I had asked my Twitter followers what should be my next bog post. Ed Kenkle replied “I’d be interested to read if you think the contracts given this off-season suggest a “win now” attitude more than usual.”
For those of you have suffered ice-cream headaches reading my prior posts:) I will quickly sum up my position with an one-answer – No.
I will now provide the reasons for my conclusion.
1.) Only 1 of the free agents contracts – Revis – reached by the Patriots could be considered as suggesting a “win-now contract”. The contracts of Michael Hoomanawanui, Julian Edelman, Ryan Wendell, and Brandon Browner are typical of the contracts that the Patriots have been signing their players to ever since the new CBA was reached in 2011. That is, they contain 46-man roster bonuses and playing-time incentives. In the early part of the Belichick era I think that the only Patriot that signed a contract that contained 46-man active roster bonuses was Kevin Faulk in 2007. All other roster bonuses were earned as far as I can tell by being on a roster at a certain date, like the 10th day of the League Year. One could consider Revis a “win now” contract since his deal is very favorable to him and because of the structure of the deal. If he plays well, he will have a great deal of leverage over the Patriots as the Patriots have to pick up their option for the 2015 season by the end of the 2014 League Year. If the Patriots pick up the option, Revis would have a $25 million cap hit. If the Patriots do not pick up the option, they will have a $5 million dead money hit for Revis. As far as I can remember, the Revis deal is the first deal that the Patriots have signed a player in which they gave the player most of the leverage in contract negotiations. That is, if Revis plays well in 2014 and thinks that his price is 16 million per year, it is more likely that the Patriots will move up to meet Revis’ price than Revis will move down to meet the Patriots’ price. The deal structure help support the argument that the deal is win-now since the Patriots pushed $5 million of signing bonus money to 2015.
2.) Cash spending – Right now, the Patriots have committed themselves to spending in cash this season the amount of $97,184,867. As you can see on OvertheCap.Com the Patriots are among the lowest teams in the NFL in terms of cash commitments
3.) Pushing signing bonus money to the future – The Patriots have pushed very little signing bonus money (866,667 total) to the future as part of extensions or restructures. The Patriots have not used June 1 designation nor did they redo Mankins’ deal.
4.) The future years have not been compromised – As you can see on my future years page the Patriots are well under the projected caps for the years 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. If the Pats do not pick up Revis’ option, they should be in good but not great shape for the 2015 season. I do plan to create a blog post previewing the Patriots 2015 salary cap picture later this month.
In summary, I do not believe that the Patriots have adopted a win-now approach this offseason.