Looking at the New England Patriots 2017 free agents – ERFAs Updated on January 2, 2017

Miguel Benzan
January 2, 2017 at 8:43 pm ET

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

Some basic definitions –

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

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

This look at the 2017 Patriots free agency will start off with the Patriots ERFAs

The below graphic lists the 19 Patriots players who are scheduled to become free agents at the start of the 2017 League Year.

2017 Patriots ERFAs

ERFAs

CB Justin Coleman who will be an ERFA. Coleman has two accrued seasons (2015 and 2016). I expect the Patriots to tender him. His 2017 salary will be $615,000. It will not be not guaranteed. If tendered, Justin Coleman must sign the tender in order to play in the NFL in 2017. If the Patriots do not tender Justin Coleman, he will then become a street free agent at the start of free agency and the Patriots will not receive any compensation if he signs elsewhere. Level of confidence that Justin Coleman will get tendered – 100%. Cap space taken up – $150,000 because the Patriots should have 51 players with cap hits of at least $465,000 when the 2017 League Year begins in March. In March of 2017 we will be in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers will be.

S Brandon King who will be an ERFA. King has one accrued season (2015 and 2016 ). I expect the Patriots to tender him. His 2017 salary will be $615,000. It will not be not guaranteed. If tendered, Brandon King must sign the tender in order to play in the NFL in 2017. If the Patriots do not tender Brandon King, he will then become a street free agent at the start of free agency and the Patriots will not receive any compensation if he signs elsewhere. Level of confidence that Brandon King will get tendered – 100%. Cap space taken up – $150,000 because the Patriots should have 51 players with cap hits of at least $465,000 when the 2017 League Year begins. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

Matt Lengel who will be an ERFA. Lengel will have one accrued season (2016). I expect the Patriots to tender him. His 2017 salary will be $540,000. It will not be not guaranteed. If tendered, Matt Lengel must sign the tender in order to play in the NFL in 2017. If the Patriots do not tender Lengel, he will then become a street free agent at the start of free agency and the Patriots will not receive any compensation if he signs elsewhere. Level of confidence that Lengel will get tendered – 100%. Cap space taken up – $150,000 because the Patriots should have 51 players with cap hits of at least $465,000 when the 2017 League Year begins. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

Why I am so confident that the Patriots will tender all of their ERFAs, as far as I can recall they have always tendered an ERFA who ended the season on the 53-man roster. The only ERFAs that have not been tendered ended the prior season on IR. The latest example of an ERFA not being tendered is Greg Orton in 2015. He spent the entire 2014 season on IR.

If the Patriots really like an ERFA, they may not tender him so that they can sign him to a deal after the start of the League Year that pay him more cash than the minimum. The Patriots once did that with Brian Tyms in 2015.

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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 provided in 2015 the equivalent of 1,030,000 meals to hungry, homeless and isolated people. I am asking that if you have found my salary cap pages useful that if you are able to do so, please make a donation to the Bread of Life soup kitchen/food pantry.

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You can have a portion of your Amazon.Com purchases donated to the Bread of Life.
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