Tracking the New England Patriots incentives after the Week 17 Dolphins game

Miguel Benzan
January 2, 2017 at 9:13 am ET

A team’s adjusted cap consists of three numbers
1.) League Cap Number
2.) Prior Year Carryover
3.) LTBE/NLTBE adjustment

In 2016 the Patriots received a credit of $3,586,169 toward their 2016 adjusted cap number because of the LTBE/NTLBE calculation.
The 2016 Patriots adjusted cap of $160,204,051 consists of $155,270,000 (League Cap) + $1,347,882 (rollover amount from 2015 season) + $3,586,169 (LTBE/NTLE adjustment).

I will track the Patriots incentives as an attempt to more accurately project the Patriots 2017 adjusted cap number.

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

As far as I know, all of the Patriots incentives have to be earned during the regular season. That is, any postseason stats will not count.

Learned that the incentives are typically paid in March.

Earned LTBE incentives – Since they already count against current year’s cap earning  LTBE incentives does not change the player’s cap number.
Unearned LTBE incentives – Credit on next year’ cap
Earned NLTBE incentives – 46-man active roster bonuses count against current year’s cap. All other earned NLBTE incentives count as a debit against next year’s cap.
Unearned NLTBE incentives – No impact on current year’s cap or on next year’s cap.

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

LTBE Incentives ($1,037,500 total)

* Matthew Slater has a $100,000 Pro Bowl incentive – Earned
* Alan Branch’s weight bonus – $400,000 – Probable
* Marcus Cannon’s weight bonus – $100,000 – Probable
* LaAdrian Waddle’s playing-time incentive – $100,000 – Unearned
* LeGarrette Blount rushing for 700 yards – $50,000 – Earned – After 16 games Blount already has 1,161 yards.
* Joe Cardona’s 53-man active roster bonus – $37,500 – Earned
* Chris Long’s 53-man active roster bonus – $250,000 – Earned

46-man per-game roster bonuses

As of January 2, 2017, 9:15 AM, the Patriots have $6,507,813 in 46-man active roster bonuses that are now counting against their 2016 cap

* Sebastian Vollmer has a $62,500 per game roster bonus. Vollmer was active for 14 games in 2015 so his LTBE amount is $875,000 ($62,500*14). Vollmer was active for 0 games this year before being placed on Reserve PUP for the entire year on November 22nd.
* Jabaal Sheard has a $62,500 per active game roster bonus. Sheard was active for 13 games in 2015 so his LTBE amount is $812,500 ($62,500*16). Sheard has been active for 15 games this year.
* Chris Hogan has a $31,250 per game roster bonus. Hogan was active for 16 games in 2015 so his LTBE amount is $500,000 ($31,250*16). Hogan has been active for 15 games this year.
* Rob Gronkowski has a $31,250 per game roster bonus. Gronk was active for 15 games in 2015 so his LTBE amount is $468,750 ($31,250*15). Gronk was active for 8 games this year before being placed on Reserve PUP for the entire year on December 3rd.
* Devin McCourty has a $31,250 per game roster bonus. McCourty was active for 14 games in 2015 so his LTBE amount is $437,500 ($31,250*14). McCourty has been active for all 16 games this year.
* Julian Edelman has a $46,875 per game roster bonus. Edelman was active for 9 games in 2015 so his LTBE amount is $421,875 ($46,875*14). Edelman has been active for all 16 games this year.
* Alan Branch has a $25,000 per game roster bonus. Branch was active for 16 games in 2015 so his LTBE amount is $400,000 ($25,000*16). Branch has been active for all 16 games this year.
* Chris Long had a $31,250 per game roster bonus. Long was active for 12 games in 2015 so his LTBE amount is $375,000 ($31,250*12). Chris Long has been active for all 16 games this year.
* Shea McClellin has a $25,000 per game roster bonus. McClellin was active for 12 games in 2015 so his LTBE amount is $300,000 ($25,000*12). McClellin has been active for 14 games this year.
* Danny Amendola has a $25,000 per game roster bonus that is limited to 10 games. Amendola played in 14 games in 2014 so his LTBE amount is $250,000 ($25,000*10). Amendola has been active for 12 games this year.
* Ryan Allen has a $12,500 per game roster bonus. Allen was active for 16 games in 2015 so his LTBE amount is $200,000 ($12,500*16). Allen has been active for all 16 games this year.
* Stephen Gostkowski has a $12,500 per game roster bonus. Gostkowski was active for 16 games in 2015 so his LTBE amount is $200,000 ($12,500*16). Gostkowski has been active for all 16 games this year.
* Marcus Cannon has a $15,625 per game roster bonus. Cannon was active for 12 games in 2015 so his LTBE amount is $187,500 ($15,625*12). Cannon has been active for 15 games this year.
* Brandon Bolden has a $12,500 per game roster bonus. Bolden was active for 15 games in 2015 so his LTBE amount is $187,500 ($12,500*15). Bolden has been active for 15 games this year.
* Patrick Chung has a $12,500 per game roster bonus. Chung was active for 15 games in 2015 so his LTBE amount is $187,500 ($12,500*15). Chung has been active for all 16 games this year
* Jonathan Freeny has a $12,500 per game roster bonus. Freeny was active for 13 games in 2015 so his LTBE amount is $162,500 ($12,500*13). Freeny was active for 5 games before being placed on IR on October 15th.
* LaAdrian Waddle has a $12,500 per game roster bonus. Waddle was active for 11 games in 2015 so his LTBE amount is $137,500 ($12,500*11). Waddle has been active for 3 games this year.
* Nate Solder had a $31,250 per game roster bonus. Solder was active for 4 games in 2015 so his LTBE amount was $125,000 ($31,250*4). Solder has been active for 15 games this year.
* Nate Ebner has a $7,812 per game roster bonus. Ebner was active for 15 games in 2015 so his LTBE amount was $117,188 ($7,812*15). Ebner has been active for all 16games this year.
* Dion Lewis has a $12,500 per game roster bonus. Lewis was active for 7 games in 2015 so his LTBE amount is $87,500 ($12,500*7). Lewis has been active for 7 games this year.
* LeGarrette Blount has a $6,250 per game roster bonus. Blount was active for 12 games in 2015 so his LTBE amount was $75,000 ($6,250*12). Blount has been active for all 16 games this year.

NLTBE Incentives ($9,376,562)

* Sebastian Vollmer has a 250K NLTBE Pro Bowl incentive –Unearned
* LeGarrrette Blount has a 250K NLTBE Pro Bowl incentive –Unearned
* Ryan Allen has a 50K NLTBE Pro Bowl incentive – Unearned
* Nate Solder has a 500K NLTBE Pro Bowl incentive –Unearned
* Nate Ebner has a 500K NLTBE Pro Bowl incentive – Unearned
* Shea McClellin has a 500K NLTBE Pro Bowl incentive – Unearned
* LeGarrette Blount has a $50,000 incentive tied to 750 rushing yards – Earned. After 16 games Blount has 1,161 yards.
* LeGarrette Blount has a $50,000 incentive tied to 800 rushing yards – Earned. After 16 games Blount has 1,161 yards.
* LeGarrette Blount has a $100,000 incentive tied to 850 rushing yards – Earned. After 16 games Blount has 1,161 yards.
* LeGarrette Blount has a $100,000 incentive tied to 900 rushing yards – Earned. After 16 games Blount has 1,161 yards.
* LeGarrette Blount has a $100,000 incentive tied to 950 rushing yards – Earned. After 16 games Blount has 1,161 yards
* LeGarrette Blount has a $100,000 incentive tied to 1,000 rushing yards – Earned. After 16 games Blount has 1,161 yards.
* LeGarrette Blount has a $100,000 incentive tied to 1,050 rushing yards – Earned. After 16 games Blount has 1,161 yards.
* LeGarrette Blount has a $100,000 incentive tied to 1,100 rushing yards – Earned. After 16 games Blount has 1,161 yards.
* Sebastian Vollmer’s playing time incentive – $750,000 if he plays in 80% of the offensive snaps. Vollmer has played 0% of the offensive snaps this year and will not play in any this season since he will remain on Reserve PUP for the rest of the season – Unearned
* Sebastian Vollmer’s playing time incentive – $750,000 if he plays in 90% of the offensive snaps. Vollmer has played 0% of the offensive snaps this year and will not play in any this season since he will remain on Reserve PUP for the rest of the season – Unearned
* Marcus Cannon’s playing time incentive – $250,000 if he plays in 80% of the offensive snaps. Cannon played in 92% of the offensive snaps this year. – Earned
* LaAdrian Waddle’s playing time incentive – $200,000 if he plays in 40% of the offensive snaps. Waddle played in less than 1% of the offensive snaps this year. – Unearned
* LaAdrian Waddle’s playing time incentive – $400,000 if he plays in 60% of the offensive snaps. Waddle played in less than 1% of the offensive snaps this year. – Unearned
* Dion Lewis’s playing time incentive – $200,000 if he plays in 40% of the offensive snaps. Lewis played 15% of the offensive snaps this year – Unearned
* Dion Lewis’s playing time incentive – $300,000 if he plays in 50% of the offensive snaps. Lewis played 15% of the offensive snaps this year – Unearned
* Dion Lewis’s playing time incentive – $400,000 if he plays in 60% of the offensive snaps. Lewis played 15% of the offensive snaps this year – Unearned
* Alan Branch’s 50% playing time incentive – $250,000. Branch played in 60.02% of the defensive snaps this year – Earned
* Alan Branch’s 55% playing time incentive – $250,000. Branch played in 60.02% of the defensive snaps this year – Earned
* Alan Branch’s 60% playing time incentive – $250,000. Branch played in 60.02% of the defensive snaps this year – Earned
* Chris Long’s 55% playing time incentive – $250,000. Long played in 65.005% of the defensive snaps this year – Earned
* Chris Long’s 65% playing time incentive – $250,000. Long played in 65.005% of the defensive snaps this year – Earned
* Shea McClellin’s 60% playing time incentive – $250,000. McClellin played in 35% of the defensive snaps this year – Unearned
* Shea McClellin’s 70% playing time incentive – $250,000. McClellin played in 35% of the defensive snaps this year – Unearned
* Julian Edelman’s $500,000 incentive that can be earned in one of the following four ways:
1.) 1,057 receiving yards
2.) 70 receptions plus seven TDs
3.) 80 receptions plus 13 wins
4.) 80 receptions plus Super Bowl appearance
Edelman has 98 catches for 1,106 yards and three TDs. Pats have 14 regular season wins Earned

Per the CBA, “Any roster bonus which is deemed not “likely to be earned” based upon the player’s performance during the prior year shall immediately be included in Team Salary when earned” so as the below players play in more games in 2016 than they did in 2015 the Patriots will lose cap space in the amount of the 46-man active roster bonus. Example – Alan Branch played in 8 games in 2014. He played in 16 games in 2015. The Patriots lost $200,000 ($25,000 * 8) in cap space during the 2015 season.

* Nate Solder has a $31,250 46-man active per game roster bonus. Solder was active in 4 games in 2015 so his NLTBE amount is $343,750 ($31,250*11). Solder has been active for 15 games this year so the Patriots have lost a total of $343,750 in cap space so far this year.
* Julian Edelman has a $46,875 46-man active per game roster bonus. Edelman played in 9 games in 2015 so his NLTBE amount is $328,120 ($46,875*7). Edelman has been active for all 16 games this year so the Patriots have lost a total of $328,125 in cap space so far this year.
* Jabaal Sheard has a $62,500 46-man active per game roster bonus. Sheard played in 13 games in 2015 so his NLTBE amount is $187,500 ($62,500*3). Sheard has been active for 15 games this year so the Patriots have lost a total of $125,000 in cap space so far this year.
* Chris Long has a $31,250 46-man active per game roster bonus. Long played in 12 games in 2015 so his NLTBE amount is $125,000 ($31,250*4). Long has been active for all 16 games this year so the Patriots have lost a total of $125,000 in cap space so far this year.
* Shea McClellin has a $25,000 46-man active per game roster bonus. McClellin played in 12 games in 2015 so his NLTBE amount is $100,000 ($25,000*4). McClellin has been active for 14 games this year so the Patriots have lost a total of $50,000 in cap space so far this year.
* Devin McCourty has a $31,250 46-man active per game roster bonus. McCourty played in 14 games in 2015 so his NLTBE amount is $62,500 ($31,250*4). McCourty has been active for all 16 games this year so the Patriots have lost a total of $62,500 in cap space so far this year.
* Marcus Cannon has a $15,625 46-man active per game roster bonus. Cannon played in 12 games in 2015 so his NLTBE amount is $62,500 ($15,625*4). Cannon has been active for 15 games this year so the Patriots have lost a total of $46,875 in cap space so far this season.
* LeGarrette Blount has a $6,250 46-man active per game roster bonus. Blount played in 12 games in 2015 so his NLTBE amount is $25,000 ($6,250*4). Blount has been active for all 16 games this year so the Patriots have lost a total of $25,000 in cap space so far this year.
* Patrick Chung has a $31,250 46-man active per game roster bonus. Chung played in 14 games in 2015 so his NLTBE amount is $62,500 ($31,250*4). Chung has been active for all 16 games this year so the Patriots have lost a total of $62,500 in cap space so far this year.
* Nate Ebner has a $7,812 46-man active per game roster bonus. Ebner played in 15 games in 2015 so his NLTBE amount is $7,812 ($7,812*1). Ebner has been active for all 16 games this year so the Patriots have lost a total of $7,812 in cap space so far this year.

Summary – the 2016 Patriots have lost $1,120,312 in cap space as the nine above players were active for more games in 2016 than they were in 2015.

Amount - Event - Likelihood
  $250,000 - Vollmer making the Pro Bowl                                    - Unearned
  $500,000 - Solder making the Pro Bowl                                     - Unearned
  $250,000 - Blount making the Pro Bowl                                     - Unearned
   $50,000 - Allen making the Pro Bowl                                      - Unearned
  $250,000 - McClellin making the Pro Bowl                                  - Unearned
  $500,000 - Ebner making the Pro Bowl                                      - Unearned
  $750,000 - Vollmer exceeding 80% playing time                             - Unearned
$1,000,000 - Vollmer exceeding 90% playing time                             - Unearned
  $200,000 - Lewis exceeding 40% playing time                               - Unearned
  $300,000 - Lewis exceeding 50% playing time                               - Unearned
  $400,000 - Lewis exceeding 60% playing time                               - Unearned
  $250,000 - Branch exceeding 50% playing time                              - Earned
  $250,000 - Branch exceeding 55% playing time                              - Earned
  $250,000 - Branch exceeding 60% playing time                              - Earned
  $250,000 - Cannon exceeding 80% playing time                              - Earned
  $250,000 - Long exceeding 55% playing time                                - Earned
  $250,000 - Long exceeding 65% playing time                                - Earned
  $250,000 - McClellin exceeding 60% playing time                           - Unearned
  $250,000 - McClellin exceeding 65% playing time                           - Unearned
  $200,000 - Waddle exceeding 40% playing time                              - Unearned
  $400,000 - Waddle exceeding 60% playing time                              - Unearned
   $50,000 - Blount exceeding 750 yards rushing                             - Earned
   $50,000 - Blount exceeding 800 yards rushing                             - Earned
  $100,000 - Blount exceeding 850 yards rushing                             - Earned
  $100,000 - Blount exceeding 900 yards rushing                             - Earned
  $100,000 - Blount exceeding 950 yards rushing                             - Earned
  $100,000 - Blount exceeding 1,000 yards rushing                           - Earned
  $100,000 - Blount exceeding 1,050 yards rushing                           - Earned
  $100,000 - Blount exceeding 1,100 yards rushing                           - Earned
  $500,000 - Edelman's receptions incentive                                 - Earned
  $343,750 - Solder being on the 46-man active roster for 15 games          - Earned
  $328,125 - Edelman being on the 46-man active roster for 16 games         - Earned
  $125,000 - Sheard being on the 46-man roster for 15 games                 - Earned
  $125,000 - Long being on the 46-man roster for 16 games                   - Earned
   $50,000 - McClellin being on the 46-man roster for 14 games              - Earned
   $62,500 - McCourty being on the 46-man roster for 16 games               - Earned
   $46,875 - Cannon being on the 46-man roster for 15 games                 - Earned
   $25,000 - Blount being on the 46-man roster for 16 games                 - Earned
   $12,500 - Chung being on the 46-man roster for 16 games                  - Earned
    $7,812 - Ebner being on the 46-man roster for 16 games                  - Earned

Totals
$5,550,000 Unearned
$2,700,000 Earned and will count against 2017 cap
$1,126,562 Earned and counting against 2016 cap
$9,376,562 NLTBE incentive

As far as I know, the Patriots will not be credited with any unreached LTBE incentives (Sebastian Vollmer’s 46-man active roster bonus) in 2016. What will happened is that any unreached LTBE incentives will be used to offset NLTBE incentives that were actually earned by other players at the end of the year and there will be an adjustment made to the Patriots 2017 cap number.

After the Week 17 Dolphins Game

Negative means that the player will reach or has reached a NLTBE incentive
Positive means that the player will not earn a LTBE incentive

Unearned LTBE Incentives ($1,437,500 total)

* Sebastian Vollmer’s 46-man active roster bonus ($875,000)
* LaAdrain Waddle’s playing-time ($100,000)
* Jonathan Freeny’s 46-man active roster bonus ($100,000)
* Rob Gronkowski’s 46-man active roster bonus ($218,750)
* Chris Hogan’s 46-man active roster bonus ($31,250)
* LaAdrian Waddle’s 46-man active roster bonus ($100,000)
* Brandon Bolden’s 46-man active roster bonus ($12,500)

Earned NLTBE Incentives ($2,700,000 total)

* Julian Edelman’s receptions (-$500,000)
* LeGarrette Blount exceeding 750 yards rushing (-$50,000)
* LeGarrette Blount exceeding 800 yards rushing (-$50,000)
* LeGarrette Blount exceeding 850 yards rushing (-$100,000)
* LeGarrette Blount exceeding 900 yards rushing (-$100,000)
* LeGarrette Blount exceeding 950 yards rushing (-$100,000)
* LeGarrette Blount exceeding 1,000 yards rushing (-$100,000)
* LeGarrette Blount exceeding 1,050 yards rushing (-$100,000)
* LeGarrette Blount exceeding 1,100 yards rushing (-$100,000)
* Alan Branch’s 50% playing-time incentive (-$250,000)
* Alan Branch’s 55% playing-time incentive (-$250,000)
* Alan Branch’s 60% playing-time incentive (-$250,000)
* Chris Long’s 55% playing-time incentive (-$250,000)
* Chris Long’s 65% playing-time incentive (-$250,000)
* Marcus Cannon’s 80% playing-time incentive (-$250,000)

* Totals (-$1,262,500)

The $1,262,500 LTBE/NLTBE negative adjustment will be included in the Patriots 2017 adjusted salary cap number calculation as a debit. If 2017 League Cap is $170 million, the Patriots 2017 adjusted cap number would then be $168,737,500 before including the 2016 rollover amount. I currently project that the 2016 rollover amount will be $5,400,000. So my current projection for the Patriots 2017 adjusted cap number is $174,652,500 (League Cap of $170 million plus $5,400,000 rollover minus $1,275,000 adjustment plus $600,000 credit for Dominique Easley, $10,000 credit for Steven Scheu and a $5,000 credit for Woodrow Hamilton). Please note that the Patriots may receive a $3.25 million credit if Aaron Hernandez is convicted in his double-murder case. Please also note that the Patriots may have to pay back up to $4.5 million in cap space if they had borrowed cap space in 2011/2012.

Using all of the above projections which will change frequently between now and the start of the 2017 League Year in early March here is my current estimate for the Patriots 2017 cap space number.

League Cap 	                        170,000,000
Prior Year Carryover 	                  5,400,000
Adjustment 	                         (647,500)
Patriots Adjusted Cap 	                174,652,500
2017 Cap Commitment 	                113,300,000
after tendering 4 ERFAs and
signing 10 practice squad players
53 players signed or tendered
2017 Cap Space 	                        61,352,500

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