed.
WR Chris Harper – $5,000 of $435,000 salary fully guaranteed
This next group of players received roster bonuses earlier this offseason.
RT Sebastian Vollmer – $1,000,000
RB LaGarrette Blount – $100,000
TE Michael Hoomanawanui – $300,000
You can follow me on Twitter at @patscap.
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