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My 2015 Offseason plan for the Super Bowl Champions New England Patriots

Miguel Benzan
Miguel Benzan on Twitter
8 years ago at 6:31 am ET
Posted Under: Free Agency

As of February 26, I have the Patriots 2015 total cap commitments as $152,495,147. This total is AFTER the Patriots signed all of its practice squad players to 2015 contracts and presumes that the Patriots will tender all 5 ERFAs. There have been several projections for the 2015 League cap. They have ranged from $138 million to $146 million. I will use the latest projection of $143 million. I project that that the Patriots adjusted cap number will be about $1.88 million higher than the league cap number. So, as of February 24 I project the Patriots to be over their projected cap number by about $7.6 million. So it appears that the Patriots will need to create cap space by releasing veterans or renegotiating existing contracts. There are plenty of opportunities to do both, thereby opening up millions of dollars under the cap.

When determining the cap savings from releasing players, keep in mind the Rule of 51. When a player from the top 51 is released or traded, the base salary of the player with the 52nd-highest cap number is added to the cap. For example, if Amendola was released, his cap number would be lowered by $2,100,000, although the actual team savings would be only $1,590,000 because another player’s $510,000 base salary would be added to the team cap.

Here’s how I predict that the Patriots will free up cap space. Please note that following some of these options will result in increasing the player’s cap numbers for future seasons. In another blog post I list some other ways that the Patriots could create cap space.

  1. Extend Darrelle Revis I outline several possible extensions between the Patriots and Darrelle Revis in this blog post. My preferred deal would create $10 million in cap space for 2015. Under this deal Revis’ 2016/2017/2018 cap numbers would be $15.5 million each.
  2. After Jerod Mayo passes a physical redo Jerod Mayo’s deal similar to the 2014 Vince Wilfork restructure but without a signing bonus for a cap savings of $4,450,000. Mayo accepting a Wilfork-type restructure
    It is likely that this restructure will not happen until after the spring. The $4.45 million cap savings would provide the cushion typically carried by the Patriots for the regular season.
  3. Release Vince Wilfork for a net cap savings of $7,556,667. As a huge fan of Vince Wilfork I would love to be wrong about this. I tried to find a comparable player to him and the closest I came was Kevin Williams last year who signed with the Seahawks for $2.1 million. Am very doubtful that Vince would agree to such a paycut.
  4. Extend Nate Solder for a net cap savings of $3.438 million. I would use the deal struck between the Arizona Cardinals and Jared Veldheer in March of 2014 as a template. 5 year, $35 million deal. $7.5 million signing bonus. 500,000 each year in 46-man active roster bonuses.
    • 2015 – $7.5m signing bonus, $2 million fully guaranteed salary, $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses. 4 million cap number
    • 2016 – $6 million salary. $3 million guaranteed for injury at start of deal, becomes fully guaranteed at the start of 2016 season. $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses. $8 million cap number
    • 2017 – $6 million salary. $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses. $8 million cap number.
    • 2018 – $5.5 million salary. $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses. $7.5 million cap number.
    • 2019 – $5.5 million salary. $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses. $7.5 million cap number.

    As rich as this deal sounds, this would put Solder among the lowest paid left tackles who are NOT on a rookie contract.

  5. Lower Danny Amendola’s salary from $4 million to $1.9 million – net cap savings of $2,100,000 which is $510,000 more than what would be achieved by releasing him. Amendola’s 2015 cap number would then be $3.6 million. Releasing Amendola before June 2nd would cause a dead money hit of $3.6 million. I would give Amendola the chance to earn back the money by reaching NLTBE incentives. The incentives could be for
    1.Receptions – Anything more than 27 receptions would be NLTBE
    2.Receiving Yards – Anything more than 200 receiving yards would be NLTBE
    3.Receiving TDs – Anything more than 1 receiving TD would be NLTBE
    4.Wins – Anything more than 12 wins would be NLTBEFor the same amount of cap space as releasing him the Patriots would have on their roster a capable backup for Edelman. I outline other cap scenarios for the Patriots and Danny Amendola in this blog post.
  6. Trade or Waive Alfonzo Dennard – net cap savings of about $1 million. Because Alfonzo earned a Proven Performance Escalator, his 2015 salary will increase to the lowest RFA tender which is currently projected to be $1.539 million. Since it seems that both Logan Ryan and Malcolm Butler have passed Dennard on their depth chart, there are better uses for Dennard’s $1.539 million salary especially when Dennard has a minuscule dead money hit of $14,462.
Revis $10,000,000
Mayo $4,450,000
Wilfork $7,556,667
Solder $3,438,000
Amendola $2,100,000
Dennard $1,029,000
Totals Savings $28,573,667

As you can see from above, doing all these moves will take the Pats from over by $7.6 million to under the cap by $21 million. The six above moves would increase

How I would use this $21 million in cap space.
1.) Sign Stephen Gostkowski to a 5-year deal, $19 million deal. $5 million signing bonus. Would no longer have a $50,000 Pro Bowl bonus in his deal. Instead will increase his offseason workout bonus money from $100,000 to $150,000. This deal would make Stephen the highest paid kicker with a APY of $3.8 million.
Base salary: $1.85 million (fully guaranteed)
Offseason workout: $150,000
Cap figure: $3,000,000
Base salary: $1.85 million
Offseason workout: $150,000
Cap figure: $3 million
Base salary: $1.85 million
Offseason workout: $150,000
Cap figure: $3 million
Base salary: $3.35 million
Offseason workout: $150,000
Cap figure: $4.5 million
Base salary: $4.35 million
Offseason workout: $150,000
Cap figure: $5.5 million

2.) Sign Danny Aiken to a veteran minimum deal – Net impact to 2015 cap – $75,000
3.) Sign Chris White to a veteran minimum deal – Net impact to 2015 cap – $75,000
4.) Sign Jonathan Casillas to a two-year deal with a $1.5 million cap number in 2015 and $2 million cap number in 2016.
5.) Sign Alan Branch to an one-year deal worth $1 million.
6.) Sign Stevan Ridley to an incentive-laden deal worth $1 million.
7.) Reach a long-term deal with Devin McCourty. 2015 cap hit would be $4.2 million. $19.5 million ($12.5 million signing bonus) would be fully guaranteed at time of signing bonus
Base salary: $3 million (fully guaranteed)
46-man active roster bonus: $500,000
Cap figure: $6,000,000
Base salary: $5 million
46-man active roster bonus: $500,000
Cap figure: $7.5 million
Base salary: $5.75 million
46-man active roster bonus: $500,000
Cap figure: $8.75 million
Base salary: $6.25 million
46-man active roster bonus: $500,000
Cap figure: $9.25 million
Base salary: $6.75 million
46-man active roster bonus: $500,000
Cap figure: $9.75 million

If you wish to see more details on my preferred McCourty deal, please review this blog post of mine.
8.) Pay for the 2015 draft class – $1.5 million in cap space.
9.) Pay for players 52 and 53 – $870,000
10.) Pay for the 10-man practice squad – ($6,600 *17 weeks * 10 players) = $1,122,000. Will round up to $1,250,000 since Patriots typically pay some practice squad players more than the minimum.
11.) Have a cushion for the NLTBE 46-man active roster bonuses that could be earned by Mayo, Edelman, Vollmer, Browner, Blount and Wendell. If all six players play in all sixteen games, the Patriots will then lose $1.2 million in cap space.
12.) Have a cushion for other reachable NLTBE incentives ($4.5 million). The $4.5 million comes from Browner’s playing-time incentives ($500,000), Vollmer’s playing-time incentive ($1 million) and Mayo’s playing-time incentives ($3 million).
13.) Have a cushion to replace injured players during preseason and regular season – $2 million.
14.) Have a cushion to extend players during regular season. The Patriots have 10 players scheduled to be RFAs after the 2015 season. It is likely that at least five of them make the 53-man roster – $2 million.

Player Date Cap Cost
Gostkowski March ($2,490,000)
Aiken March ($75,000)
White March ($75,000)
Casillas March ($490,000)
Branch March ($490,000)
Ridley March ($490,000)
McCourty March ($3,690,000)
2015 Draft Class May ($1,500,000)
Cushion to replace injured players July ($2,000,000)
Players 52 and 53 September ($870,000)
10-man practice squad September ($1,250,000)
Cap Space created by roster cuts September $2,000,000
46-man active roster bonus cushion September ($1,200,000)
NLTBE incentives cushion September ($4,500,000)
Extensions cushion September ($2,000,000)
Cap Space after the 6 moves $20,958,074
Cap Space to go after Free Agents $1,838,074

The Patriots will be still able to sign players from other teams under this scenario since it is very likely that
1.) I have overstated some player’s 2015 cap hits
2.) they may use lower cushion numbers that I should
3.) they could reach extensions/restructures with other players (Browner, Vollmer, Brady) that could create cap space

The below table shows the cap impact on future years

Player 2016 2017 2018 2019
Revis  $15,500,000  $15,500,000  $15,500,000  $               –
Solder  $  8,000,000  $  8,000,000  $  7,500,000  $  7,500,000
Gostkowski  $  3,000,000  $  3,000,000  $  4,500,000  $  5,500,000
Casillas  $  2,000,000  $               –  $               –  $               –
McCourty  $  6,700,000  $  8,700,000  $  9,450,000  $12,200,000
Totals  $35,200,000  $35,200,000  $36,950,000  $25,200,000


Posted Under: Free Agency
Tags: Darrelle Revis mccourty

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