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Since a good number of the 2015 Patriots have incentives in their contracts, thought that it was necessary to discuss incentives and their impact on the 2015 Patriots salary cap on this blog. I like to thank JR4 and PatsWickedPissah, fellow PatsFans.com posters, for their help in creating the 2014 version of this blog post.

I consider the following the best explanation of how the LTBE/NTLBE incentives work. I forgot where I got it from.

LTBE bonuses count against the team’s salary cap in the year that they are scheduled to be earned, NLTBE bonuses do not. 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 2015 cap adjustments at the NFLPA site. The teams with negative cap adjustments had most likely earned more NLTBE incentives in 2014 than they did not earn LTBE incentives. For salary cap nerds, at the bottom of this post will be my attempt to reverse engineer the 2015 Patriots cap adjustment figure of ($5,143,970)

As of June 10, 2015 11AM, the Patriots have $3,917,500 in LTBE incentives counting against their 2015 cap.

  • Alan Branch’s weight bonus – $400,000
  • Marcus Cannon’s weight bonus – $100,000
  • Travaris Cadet’s 53-man roster bonus – $50,000
  • Joe Cardona’s 53-man roster bonus – $17,500
  • Brandon Lafell’s receptions incentive – $300,000
  • Julian Edelman’s receptions incentive – $500,000
  • Brandon Spikes’ playing time incentive – $200,000. Spikes played in 46.4% of the snaps in 2014
  • Michael Hoomanawanui’s playing time incentive – $200,000. Hoomanawanui played in 82% of the snaps in 2014
  • Bradley Fletcher’s playing time incentive – $650,000. Fletcher played in 90% of the snaps in 2014
  • Sebastian Vollmer’s 80% playing-time incentive – Vollmer played in 89% of the snaps in 2014
  • Ryan Wendell’s playing-time incentive – $800,000. Wendell played in 77% of the snaps in 2014.
  • Matt Slater’s Pro Bowl incentive – $100,000
  • Stephen Gostkowski’s Pro Bowl incentive – $50,000
Amount Event Likelihood
$400,000 Alan Branch’s weight bonus Probable
$100,000 Marcus Cannon’s weight bonus Probable
$50,000 Travaris Cadet’s 53 man roster bonus Possible
$17,500 Joe Cardona’s 53 man roster bonus Probable
$300,000 Lafell’s receptions Probable
$500,000 Edelman’s receptions Probable
$100,000 Slater making the Pro Bowl Probable
$50,000 Gostkowski making the Pro Bowl Probable
$800,000 Wendell’s playing-time incentive Not Likely
$200,000 Hoomanawanui’s playing-time incentives Possible
$650,000 Fletcher’s playing-time incentives Possible
$200,000 Spikes’ playing time incentives Probable
$750,000 Vollmer’s 80% playing-time incentive Probable
Not Likely $800,000
Possible $900,000
Probable $2,425,000
Total $4,125,000

As of June 0, 2015 11AM, the Patriots have $6,200,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses that are now counting against their 2015 cap.

  • Jabaal Sheard’s $62,500 46-man active roster which totals $1,000,000 since Sheard played in 16 games in 2014
  • Sebastian Vollmer’s $62,500 46-man active roster which totals $937,500 since Vollmer played in 15 games in 2014
  • Julian Edelman’s $46,875 46-man active roster which totals $656,250 since Edelman played in 14 games in 2014
  • Devin McCourty’s $31,250 46-man active roster which totals at $500,000 since McCourty played in 16 games in 2014
  • Rob Ninkovich’s $25,000 46-man active roster which totals $400,000 since Ninkovich played in 16 games in 2014
  • Brandon Lafell’s $25,000 46-man active roster which totals $400,000 since he played in 16 games in 2014
  • Danny Amendola’s $31,250 46-man active roster which totals $500,000 since Amendola played in 16 games in 2014
  • Bradley Fletcher’s $18,750 46-man active roster which totals $281,250 since Fletcher played in 15 games in 2014
  • Marcus Cannon’s $15,625 46-man active roster which totals $250,000 since Cannon played in 16 games in 2014
  • Robert McClain’s $15,000 46-man active roster which totals $240,000 since McClain played in 16 games in 2014
  • Alan Branch’s $25,000 46-man active roster which totals $200,000 since Branch played in 8 games in 2014
  • Patrick Chung’s $12,500 46-man active roster which totals $200,000 since Patrick played in 16 games in 2014
  • Brandon Bolden’s $12,500 46-man active roster which totals $200,000 since Bolden played in 16 games in 2014
  • Ryan Wendell’s $12,500 46-man active roster which totals $175,000 since Wendell played in 14 games in 2014
  • Michael Hoomanawanui’s $6,250 46-man active roster which totals $100,000 since the Hooman played in 16 games in 2014
  • LeGarrette Blount’s $6,250 46-man active roster which totals $100,000 since Blount played in 16 games in 2014
  • Dane Fletcher’s $10,000 46-man active roster which maxes at 10 games, $60,000 since Fletcher played in 16 games in 2014

From 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” which means that the Patriots will lose cap space as soon as Vollmer, Edelman, Fletcher, Branch, or Wendell play in more games in 2015 than they did in 2014. I am going to use Alan Branch as an example. He has a $25,000’s 46-man active roster bonus. Its LTBE amount is 200,000 or 25,000 times 8 (the amount of games he played in 2014). So after each game over 8 games that he plays the Patriots will lose $25,000 in cap space.

Branch Wendell Edelman Fletcher Vollmer Weekly Total Running Total
Week 10 $25,000 $25,000 $25,000
Week 11 $25,000 $25,000 $50,000
Week 12 $25,000 $25,000 $75,000
Week 13 $25,000 $25,000 $100,000
Week 14 $25,000 $25,000 $125,000
Week 15 $25,000 $25,000 $150,000
Week 16 $25,000 $12,500 $46,875 $84,375 $234,375
Week 17 $25,000 $12,500 $46,875 $18,750 $62,500 $165,625 $400,000

So from the above table the Patriots will need to enter the 2015 regular season with a $400,000 cushion to cover these 46-man active roster bonuses.

As of June 10, 2015 11AM the Patriots have $1,000,000 in NLTBE incentives that I consider easily reachable by the player.

Amount Event Likelihood
$25,000 Wendell being on the 46-man roster for all 16 games Probable
$93,750 Edelman being on the 46-man roster for all 16 games Probable
$200,000 Branch being on the 46-man roster for all 16 games Probable
$62,500 Vollmer being on the 46-man roster for all 16 games Probable
$18,750 Fletcher being on the 46-man roster for all 16 games Probable
$300,000 Mayo making the Pro Bowl Possible
$250,000 Vollmer making the Pro Bowl Possible
$750,000 Amendola’s receptions incentives Not Likely
$750,000 Branch’s playing-time incentives Likely
$250,000 Cannon’s 80% playing-time incentive Not Likely
$200,000 Hoomanawanui’s 40% playing-time incentives Not Likely
$760,000 McClain’s playing-time incentives Not Likely
$350,000 Fletcher’s playing-time incentives Not Likely
$1,000,000 Vollmer’s 90% playing-time incentive Probable
Not Likely $3,060,000
Possible $550,000
Likely $750,000
Probable and will count against 2015 cap $400,000
Probable and will count against 2016 cap $1,000,000
Total $5,760,000

Want to mention these incentives since any reached NLTBE incentives in 2015 will likely lower the Patriots 2016 adjusted cap number. I am trying to guess at how the Patriots will handle having $5.9 million in NTLBE incentives. If they do not leave a big enough cushion for them, the Patriots could end up with an adjusted cap number that is lower than the actual cap number. Do the Patriots leave a 100% cushion? 0% cushion? I am presuming that the Patriots do leave themselves a 100% cushion or $400,000 for the NLTBE 46-man active roster bonuses and a $1 million for the other NLTBE incentives. You can see from the above tables that there are some LTBE incentives that are not likely to be reached in 2015 lessening the need to have a cushion for 100% of the NLTBE incentives. Summing up, I guesstimate that the Patriots would like to leave themselves a 1.4 million cushion at the start of the regular season just to cover reached NLTBE incentives.

As promised above here is my attempt to figure out the 2015 Patriots cap adjustment number of $5,143,970 was reached.
Negative means that the player reached a NLTBE incentive
Positive means that the player did not earned a LTBE incentive

  • Edelman’s receptions -$500,000
  • Gostkowski’s Pro Bowl honor -$50,000
  • Lafell’s receptions -$300,000
  • Vollmer’s playing time incentive -$1,000,000
  • Wilfork’s playing time incentive -$3,000,000
  • Wendell’s 46-man active roster bonus $25,000
  • Edelman’s 46-man active roster bonus $62,500
  • Hoomanawanui’s playing-time incentive $200,000

Totals (-$4,562,500)
which was $581,470 more than the actual adjustment figure of (-$5,143,970).

It is not a coincidence that the best team of the salary cap era ended the 2014 season with $5,258,054 in cap space. The Patriots definitely plan to have a cushion for the reached NLTBE incentives.

You can follow me on Twitter at @patscap.

A call for a donation

A long-time family friend, my youngest sister’s best friend, is on the board of directors of a soup kitchen and food pantry in Malden, Massachusetts that serves over 400 low-income and homeless families per month. I am asking that if you have found my salary cap pages/blogs useful that if you are able to do so, please make a donation to the Bread of Life soup kitchen/food pantry. Their address is:
Attn: Mea Quinn Mustone
Bread of Life
54 Eastern Avenue, Rear
Malden, MA 02148
Please mention this website with your donation. Thanks so much!!!

2015 New England Patriots Dead Money as of June 8, 2015

The purpose of this blog is to tracking the defending Super Bowl Champions New England Patriots 2015 dead money

  1. Darrelle Revis- $5,000,000 (prorated signing bonus). I write more about Darrelle Revis in another blog post.
  2. Logan Mankins – $4,000,000 (prorated signing bonus plus offseason workout bonus money)
  3. Kyle Arrington – $3,250,000 (prorated signing bonus plus offseason workout bonus money)
  4. Vince Wilfork – $866,667 (prorated signing bonus)
  5. Josh Boyce – $238,500 (prorated signing bonus). Josh Boyce was waived on August 30, 2014.
  6. Armond Armstead – $143,222 (The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin was the first to report Armond’s 2015 injury settlement amount)
  7. Jake Bequette – $134,950 (prorated signing bonus). Jake Bequette was waived on August 30, 2014.
  8. Jon Halapio – $92,235 (prorated signing bonus)
  9. Jemea Thomas – $69,834 (prorated signing bonus)
  10. Jeremy Gallon – $35,694 (prorated signing bonus)
  11. Michael Buchanan – $26,806 (prorated signing bonus)
  12. Brandon Spikes – $25,000 (prorated signing bonus)
  13. Steve Beauharnais – $23,796 (prorated signing bonus)
  14. Alfonzo Dennard – $14,462 (prorated signing bonus)
  15. Cameron Gordon – $10,000 (prorated signing bonus)
  16. Garrett Gilbert – $10,000 (offseason workout bonus)
  17. Stephen Houston – $5,000 (Stephen Houston was waived by the New England Patriots on August 31, 2014 after receiving a $7,500 signing bonus on May 10. The $5,000 is the 2015 dead money hit that resulted from his waiver)Devin Gardner – $5,000 (Devin Gardner was waived by the New England Patriots on May 18, 2015 after receiving a $5,000 signing bonus on May 8.
  18. Roy Finch – $3,334 (Roy Finch was waived by the New England Patriots on August 31, 2014 after receiving a $5,000 signing bonus on May 10. The $3,334 is the 2015 dead money hit that resulted from his waiver)
  19. Shamiel Gary – $3,334 (Shamiel Gary was waived by the New England Patriots on August 31, 2014 after receiving a $5,000 signing bonus on May 10. The $3,334 is the 2015 dead money hit that resulted from his waiver)
  20. Travis Hawkins – $3,334 (Travis Hawkins was waived by the New England Patriots on August 31, 2014 after receiving a $5,000 signing bonus on May 10. The $3,334 is the 2015 dead money hit that resulted from his waiver
  21. Justin Jones – $3,334 (Justin Jones was waived by the New England Patriots on August 31, 2014 after receiving a $5,000 signing bonus on May 10. The $3,334 is the 2015 dead money hit that resulted from his waiver
  22. Asa Watson – $2,000 (Watson was waived by the New England Patriots on August 10, 2014 after receiving a $3,000 signing bonus on May 10. The $2,000 is the 2015 dead money hit that resulted from his waiver)
  23. Mark Harrison – $1,000 (prorated signing bonus)
  24. Kenbrell Thompkins – $834 (prorated signing bonus)

Total – $14,017,976

The $14,017,976 is 9.7% of the 2015 Patriots adjusted cap number of $144,578,084. The average dead money hit for the 32 NFL teams is $10,429,277 so the Patriots’ amount is about 3.6 million dollars more than the league average. The Patriots have the 8th highest dead money amount in the league. As of July 7th the Patriots have $0 dead money for 2016. 17 of 32 teams have $0 2016 dead money.
Source for Patriots numbers – myself
Source for league numbers – http://www.overthecap.com
You can follow me on Twitter at @patscap.

A call for a donation

A long-time family friend, my youngest sister’s best friend, is on the board of directors of a soup kitchen and food pantry in Malden, Massachusetts that serves over 400 low-income and homeless families per month. I am asking that if you have found my salary cap pages/blogs useful that if you are able to do so, please make a donation to the Bread of Life soup kitchen/food pantry. Their address is:
Attn: Mea Quinn Mustone
Bread of Life
54 Eastern Avenue
Rear Malden, MA 02148
Please mention this website with your donation. Thanks so much!!!

Updating my 2015 Patriots salary cap picture the first week in June.

Right now, the total Patriot 2015 cap commitments is $134,627,255. The 2015 Patriots adjusted cap number is $144,578,084. The Patriots 2015 adjusted cap number of $ 144,578,084 minus cap commitment of $134,579,872 equals $9,950,829 in cap space with 88 signed players and 3 tendered players (James Develin and Malcom Brown).

Between May 25 and the start of training camp the Patriots should reach a deal with their remaining unsigned draft pick (first round pick defensive tackle Malcom Brown). Reaching a deal with Brown will cause the Patriots to lose $799,224 in cap space.

September 5 Simultaneously with the cut-down to 53, clubs that have players in the categories of Active/Physically Unable to Perform or Active/Non-Football Injury or Illness must select one of the following options: place player on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform or Reserve/Non- Football Injury or Illness, whichever is applicable; request waivers; terminate contract; trade contract; or continue to count the player on the Active List. Please note that as Jocelyn Robichaud once pointed out in an email: “The current cap status is calculated with the top 51 earners. On the other hand, not all of these players will make the team. Thus, as the team shrinks its roster to 53 players, it will create cap room unless it keeps all of its top earners. For example, let us say that Jonathan Freeny ($850,000 in salary) does not make the team and is replaced by Geneo Grissom ($435,000 in salary). This would free $415,000 in cap room for the Patriots. If Tyler Gaffney makes the team instead of Tavaris Cadet, that would create $275,000 in cap space. If Jordan Richards makes the 53-man roster instead of Tavon Wilson, that would create $530,166 in cap space. If Fred Davis makes the 53-man roster instead of Michael Hoomanawanui,  that would create $515,000 in cap space With just 4 those roster decisions the Patriots could create over $1,735,166 in cap space when the rosters are cut down to 53 players.
September 5 Simultaneously with the cut-down to 53,Tom Brady and LeGarrette Blount’s suspensions begin.
The Patriots will receive the below credit on their 2015 salary cap depending on how Tom Brady is suspended for

  • 0 games- $0
  • 1 game – $470,588.24
  • 2 games – $941,176.47
  • 3 games – $1,411,764.71
  • 4 games – $1,882,352.94

The Patriots will receive a $44,118 credit when LeGarrette Blount’s suspension kicks in

September 6 Beginning at 12:00 p.m., New York time, clubs may establish a Practice Squad of ten players. A player is eligible if he does not have an accrued season of NFL experience. Players gain an accrued season by being on the active roster for at least six games. If a player has one accrued season, they can still be practice squad eligible if they were on the 46-man active game-day roster for less than nine regular season games. Under the new 2014 NFL rules, teams may sign no more than two players up to two accrued seasons. A player is deemed to have served a season on the practice squad if he remains on the practice squad for at least six weeks. Players are eligible to be on the practice squad for two seasons. Players can be eligible for a third practice squad season if their team maintains no less than 53 players on the active/inactive list at all times. The minimum salary for a practice squad player is $6,600. $6,600 * 10 * 17 = $1,122,000. Since the Patriots have typically pay some of their practice squad players more than the minimum and sometimes have less than 10 players on their practice squad, I will use $1.25 million for budgeting purposes. If you wish to see the list of the Patriots eligible to be placed on the 2015 practice squad please see this blog post.
September 6 Final day of preseason training camp for all clubs, as defined in CBA Article 23, Section 9.
September 9 At 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for all NFL Player Contracts, Practice Player Contracts, tender offers, and miscellaneous amounts to fit within each Club’s 2015 Salary Cap, in anticipation of the midnight expiration of the Top 51 Rule. The Patriots will need another $870,000 in cap space to pay the salaries of players 52, and 53. The Patriots typically have a $2 to $4 million cushion to replace players placed on IR and to reach injury settlements with players. Under the new CBA the Patriots have placed the following amounts of players on Injured Reserve or NFI (Non Football Injury)

  • 2011 – 12
  • 2012 – 11
  • 2013 – 13
  • 2014 – 10

The Patriots usually sign 1 to 2 players to extensions during the regular season taking anywhere between 1 to 2 million in cap space. Based on what happened last year the Patriots will have a $1.4 million cushion for NLBE incentives that are likely to be earned in 2015.

  • Sebastian Vollmer’s $62,500 46-man active roster which totals $62,500 since Vollmer played in 15 games in 2014
  • Julian Edelman’s $46,875 46-man active roster which totals $93,750 since Edelman played in 14 games in 2014
  • Bradley Fletcher’s $18,750 46-man active roster which totals $18,750 since Fletcher played in 15 games in 2014
  • Alan Branch’s $25,000 46-man active roster which totals $200,000 since Branch played in 8 games in 2014
  • Ryan Wendell’s $12,500 46-man active roster which totals $175,000 since Wendell played in 14 games in 2014
  • Vollmer’s 90% playing-time incentive – $1,000,000

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

Current cap space – $9,950,000
Signing Malcom Brown – (-$800,000)
Players 52, 53, and practice squad (-$2,120,000) – early September
Robichaud roster effect – ($2,300,000). May create more if the Patriots release more higher-paid salaried players that I am currently expecting. – Also early September
Cushion for replacing injured players during the season (-$3,000,000) – Also early September
Cushion for reached NLTBE incentives (-$1,400,000) – Also early September
Cushion for in-season extensions (-$2,000,000) – Also early September
Credit for LeGarette Blount’s suspension ($45,000) – 1st week of regular season
Credit for Tom Brady’s suspension ($1,900,000) – 1st week of regular season

9,950,000 (Current cap space)
– 800,000 (Signing Malcom Brown)
-2,120,000 (paying for players 52, 53 and practice squad)
+2,300,000 (Robichaud roster effect)
-3,000,000 (Replacing injured players)
-1,400,000 (Cushion for reached NLTBE incentives)
-2,000,000 (Cushion for in-season extensions)
+45,000 (Blount suspension credit)
+1,900,000 (Brady suspension credit)
===========
$4,875,000

Therefore, the Patriots would probably like to enter Week 1 with about 4 to 6 million in cap space.

shows that the Patriots have about 5 million in cap space to account for any future free agent signings. That is, they could sign one free agent to a $5.585 million deal today and still account for the above contingencies

The Patriots are currently under their 2015 cap by $9.95 million if they do not cut any more veterans or renegotiate any more contracts. There are plenty of opportunities to do both, thereby opening up millions of dollars under the cap. Here are some possible ways that the Pats could free up cap space. Please note that I am NOT advocating that the Patriots do all of these salary-cap maneuvers.

1. Sign Stephen Gostkowski to a 5-year deal, $19 million deal. $5 million signing bonus for a net cap savings of $1 million. Would no longer have a $50,000 Pro Bowl bonus in his deal. Instead will increase his offseason workout bonus money from $100,000 to $150,000. This deal would make Stephen the highest paid kicker with a APY of $3.8 million.
2015
Base salary: $1.85 million (fully guaranteed)
Offseason workout: $150,000
Cap figure: $3,000,000
2016
Base salary: $1.85 million (fully guaranteed)
Offseason workout: $150,000
Cap figure: $3 million
2017
Base salary: $1.85 million (will become fully guaranteed)
Offseason workout: $150,000
Cap figure: $3 million
2018
Base salary: $3.35 million
Offseason workout: $150,000
Cap figure: $4.5 million
2019
Base salary: $4.35 million
Offseason workout: $150,000
Cap figure: $5.5 million

2.) Extend Nate Solder for a net cap savings of $4.088 million. I would use the deal struck between the Arizona Cardinals and Jared Veldheer in March of 2014 as a template. 5 year, $40 million deal. $8 million signing bonus. $500,000 each year in 46-man active roster bonuses.

  • 2015 – $8m signing bonus, $1.25m fully guaranteed salary, $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses. 3.35 million cap number
  • 2016 – $5.75 million salary. $4 million guaranteed for injury at start of deal, becomes fully guaranteed at the start of 2016 season. $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses. $7.85 million cap number
  • 2017/2018/2019 – $7.5 million salary. $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses. $9.1 million cap number.

As rich as this deal sounds, this would put Solder among the lowest paid left tackles who are NOT on a rookie contract.

3.) Waive Aaron Dobson
4.) Waive Tavon Wilson
5.) Release Michael Hoomanawanui
6.) Release Jonathan Freeny

Listing the big decisions that the New England Patriots have to make right around the start of the 2016 League Year.

  • 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
  • Nate Solder and Stephen Gostkowski – Nate Solder and Stephen Gostkowski are the two most likely candidates for a franchise tag in 2016. On October 12th, 2014 CBS Sportline’s Jason LaCanfora reported that the percentage that was used to determine the franchise tag number for offensive lineman was 9.034%. For ease of discussion, let’s use 9% for 2016. The below table lists the possible franchise tag numbers for Solder if the league cap is between $150 million and $160 million.
    League Cap Offensive Lineman Tag Number
    $150,000,000 $13,500,000
    $152,500,000 $13,750,000
    $155,000,000 $13,950,000
    $157,500,000 $14,175,000
    $160,000,000 $14,400,000

    It will cost at least $5,428,000 to tag Stephen Gostkowski in 2016. His 2015 salary would be increased by 20% to $5,328,000. Add in his $100,000 offseason workout bonus and you get $5.428 million. If Gostkowksi repeats as a Pro Bowler, add another $50,000 to his 2016 cap number making it $5,478,000.

  • The Pats will have until the start of the 2016 League to make ERFA tender offer to these potentional ERFAs (Josh Boyce, Jordan Devey, Chris Barker, Caylin Hauptmann, Jonas Gray, Joe Vellano, James Morris, Kevin Hughes,  Jonathan Krause, Justin Green, Daxton Swanson, and Rufus Johnson). The tender offer equals the minimum salary for a player with the amount of credited seasons.
  • The Pats will have until the start of the 2016 League Year to these potential RFAs (Josh Kline, James Develin, Dion Lewis, Brian Tyms, Ryan Allen, Sealver Siliga, and Darius Fleming). 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%.
  • Rob Gronkowski – The Patriots will have until the start of the 2016 League to pick up Gronkowski’s $10 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. 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/blogs useful that if you are able to do so, please make a donation to the Bread of Life soup kitchen/food pantry. Their address is:
Attn: Mea Quinn Mustone
Bread of Life
54 Eastern Avenue, Rear
Malden, MA 02148
Please mention this website with your donation. Thanks so much!!!

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

I will be using this abbreviations in this blog post.

LTBE-Likely to Be Earned
NLTBE-Not Likely to Be Earned
UFA-Unrestricted Free Agent: Free to sign with any team
RFA-Restricted Free Agent: Patriots have right to match any offer sheet
ERFA-Exclusive Rights Free Agent: Player has no outside negotiating power
UDFA – Undrafted Free Agent: A player not selected in the draft that he was eligible for.

The next four paragraphs will provide background information.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Performance Based Pay:

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

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

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

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

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

2015 New England Patriots eligible for practice squad

Starting at noon September 6 the New England Patriots can build its practice squad, which can consist of up to ten players. Not every player is eligible to be on the practice squad.

Below are the criteria for eight of the ten players:

  1. A player who has not accrued a season of NFL experience is eligible for the practice squad. (e.g. a rookie).
  2. A free agent who was active (46-man game-day roster) for fewer than nine games during their accrued season(s) is eligible for the practice squad (e.g. Steve Beauharnais).
  3. A player cannot be on a practice squad for a third season unless his team has a full 53-man roster.

Note that a player must have a minimum of six games – up from the current three games – on a Practice Squad in order for that season to count as one of the player’s three permissible seasons of Practice Squad service.

Two of the ten players can have up to two accrued seasons of free agency credit. Absent this exception, a player who has earned one or more accrued seasons would not be eligible for a Practice Squad unless the player spent fewer than nine games on a club’s 46-player active list in each of his accrued seasons. Source: http://nflcommunications.com/2014/08/19/nfl-practice-squads-expand-to-10-players/
Reminder – In order to be placed onto the Patriots practice squad, the player must first clear waivers.

This year practice squad players will be paid a minimum of $6,600 a week, an increase from $6,300 last year. $6,600 * 10 players * 17 weeks= $1,122,000.

Here is the list of all practice squad eligible Patriots on the team’s current roster and the reason why they are eligible.

  1. Chris Barker (One accrued season with less than 9 games on 46-man roster, one practice squad season)
  2. Malcolm Butler (One accrued season)
  3. Jordan Devey (One accrued season with less than 9 games on 46-man roster. One practice squad season)
  4. Dominique Easley (One accrued season)
  5. Cameron Fleming (One accrued season)
  6. Darius Fleming (One accrued season with less than 9 games on 46-man roster)
  7. Tyler Gaffney (One accrued season with less than 9 games on 46-man roster)
  8. Jimmy Garoppolo (One accrued season)
  9. Josh Kline (Two accrued seasons with one of them being less than 9 games on 46-man roster)
  10. Zach Moore (One accrued season)
  11. Sealver Siliga (Patriots must have a full 53-man roster since Siliga has played on a practice squad for two seasons)
  12. Bryan Stork (One accrued season)
  13. Brian Tyms (Two accrued seasons with one of them being less than 9 games on 46-man roster)
  14. James White (One accrued season)
  15. Joe Vellano (one accrued season. One Practice squad season)
  16. James Develin (two accrued seasons)
  17. Aaron Dobson (two accrued seasons)
  18. Ryan Allen (two accrued seasons)
  19. Jake Bequette (Two accrued seasons with less than 9 games on 46-man roster. One practice squad season)
  20. Jamie Collins (two accrued seasons)
  21. Chris Jones (two accrued seasons)
  22. Logan Ryan (two accrued seasons)
  23. Duron Harmon (two accrued seasons)
  24. Josh Boyce (One accrued season. One Practice Squad season)
  25. Jonas Gray (One accrued season. One practice squad season)
  26. James Morris (One accrued season)
  27. Daxton Swanson (One accrued season with less than 9 games on 46-man roster. One practice squad season)
  28. Malcom Brown (rookie)
  29. Jordan Richards (rookie)
  30. Geneo Grissom (rookie)
  31. Trey Flowers (rookie)
  32. Tre’ Jackson (rookie)
  33. Shaq Mason (rookie)
  34. Joe Cardona (rookie)
  35. Matthew Wells (rookie)
  36. A.J. Derby (rookie)
  37. Darryl Roberts (rookie)
  38. Xzavier Dickson (rookie)
  39. Jimmy Jean (rookie)
  40. David Andrews (rookie)
  41. Chris Harper (rookie)
  42. Brandon King (rookie)
  43. Vince Taylor (rookie)
  44. Eric Martin (two accrued seasons)
  45. Caylin Hauptmann (No accrued seasons)
  46. Jimmay Mundine (rookie)
  47. Jonathan Krause (One practice squad season)
  48. Justin Green (One practice squad season)
  49. Rufus Johnson (One practice squad season)
  50. D.J. Lynch

Players waived by Patriots in 2015 who are eligible to be placed on the practice squad

  1. Tyler Ott (No accrued seasons. No practice squad season)
  2. Deontae Skinner (One accrued season with less than 9 games on 46-man roster)
  3. Michael Buchanan (two accrued seasons)
  4. Tim Wright (two accrued seasons)
  5. Kevin Dorsey (Two accrued seasons with less than 9 games on 46-man roster.)
  6. Devin Gardner (rookie)
  7. Cameron Gordon (One accrued season)
  8. Eric Patterson (rookie)
  9. Garrett Gilbert (one practice squad season)
  10. Tim Wright (two accrued seasons)
  11. Zach D’Orazio (rookie)
  12. Logan Stokes (rookie)

With Brian McFarland’s @Ravenssalarycap permission I am using his fine work at
http://russellstreetreport.com/2014/05/06/baltimore-ravens-salary-cap/an-explanation-of-how-the-rookie-salary-cap-really-work/
as a template for this blog post.

Updated on May 5 with exact numbers as provided by Mike Reiss

Soon after the 2015 NFL draft is completed, the league will announce each team’s “Year One Rookie Allocation” (formerly known as the “Rookie Pool” or “Rookie Salary Cap”). This is an oft misunderstood number, because while it is part of the team’s Salary Cap, it does not have a dollar-for-dollar impact on the team’s overall Salary Cap.

The Rookie Salary Cap is often referred to as “a cap within a cap” because it limits the amount that teams can allocate to their rookies in the year they were drafted (and over the life of the rookies’ contracts). But, beyond that, there is a lot of confusion about the Rookie Salary Cap and exactly how it works. Even some in the media do not fully understand the mechanics of it. Some have been heard to say that it’s a totally separate pool of money that is not included in the team’s overall Cap. Others think the entire amount of the Rookie Cap is included in the team’s overall Cap, meaning that teams will need that much overall Cap space to sign their rookies.

Both of those characterizations are incorrect.

The Rookie Cap is not a separate, distinct pool, but rather, a separate calculation and there is not a dollar-for-dollar correlation between the Rookie Cap and the overall Cap. So, while all of the Salary Cap numbers of a team’s draft picks must fit under the team’s Rookie Salary Cap, very rarely will all of that amount actually impact the team’s overall Salary Cap.

The reason for these misconceptions revolves around the Rule of 51, which is contained in Article 13 of the NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Rule of 51 dictates that, from the beginning of the league year in early March until the beginning of the season, only the top 51 Salary Cap numbers and all of the pro-rata shares of bonus money for the players outside of the top 51 count toward the team’s overall Cap. All “dead money,” i.e. amounts that count against the Salary Cap for players who are no longer on the roster, counts as well.

Said a simpler way, during this period of the offseason, a team’s Rule of 51 Salary Cap number can be calculated by removing the base salaries of all players who do not fall amongst the top 51 Cap numbers.

This rule is necessary because, during the offseason, team rosters can number up to 90 players. As such, it would be impossible for teams to fit all of those players under the Cap. So, to counter this problem, the NFL has instituted the Rule of 51.

So, by way of example, there is a seven-way tie for Patriots’s 51st highest Cap number at $585,000. Chris Jones, Jake Bequette, Darius Fleming, Josh Kline, Dion Lewis, Joe Vellano, and Tim Wright all have salaries of $585,000. The 58th highest Cap number (Zach Moore) is $535,550. Because the “58th” highest Cap number doesn’t count against the Cap, Zach Moore’s base salary of $510,000 is not currently counting against the Patriots salary cap but his $25,550 in signing bonus proration does. This treatment also applies to all other players who are outside the team’s top 51 – the player’s base salary will not count but signing bonus prorations and offseason workout bonuses will.

OK, so what does this have to do with how the Rookie Cap works?

First, as way of further explanation, under the CBA of 2011, all draft picks receive 4-year contracts, generally with a signing bonus and often with minimum base salaries set for each year of the deal. While 1st and 2nd round picks may have base salaries of more than the minimum in years two through four of their deals, even those players will almost always receive the rookie minimum base salary during their first year. For 2015, the minimum base salary for a rookie is $435,000. For Salary Cap purposes, the bonus received by the player is prorated over the four years of the deal and that prorated amount is added to the base salary to create the player’s Cap number.

So, because of the low base salary and the small signing bonuses that many of the lower round draft picks receive, those draft picks will not be amongst the top 51 Cap numbers on the Patriots (Patriots had 75 signed or tendered players before the start of the 2015 draft). As such, under the Rule of 51, those players’ base salaries of $435,000 will not count against the teams overall Salary Cap and only the player’s bonus proration will count toward the team’s overall Cap.

So, how will this affect the Patriots in 2015?

As we now know, the Patriots ended up with eleven (11) draft picks in this year’s draft.

With the new CBA’s rookie wage scale, the compensation for draft picks is now basically slotted, so based on the 11 draft picks, the Patriots would likely have a Rookie Cap number of $6,647,733. The below numbers are based on reports that the rookie pool will increase by 15% this year after being essentially frozen the last three (3) years.

Those Cap numbers would breakdown as follows :

1st round (#32- Malcom Brown): $1,384,168

2nd round (#64- Jordan Richards): $674,827

3rd round (#97 – compensatory selection – Geneo Grissom) : $580,487

4th round (#101 – from Buccaneers – part of Logan Mankins trade – Trey Flowers): $574,733

4rd round (#111 – from Browns – part of 2015 draft day trade – Tre Jackson): $565,881

4th round (#131 – Shaq Mason): $545,881

5th round (#166 – from Packers – part of 2015 draft day trade – Joe Cardona Jackson): $482,383

6th round (#178 – from Buccaneers – part of Jonathan Casillas trade – Matthew Wells): $470,973

6rd round (#202 – from Browns through Ravens – part of 2015 draft day trade – A.J. Derby): $463,013

7th round (#247 – from Packers – part of 2015 draft day trade): $448,556

7th round (#253 – compensatory selection – Xzavier Dicksonr): $448,196

Presently, the Patriots ’ bottom 5 Rule of 51 Cap numbers are:

47: Antonio Johnson $595,000 ($585K base salary + 10,000 offseason workout bonus)

48: Eric Martin $595,000 ($585K base salary + 10,000 offseason workout bonus)

49: Ryan Allen $585,500 ($585K base salary + 500 signing bonus proration)

50: Cameron Fleming $585,146 ($510K base salary + $75,146 signing bonus proration)

51: Chris Jones $585,000 ($585K base salary + no bonuses)

Again, the team will need to fit all 11 of the draft picks into its $6.647M Rookie Cap, but will not need that much in overall Cap space to accommodate the signing of its draft picks.

So, based on the above numbers, only the first two (2) picks will have Cap numbers greater than Cameron Fleming’s $585,146, which is the Patriots’ 50th highest Cap number. As such, only those two will be part of the top 51 and, under the Rule of 51, will replace Cameron Fleming and Chris Jones who are currently 50th and 51st on the team’s Cap. Only Cameron Fleming ‘s $75,146 signing bonus proration will remain to count against the Salary Cap.

The Cap numbers of the remaining nine (9) draft picks will fall outside of the top 51, so the base salaries of those players, while counting against the Rookie Cap, will not count against the team’s overall Salary Cap. Only the signing bonus prorations for those players will count.

So, to calculate the exact impact of the Rookie Cap on the team’s overall Cap, the amount of the base salaries – $435K – for each of the lower 9 draft picks ($3.915M) can be deducted from the overall number of $6,647,733. Then, for the top two draft picks, while their Cap numbers do count against the overall Cap (by virtue of being part of the top 51 Cap numbers), they replace Cameron Fleming and Chris Jones so $585K of the duo’s cap numbers will be deducted from the team’s overall Cap.

When those three numbers ($3.915M, $585K and $585K) are deducted from the team’s Rookie Cap ($6,669,733), the true impact of the signing of the team’s rookies – $1,583,140 – is revealed.

So, that is how the Year One Rookie Allocation, a.k.a Rookie Salary Cap – the “cap within a cap” – actually works and demonstrates the actual impact of the Rookie Cap on the team’s overall Salary Cap and how it is fair less than most realize.

Slot Name Salary Prorated Signing Bonus 7/4 Cap Hit 9/10 Cap Hit
32 Brown 435,000 949,224 799,224 1,384,224
64 Richards 435,000 239,827 89,827 674,827
97 Grissom 435,000 145,487 145,487 580,487
101 Flowers 435,000 139,733 139,733 574,733
111 Jackson 435,000 130,935 130,935 565,935
131 Mason 435,000 110,881 110,881 545,881
166 Cardona 435,000 47,383 47,383 482,383
178 Wells 435,000 35,973 35,973 470,973
202 Derby 435,000 28,013 28,013 463,013
247 Roberts 435,000 13,556 13,556 448,556
253 Dickson 435,000 13,196 13,196 448,196
Totals 4,785,000 1,854,208 1,554,208 6,639,208
Player 51 (Chris Jones) on the Patriots currently has a cap number of $585,000

And, despite what some in the media may lead you to believe, that number won’t be anywhere near what the team’s Rookie Cap is reported to be.

Please follow me on Twitter: @patscap

A call for a donation

A long-time family friend, my youngest sister’s best friend, is on the board of directors of a soup kitchen and food pantry in Malden, Massachusetts that serves over 400 low-income and homeless families per month. I am asking that if you have found my salary cap pages/blogs useful that if you are able to do so, please make a donation to the Bread of Life soup kitchen/food pantry. Their address is:
Attn: Mea Quinn Mustone
Bread of Life
54 Eastern Avenue, Rear
Malden, MA 02148
Please mention this website with your donation. Thanks so much!!!

Super Bowl Champions New England Patriots Calendar

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

December 29 Clubs could start signing free agent players for the 2015 season. Patriots signed Rufus Johnson, Dion Lewis, and Antonio Johnson to 2015 contracts
December 29 Patriots may renegotiate or extend the rookie contract of a drafted rookie who was selected in the 2012 NFL Draft (Chandler Jones, Dont’a Hightower, Tavon Wilson, Nate Ebner, and Alfonzo Dennard). 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.
December 29 Option exercise period begins for fifth-year option for first-rounds elections from the 2012 NFL Draft (Chandler Jones, Dont’a Hightower). To exercise the option, the club must give written notice to the player on or after December 29, 2014 but prior to May 3, 2015.
February 2 Waiver system began for 2015
February 6 Rob Gronkowski’s 2015 $4.75 million salary and $250,000 offseason workout bonus became fully guaranteed.
February 10 Beginning at 12 noon, New York time, NFL clubs could sign players whose 2014 CFL contracts have expired. Players under contract to a CFL club for the 2015 season or who have an option for the 2015 season are not eligible to be signed.
February 15 Tom Brady received final installment of his $30 million signing bonus guaranteed him in February,2013. Brady received $10 million upfront, $5 million on Valentine’s Day, 2014, $10 million during the 2014 season, and the final $5 million on February 15, 2015.
February 16 First day that the Patriots could designate a Franchise or Transition Player
March 2 Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for Patriots to designate a Franchise or Transition Player. If tagged, Stephen Gostkowski’s 2015 cap number will be $4,549,000. A player’s franchise tag number is the higher of 120% of his prior cap number plus all bonuses included in prior contract or the number achieved from the franchise tag number calculation. Gostowksi’s $4,549,000 figure is a total of his $4.44 million salary, $100,000 offseason workout bonus, and $50,000 Pro Bowl incentive.
On October 12th, 2014 CBS Sportline’s Jason LaCanfora reported that the percentage that will be used to determine the franchise tag number for safeties will be 6.713%. The below table lists the possible franchise tag numbers for McCourty if the league cap is between $140 million and $144 million.

League Cap Safety Franchise Tag Number
$140,000,000 $9,398,000
$141,000,000 $9,465,000
$142,000,000 $9,532,000
$143,000,000 $9,600,000
$143,280,000 $9,618,000
$144,000,000 $9,667,000
March 7-10 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 2014 contracts at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 10. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 10
4PM March 10 (End of 2014 League Year) Deadline for the New England Patriots to exercise options for Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, and Vince Wilfork. Revis’s option was for 2015 including a $12 million first day of the 2015 league year roster bonus. $3 million of which is payable on March 31, $3 million due on October 31, 2015, $3 million due on December 31, and $3 million on March 31,2016). If the option isn’t exercised, the Patriots can’t use their franchise or transition tag on Revis. Wilfork’s option was for 2015 and 2016 contract years. Wilfork was due a $4 million roster bonus. Brandon Browner’s option was for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Browner was due a $2 million roster bonus on March 10.
March 10 Nate Solder’s $7.438 million salary became fully guaranteed. 2 million of Julian Edelman’s salary changed from being guaranteed for injury only to fully guaranteed.
March 10 Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, the Patriots submitted a Minimum Salary Tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2014 contracts and who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agency credit (James Morris – $435,000; Brian Tyms – $585,000; James Develin – $660,000; Sealver Siliga – $660,000). They did not submit a tender to Greg Orton.
March 10 Top-51 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 $143,280,000. The Patriots 2015 adjusted cap number is $144,578,084. $143,280,000 (League Cap) + $5,258,054 (2014 Ending Cap Space + $1,184,000 Aaron Hernandez salary grievance credit – $5,143,970 (LTBE/NLTBE adjustment). For more on the Aaron Hernandez credit please review this blog post.
March 10 All 2014 player contracts expired at 4:00 p.m., New York time
March 10 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 10
March 10 Trading period for 2015 begins at 4:00 p.m., New York time, after expiration of all 2014 contracts
March 10, 4PM After 4PM March 10 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 2015 salary and any unearned LTBE incentives would come off the books
March 12 Sebastian Vollmer was due a $1,000,000 roster bonus
March 14 $1 million of Rob Ninkovich’s 2015 salary became fully guaranteed. LaGarrette Blount was due a $100,000 roster bonus. Michael Hoomanawanui was due a $300,000 roster bonus
March 23 NFL Annual Meeting. It was during this meeting that the compensatory picks were announced. The Patriots received a 3rd round pick (Aqib Talib) and a 7th round pick (Dane Fletcher). Patriots.
March 31 Darrelle Revis received $2 million as part of his 2014 $10 million signing bonus. Brandon Lafell received $1 million of his 2014 $3 million signing bonus. Julian Edelman received $2 million of his 2014 $5 million signing bonus.
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 20 All 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 24 Deadline for Patriots to sign Restricted Free Agents to offer sheets
April 30 – May 2 2015 NFL Draft, Chicago, Illinois.
May 2 Patriots can start signing undrafted players. In 2014 the Patriots could offer their UDFAs a total of $80,362 in signing bonuses. Actual total was $47,000
May 2 Patriots can start signing their drafted players. Because of the Top 51 rule signing the 2014 Patriots draft class took up $1,206,373 in cap space. Therefore, it seems safe to project that the Patriots will need between $1.5 and $1.6 million in cap space to sign its 2015 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.
May 3 Option exercise period ends for fifth-year option for first-rounds elections from the 2012 NFL Draft (Chandler Jones, Dont’a Hightower). To exercise the option, the club must give written notice to the player prior to May 3, 2015.
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 2016 League Year. These Patriots are currently signed past the 2015 season so they would be affected by the June 1 amortization rule (Tom Brady, Jerod Mayo, Jabaal Sheard, Chimdi Chewka, Scott Chandler, Alan Branch, Travaris Cadet, Rob Gronkowski, Sebastian Vollmer, Danny Amendola, Devin McCourty, Julian Edelman, Rob Ninkovich, Brandon Lafell, Marcus Cannon, Patrick Chung, Matthew Slater, Dominique Easley, Brandon Bolden, Jamie Collins, Aaron Dobson, Jimmy Garoppolo, Logan Ryan, Duron Harmon, Bryan Stork, James White, Cameron Fleming,  Zach Moore, Cameron Gordon,  Jordan Richards, Geneo Grissom, Trey Flowers, Tre’ Jackson, Matthew Wells, A.J. Derby, Darryl Roberts and Xzavier Dickson)
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. Deadline to reach a long-term deal with Stephen Gostkowski,
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.
August 5 Deadline for players under contract to report to their clubs to earn an Accrued Season for free agency
August 5 If a drafted rookie has not signed with his club by this date, he cannot be traded to any other club in 2015, and may sign a player contract only with the drafting club until the day of the draft in the 2016 League Year.
August 13 – 7:30PM The first preseason game will have the Patriots at home playing against the Green Bay Packers
August 22 – 7:00PM The second preseason game will have the Patriots on the road playing against the New Orleans Saints
August 26 Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must reduce their rosters to a maximum of 75 players
August 27 All tryouts on this date and for the remainder of the season must be reported to the League
August 28 – 7:30PM The third preseason game will have the Patriots on the road playing against the Carolina Panthers
September 3 – 7:30PM The fourth preseason game will have the Patriots at home playing against the New York Giants
September 5 Prior to 6:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must reduce rosters to a maximum of 53 players on the Active/Inactive List.
September 5 Simultaneously with the cut-down to 53, clubs that have players in the categories of Active/Physically Unable to Perform or Active/Non-Football Injury or Illness must select one of the following options: place player on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform or Reserve/Non- Football Injury or Illness, whichever is applicable; request waivers; terminate contract; trade contract; or continue to count the player on the Active List. Tom Brady and LeGarrette Blount’s suspensions begin.
September 5 Simultaneously with the cut-down to 53,Tom Brady and LeGarrette Blount’s suspensions begin.
September 6 Claiming period for players placed on waivers at the final roster reduction will expire at 12:00
September 6 Beginning at 12:00 p.m., New York time, clubs may establish a Practice Squad of ten players. A player is eligible if he does not have an accrued season of NFL experience. Players gain an accrued season by being on the active roster for at least six games. If a player has one accrued season, they can still be practice squad eligible if they were on the 46-man active game-day roster for less than nine regular season games. Under the new 2014 NFL rules, teams may sign no more than two players up to two accrued seasons. A player is deemed to have served a season on the practice squad if he remains on the practice squad for at least six weeks. Players are eligible to be on the practice squad for two seasons. Players can be eligible for a third practice squad season if their team maintains no less than 53 players on the active/inactive list at all times. The minimum salary for a practice squad player is $6,600. $6,600 * 10 * 17 = $1,122,000. Since the Patriots have typically pay some of their practice squad players more than the minimum and sometimes have less than 10 players on their practice squad, I will use $1.25 million for budgeting purposes.
September 6 Final day of preseason training camp for all clubs, as defined in CBA Article 23, Section 9.
September 8 After 4:00 p.m., New York time, a club is permitted to place a player (maximum of two) on Reserve/Injured as “Designated for Return.”
September 9 At 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for all NFL Player Contracts, Practice Player Contracts, tender offers, and miscellaneous amounts to
fit within each Club’s 2015 Salary Cap, in anticipation of the midnight expiration of the Top 51 Rule. The Pats will need to have $1.25 million in cap space
for their practice squad players. The Patriots will need another $870,000 in cap space to pay the salaries of players 52, and 53. The Patriots typically have a $2 to 4 million cushion to replace players placed on IR. The Patriots usually sign 1 to 2 players to extensions during the regular season taking anywhere between 1 to 2 million in cap space. Based on what happened last year the Patriots will have a $2 million cushion for NLBE incentives that are likely to be earned in 2015.

  • Vollmer’s Pro Bowl bonus – $250,000
  • Mayo’s Pro Bowl bonus – $300,000
  • Mayo’s playing-time incentive – $1,500,000
  • Vollmer’s 46-man active roster bonus – $62,500
  • Edelman’s 46-man active roster bonus – $93,750
  • Wendell’s 46-man active roster bonus – $25,000
  • Alan Branch’s 46-man active roster bonus – $200,000
  • Bradley Fletcher’s 46-man active roster bonus – $18,750
  • Alan Branch’s playing-time incentive – $750,000
  • Vollmer’s 90% playing-time incentive – $1,000,000
  • Bradley Fletcher’s playing-time incentive-$350,000
  • Ryan Wendell’s playing-time incentive-$500,000
  • Robert McClain’s playing-time incentive – $760,000

Therefore, the Patriots would probably like to enter Week 1 with about 5 to 8 million in cap space.

September 10 At 12:00 a.m., New York time, the Top 51 Rule expires for all NFL Clubs.
September 10 – 8:30PM Week 1 will have the Patriots at home playing against the Pittsburgh Steelers
September 20 – 1:00PM Week 1 will have the Patriots on the road playing against the Buffalo Bills
September 27 – 1:00PM Week 1 will have the Patriots at home playing against the Jacksonville Jaguars
September 29 Beginning on the Tuesday following the third weekend of regular season games, the claiming priority is based on the inverse order of the standing of clubs in the current season’s games.
October 4 Week 4 is the Patriots bye week.
October 11 – 4:25PM Week 5 will have the Patriots on the road playing against the Dallas Cowboys
October 18 – 8:30PM Week 6 will have the Patriots on the road playing against the Indianapolis Colts in a Sunday night game.
October 19 Beginning the day after the conclusion of the sixth regular season weekend and continuing through the day after the conclusion of the 11th regular season weekend, clubs are permitted to begin practicing players on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform and Reserve/Non-Football Injury or Illness for a period not to exceed 21 days. Players may be activated during the 21-day practice period or prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, on the day after the conclusion of the 21- day period.
October 25 – 1:00PM Week 7 will have the Patriots at home playing against the New York Jets
October 29 – 8:25PM Week 8 starts off with the Patriots at home playing against the Miami Dolphins in a Thursday night game
November 3 All trading ends for 2015 at 4:00 p.m., New York time.
November 3 Players with at least four previous pension-credited seasons are subject to the waiver system for the remainder of the regular season and postseason.
November 8 – 1:00PM Week 9 will have the Patriots at home playing against the Washington Redskins
November 15 – 4:25PM Week 10 will have the Patriots on the road playing against the New York Giants
November 17 At 4:00 p.m., New York time, signing period ends for Franchise Players who are eligible to receive Offer Sheets.
November 17 Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to sign their unsigned Franchise and Transition Players, including Franchise Players who were eligible to receive Offer Sheets until this date. If still unsigned after this date, such players are prohibited from playing in the NFL in 2015.
November 17 Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for clubs to sign their Unrestricted Free Agents to whom the “June 1 Tender” was made. If still unsigned after this date, such players are prohibited from playing in the NFL in 2015.
November 17 Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for Clubs to sign their drafted rookies. If such players remain unsigned after this date, they are prohibited from playing in NFL in 2015.
November 23 – 8:30PM Week 11 will end with the Patriots at home playing against the Buffalo Bills in a Monday night game
November 28 Deadline at 4:00 p.m., New York time, for reinstatement of players in Reserve List categories of Retired, Did Not Report, and Exclusive Rights, and of players who were placed on Reserve/Left Squad in a previous season.
November 29 – 8:30PM Week 11 will have the Patriots on the road playing against the Denver Broncos in a Sunday night game
November 29 – 8:30PM Week 12 will have the Patriots on the road playing against the Denver Broncos in a Sunday night game
December 6 – 4:25PM Week 13 will have the Patriots at home playing against the Philadelphia Eagles
December 13 – 1:00PM Week 14 will have the Patriots on the road playing against the Houston Texans
December 20 – 1:00PM Week 15 will have the Patriots at home playing against the Tennessee Titans
December 27 – 1:00PM Week 16 will have the Patriots on the road playing against the New York Jets
January 3, 2016 – 1:00PM Week 17 will have the Patriots on the road playing against the Miami Dolphins
January 4, 2016 Clubs may begin signing free agent players for the 2016 season.
January 4, 2016 Earliest permissible date for the Patriots to renegotiate or extend the rookie contract of a drafted rookie who was selected in any round of the 2013 NFL Draft (Jamie Collins,
Aaron Dobson, Logan Ryan, Duron Harmon, and Michael Buchanan). Earliest permissible date for the Patriots to renegotiate or extend the rookie contract of an undrafted rookie who was not selected in any round of 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.

Current roster status of the defending Super Bowl Champions New England Patriots

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.

Surname First End of 2014 Status Current Status
Aiken Danny 53 man roster Unsigned
Allen Ryan 53 man roster 90 man roster
Amendola Danny 53 man roster 90 man roster
Arrington Kyle 53 man roster Released
Ayers Akeem 53 man roster Signed with another team
Barker Chris Practice Squad 90 man roster
Bequette Jake Practice Squad 90 man roster
Blount LeGarrette 53 man roster 90 man roster
Bolden Brandon 53 man roster 90 man roster
Boyce Josh 53 man roster 90 man roster
Brady Tom 53 man roster 90 man roster
Branch Alan 53 man roster 90 man roster
Browner Brandon 53 man roster Signed with another team
Buchanan Michael IR 90 man roster
Butler Malcolm 53 man roster 90 man roster
Cannon Marcus 53 man roster 90 man roster
Casillas Jonathan 53 man roster Signed with another team
Chung Patrick 53 man roster 90 man roster
Collins Jamie 53 man roster 90 man roster
Connolly Dan 53 man roster Unsigned
Dennard Alfonzo IR Cut
Develin James 53 man roster 90 man roster
Devey Jordan 53 man roster 90 man roster
Dobson Aaron IR 90 man roster
Easley Dominique IR 90 man roster
Ebner Nate 53 man roster 90 man roster
Edelman Julian 53 man roster 90 man roster
Fleming Cameron 53 man roster 90 man roster
Fleming Darius 53 man roster 90 man roster
Gaffney Tyler IR 90 man roster
Garoppolo Jimmy 53 man roster 90 man roster
Gilbert Garrett Practice Squad Cut
Gordon Cameron IR Cut
Gostkowski Stephen 53 man roster 90 man roster
Gray Jonas 53 man roster 90 man roster
Green Justin Practice Squad 90 man roster
Gronkowski Rob 53 man roster 90 man roster
Harmon Duron 53 man roster 90 man roster
Hauptmann Caylin Practice Squad 90 man roster
Hightower Dont’a 53 man roster 90 man roster
Hoomanawanui Michael 53 man roster 90 man roster
Jones Chandler 53 man roster 90 man roster
Jones Chris 53 man roster 90 man roster
Kline Josh 53 man roster 90 man roster
Krause Jonathan Practice Squad 90 man roster
Lafell Brandon 53 man roster 90 man roster
Martin Eric Practice Squad 90 man roster
Mayo Jerod IR 90 man roster
McCourty Devin 53 man roster 90 man roster
Moore Zach 53 man roster 90 man roster
Morris James IR 90 man roster
Ninkovich Rob 53 man roster 90 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 90 man roster
Siliga Sealver 53 man roster 90 man roster
Skinner Deontae Practice Squad Cut
Slater Matthew 53 man roster 90 man roster
Solder Nate 53 man roster 90 man roster
Stork Bryan 53 man roster 90 man roster
Swanson Dax Practice Squad 90 man roster
Tyms Brian 53 man roster 90 man roster
Vellano Joe 53 man roster 90 man roster
Vereen Shane 53 man roster Signed with another team
Vollmer Sebastian 53 man roster 90 man roster
Wendell Ryan 53 man roster 90 man roster
White Chris 53 man roster 90 man roster
White James 53 man roster 90 man roster
Wilfork Vince 53 man roster Signed with another team
Wilson Tavon 53 man roster 90 man roster
Wright Tim 53 man roster Waived

Below is a summary.

53 man roster 53
90 man roster 43
Signed with Another Team 6
Unsigned 2
Cut 2
IR 10
90 man roster 5
Signed with Another Team 1
Unsigned 1
Cut 3
Practice Squad 9
90 man roster 7
Cut 2
Grand Total 72
90 man roster 55
Signed with Another Team 7
Unsigned 3
Cut 7

As of March 12, 2015 I have Pats under their adjusted cap number of $144,578,084 by $9,901,603. This purpose of this blog post is to illustrate some options that the New England Patriots have to further increase the $9.55 million cap space number. Please note that I will not be mentioning Brandon Browner, Darrelle Revis and Vince Wilfork here since their 2015 options were not be picked up. In the first edition of this blog I did predict that Wilfork’s option would be declined and that Revis would be extended. Keep that in mind that I am batting .500 while reading this:)

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 Amendola was released, his cap number would be lowered by $2,100,000, although the actual team savings would be only $1,590,000 because another player’s $510,000 base salary would be added to the team cap.

These numbers are in millions
Player Salary Bonuses Cap Number Dead Money Cap Savings after Top 51 effect
Tom Brady $8 $6 $14 $18 (-$4.51)
Jerod Mayo $6.25 $4 $10.2875 $6 $3.7775
Rob Gronkowski $4.75 $3.9 $8.65 $8.3 ($.016)
Sebastian Vollmer $2.25 $5.8 $8.02 $4.2 $3.34
Nate Solder $7.438 $0 $7.438 $0 $6.928
Danny Amendola $4 $1.7 $5.7 $3.6 $1.59
Kyle Arrington $3 $1.625 $4.625 $3.5 $.865
Julian Edelman $2.25 $1.9 $4.656 $5.75 (-$1.60375)
Rob Ninkovich $2.1 $1.85 $3.95 $2.5 $.94
Brandon Lafell $1.8 $1.7 $3.5 $2 $.99
Marcus Cannon $1.2 $1.4 $2.6 $2.1 $0
Matthew Slater $1 $.666 $1.666 $2.3 (-$1.08)
Ryan Wendell $1 $.6 $2.45 $.425 $1.515
Michael Hoomanawanui $.8 $.78 $1.58 $.18 $.89
Alfonzo Dennard $1.5724 $0.014462 $1.5724 $0.014462 $1.064
Tavon Wilson $.8 $.78 $1.58 $.18 $.89
LaGarrette Blount $.75 $.25 $1 $0 $.49

Some notes on the above numbers

  • Jerod Mayo’s dead money increases to $10.5 million if release is injury-related. $4.5 million of Mayo’s 2015 salary is guaranteed for injury.
  • Rob Gronkowski’s dead money increases to $10,300,000 the beginning of the 2015 League Year because the Patriots would have to count the 2015 proration of his 2016 $10 million option bonus as dead money if they released Gronk after the start of the 2015 League Year.
  • Nate Solder’s dead money increases to $7,438,000 the beginning of the 2015 League Year because his $7.438 million becomes fully guaranteed then
  • Matthew Slater’s dead money drops to $1,333,334 if traded because his $1 million salary is fully guaranteed
  • Julian Edelman’s dead money drops to $3,750,000 if traded because $2 million of his 2015 salary is fully guaranteed and his new team would be responsible for it.
  • Rob Ninkovich’s dead money increases to $3,500,000 the 5th day of the 2015 League Year because $1 million of his salary becomes fully guaranteed that day
  • Michael Hoomananawui’s dead money increases to $480,000 the 5th day of the 2015 League Year because he is due a $300,000 roster bonus then
  • LaGarrette Blount’s dead money increases to $100,000 the 5th day of the 2015 League Year because he is due a $100,000 roster bonus then
  • Ryan Wendell’s 2015 cap number may be increased if any part of his $1.25 million in playing-time incentives are classified as LTBE for the 2015 season.
  • Brandon Lafell’s 2015 cap number may be increased if any more part of his 2015 incentives are classified as LTBE for the 2015 season.

In the early years of the Bill Belichick era the Patriots would sometimes create cap space by converting a good portion of the player’s salary into a signing bonus. The below table shows the 2015 cap savings if the Patriots lowered the player’s salary to $1 million. The savings amount would also increase the future signing bonus prorations for the player. Example. Danny Amendola’s 2015 cap number would decrease from $5.7 million to $3.7 million but his 2016/2017 cap numbers would increase by $1 million each. The increased signing bonus prorations is probably why the Patriots have moved away from this practice recently.

Name Convert Salary Savings
Brady, Tom $4,666,667
Gronkowski, Rob $3,000,000
Vollmer, Sebastian $625,000
Amendola, Danny $2,000,000
Edelman, Julian $833,333
Arrington, Kyle $1,000,000
Ninkovich, Rob $550,000
Lafell, Brandon $400,000
Cannon, Marcus $100,000

Here are some other possible ways that the Pats could free up cap space. Please note that I am NOT advocating that the Patriots do all of these salary-cap maneuvers. The bolded maneuvers are my current predictions 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 2015 cap number. Please note that following some option will result in increasing the player’s cap numbers for future seasons.

  1. Redo Jerod Mayo’s deal similar to the 2014 Vince Wilfork restructure for a cap savings of $4,016,667
    Reaching a Wilfork-type deal with Jerod Mayo
  2. Release a healthy Jerod Mayo for a net cap savings of $3,777,500.
  3. Release an injured Jerod Mayo for a net cap loss of (-$722,500). I outline other cap scenarios for the Patriots and Jerod Mayo in this blog post
  4. Extend Sebastian Vollmer through the 2017 season for a net cap savings from 2 to 3 million.
  5. Extend Nate Solder for a net cap savings of $4.389 million. I would use the deal struck between the Arizona Cardinals and Jared Veldheer in March of 2014 as a template. 5 year, $35 million deal. $6.25 million signing bonus. $500,000 each year in 46-man active roster bonuses.
    • 2015 – $6.25m signing bonus, $1.25m fully guaranteed salary, $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses. 3 million cap number
    • 2016 – $5.5 million salary. $3 million guaranteed for injury at start of deal, becomes fully guaranteed at the start of 2016 season. $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses. $7.25 million cap number
    • 2017/2018/2019 – $6.5 million salary. $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses. $8.25 million cap number.

    As rich as this deal sounds, this would put Solder among the lowest paid left tackles who are NOT on a rookie contract.

  6. Release Nate Solder for a net cap savings of $6.928 million.
  7. Lower Danny Amendola’s salary from $4 million to $1.9 million while giving him the chance to earn back the money by reaching incentives – net cap savings of $2,100,000 which is $510,000 more than what would be achieved by releasing him. Amendola’s 2015 cap number would then be $3.6 million. Releasing Amendola before June 2nd would cause a dead money hit of $3.6 million. For the same amount of cap space as releasing him the Patriots would have on their roster a capable backup for Edelman. I outline other cap scenarios for the Patriots and Danny Amendola in this blog post.
  8. Release Danny Amendola for a net cap savings of $1,590,000
  9. Lower Danny Amendola’s salary from $4 million to $745,000, the lowest minimum salary for a player with Danny Amendola’s experience for a cap savings of $3,255,000. I just doubt that Amendola would agree to such a paycut.
  10. Release Ryan Wendell for a net cap savings of $1,505,000.
  11. Release Kyle Arrington for a net cap savings of $865,000
  12. Release Michael Hoomanawanui for a net cap savings of $890,000
  13. Trade or Waive Alfonzo Dennard – net cap savings of about $1 million. Because Alfonzo earned a Proven Performance Escalator, his 2015 salary will increase to the lowest RFA tender which is $1.542 million. Since it seems that both Logan Ryan and Malcolm Butler have passed Dennard on their depth chart, there are better uses for Dennard’s $1.542 million salary especially when Dennard has a minuscule dead money hit of $14,462.
  14. Release Tavon Wilson for a net cap savings of $455,166
  15. Release LaGarrett Blount for a net cap savings of $490,000
  16. Sign Stephen Gostkowski to a 5-year deal, $19 million deal. $5 million signing bonus for a net cap savings of $1 million. Would no longer have a $50,000 Pro Bowl bonus in his deal. Instead will increase his offseason workout bonus money from $100,000 to $150,000. This deal would make Stephen the highest paid kicker with a APY of $3.8 million.
    2015
    Base salary: $1.85 million (fully guaranteed)
    Offseason workout: $150,000
    Cap figure: $3,000,000
    2016
    Base salary: $1.85 million (fully guaranteed)
    Offseason workout: $150,000
    Cap figure: $3 million
    2017
    Base salary: $1.85 million (will become fully guaranteed)
    Offseason workout: $150,000
    Cap figure: $3 million
    2018
    Base salary: $3.35 million
    Offseason workout: $150,000
    Cap figure: $4.5 million
    2019
    Base salary: $4.35 million
    Offseason workout: $150,000
    Cap figure: $5.5 million

As you can see from above, the Pats could create up to $15 million in cap space if they chose to do all of my bolded predictions. The $15 million is in addition to the $9.9 million they already have.

Here are the moves that I think that will happen

  1. Restructure Mayo
  2. Lower Danny Amendola’s salary
  3. Extend Nate Solder
  4. Release Michael Hoomanawanui

The Patriots may wait to do some of the other bolded moves for when they need to create cap space.