Explaining why the New England Patriots lost $4.5M in cap space on March 28, 2017

Miguel Benzan
March 28, 2017 at 6:38 pm ET

On March 28, 2017 I noticed that the Patriots salary cap number on the NFLPA site decreased by $4.5 million since March 27th. So I asked a couple of sources to see if the Patriots adjusted cap number had decreased or if the cap numbers for a player or two (most likely Amendola or Nate Solder). They were able to confirm that the Patriots adjusted cap number had decreased from $173,298,888 to $168,798,888.

Why the decrease?

When the new CBA was agreed upon in 2011, the Salary Cap saw a reduction and, for the first few years, stagnation. The 2009 cap was close to 128 million. The 2011 cap was $120 million. The 2012 cap was $120.6 Million. The 2013 cap was $123 million. Foreseeing this slow increases in the League Cap , Article 11, Section 5, Paragraph (e) of the CBA (Transition Rules for the 2011 League Year) allowed for teams to create additional cap room (a maximum of $4.5 million – three million in 2011; one and a half million in 2012) in the early years of the new CBA by receiving credits but required teams to repay any “borrowed” amount during the 2014 through 2017 league years. The CBA left it up to the team to decide when to repay those amounts but any borrowed cap space had to be paid by the 2017 League Year. I have never been able until today to determine if the Patriots borrow any cap space in 2011 or in 2012. I have been researching this since 2013. Had even asked the NFLPA once in a public conference call. I could tell that the Jets had paid back $4.5 million in 2014 and the Colts had paid back $3 million in 2014.

My fellow amateur capologist John Baines was able to determine that a total of 18 teams lost salary cap space today. The Broncos, Rams, and the Saints are the other NFL teams who lost $4.5 million in cap space today.

To sum this blog, the Patriots lost $4.5 million in cap space on March 28, 2017 because they had borrowed $3M in cap space in 2011 and $1.5M million in 2012.

Questions and Answers Section:

Q: What is the new Patriots adjusted cap number?
A: $168,798,888.

Q: What makes up the Patriots adjusted cap number of $168,798,888?
A: League Cap of $167,000,000
plus Prior Year Carryover of $5,292,335
plus the new adjustments figure of negative $3,493,447.

Q: What was the old adjustments figure?
A: $1,006,553

Q: What is your current Patriots salary cap number?
A: $21,955,850. This number accounts for all 64 players on the Patriots roster signed or tendered (like Malcolm Butler and Brandon King). This number also include Alan Branch who is not yet officially signed. The $21,955,850 number is the 10th highest in the NFL.

Q: Were you surprised that the Patriots lost $4.5M in cap space on March 28, 2017?
A: Always suspected that the Patriots had indeed borrowed the cap space but could never prove it. Had mentioned the possibility several times on Twitter, d in prior blog pieces, several podcasts and on patscap.com

Q: Do the Patriots have enough salary cap space for the rest of the season?
A: They have more than enough.

Q: Do you know the names of the three players that the Patriots took $1 million credits on in 2011?
A: No, I do not.

Q: Do you know the names of the three players that the Patriots took $500,000 credits on in 2012?
A: No, I do not.

You can follow me on Twitter at @patscap

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