Once again the New England Patriots take care of their practice squad players – this time Woodrow Hamilton

Miguel Benzan
January 5, 2017 at 9:14 am ET

The Patriots have a long history of paying some of their practice squad players more than the minimum salary. Today I learned that the Patriots continued this fine tradition by increasing the weekly pay of one practice squad player Woodrow Hamilton

Background – The 2016 standard weekly pay for a practice squad player is $6,900. The 2016 standard weekly pay for a NFL rookie is $26,470.59.

Woodrow Hamilton was signed to the practice squad with one week left in the regular season. He had spent most of the season on the Patriots 53-man roster. So Hamilton will not be losing any money by being on the practice squad. The minimum salary for a rookie is $450,000. $450,000 divided by 17 equals $26,470.59 weekly. So instead of being paid $6,900 a week Woodrow Hamilton is being paid $26,470.59, a difference of close to $20,000 a week. Hamilton’s cap number while on the practice squad is $158,824. If he was being paid the standard practice squad pay, it would have been $6,900. You may be wondering why Hamilton’s salary cap number is not $26,471 – one week’s salary. It is because of a CBA quirk. Postseason pay is usually considered a benefit under the CBA and usually does not count against a team’s salary cap. The sole exception is when a practice squad player signs or redoes his deal after December 1 in that case all of his salary counts against the salary cap. Here is the quote from the CBA – “Postseason pay (as described in Articles 37 and 38) and salary paid to Practice Squad players pursuant to a Practice Squad Contract during the postseason, unless the Practice Squad Player Contract is executed or renegotiated after December 1 for more than the minimum Practice Squad salary, in which case all salary paid to such a Practice Squad player during the postseason will be counted as Salary.” Since the postseason is 5 weeks long Hamilton’s cap number is $158,824 ($26,470.59 times 6 weeks).

If the Patriots do not happen to play in the Super Bowl, they will receive a credit on the 2017 cap for each postseason week that Woodrow Hamilton misses.

This increase surely shows how much the Patriots value Woodrow Hamilton and will prevent any other playoff team from signing him to their 53-man roster as there is no financial incentive for him to now leave the Patriots.

The Patriots have 10 players on their practice squad. The following players are being paid more than the minimum
Darius Kilgo – $30,882.35
Trevor Bates – $18,000
Chris Barker – $15,000 – Barker has had two raises this year. The first increased his weekly pay from $6,900 to $10,000. The last raise increased his weekly salary from $10,000 to $15,000.
DeAndrew White – $10,000
Tyler Gaffney – $10,000
Woodrow Hamilton – $26,471

Four former practice squad players (DJ Foster, Bishop Sankey, Geneo Grissom and Anthony Johnson) were also being paid more than the minimum before their stays on the Patriots practice squad ended.

Why pay practice squad players more than the minimum? Show appreciation and encourage them to stay with the Patriots if offered a chance to sign with another team. Increasing a practice squad player makes it more likely that the player will sign a future contract with the team after the season ends.

Little gestures like these make me proud to be a fan of the New England Patriots. The Patriots are the only team in the NFL that is paying at least 6 practice squad players more than the minimum. A good number of teams are paying 1 practice squad player more than the minimum. A couple of teams (Ravens, Chiefs, and Broncos) are paying 2 players more than the minimum. No team is paying 3 players. No team is paying 4 players. The New England Patriots are paying 6.

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