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Super Bowl Champs 2015 Salary Cap Picture – Listing Future Cap needs and listing how Patriots can create more cap space

Miguel Benzan
Miguel Benzan on Twitter
8 years ago at 7:46 pm ET
Posted Under: Free Agency

Updating my 2015 Patriots salary cap picture right before training camp begins.

Right now, the total Patriot 2015 cap commitments is $135,723,096. The 2015 Patriots adjusted cap number is $144,578,084. The Patriots 2015 adjusted cap number of $144,578,084 minus cap commitment of $135,723,096 equals $8,854,988 in cap space with 90 signed players

September 5 Simultaneously with the cut-down to 53, clubs that have players in the categories of Active/Physically Unable to Perform or Active/Non-Football Injury or Illness must select one of the following options: place player on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform or Reserve/Non- Football Injury or Illness, whichever is applicable; request waivers; terminate contract; trade contract; or continue to count the player on the Active List. Please note that as Jocelyn Robichaud once pointed out in an email: “The current cap status is calculated with the top 51 earners. On the other hand, not all of these players will make the team. Thus, as the team shrinks its roster to 53 players, it will create cap room unless it keeps all of its top earners. For example, let us say that Jonathan Freeny ($850,000 in salary) does not make the team and is replaced by Geneo Grissom ($435,000 in salary). This would free $415,000 in cap room for the Patriots. If Tyler Gaffney makes the team instead of Tavaris Cadet, that would create $275,000 in cap space. If Jordan Richards makes the 53-man roster instead of Tavon Wilson, that would create $530,166 in cap space. If A.J. Derby makes the 53-man roster instead of Michael Hoomanawanui, that would create $665,000 in cap space With just 4 those roster decisions the Patriots could create over $1,885,166 in cap space when the rosters are cut down to 53 players.
September 5 Simultaneously with the cut-down to 53,Tom Brady and LeGarrette Blount’s suspensions begin.
The Patriots will receive the below credit on their 2015 salary cap depending on how Tom Brady is suspended for

  • 0 games- $0
  • 1 game – $470,588.24
  • 2 games – $941,176.47
  • 3 games – $1,411,764.71
  • 4 games – $1,882,352.94

The Patriots will receive a $44,118 credit when LeGarrette Blount’s suspension kicks in

September 6 Beginning at 12:00 p.m., New York time, clubs may establish a Practice Squad of ten players. A player is eligible if he does not have an accrued season of NFL experience. Players gain an accrued season by being on the active roster for at least six games. If a player has one accrued season, they can still be practice squad eligible if they were on the 46-man active game-day roster for less than nine regular season games. Under the new 2014 NFL rules, teams may sign no more than two players up to two accrued seasons. A player is deemed to have served a season on the practice squad if he remains on the practice squad for at least six weeks. Players are eligible to be on the practice squad for two seasons. Players can be eligible for a third practice squad season if their team maintains no less than 53 players on the active/inactive list at all times. The minimum salary for a practice squad player is $6,600. $6,600 * 10 * 17 = $1,122,000. Since the Patriots have typically pay some of their practice squad players more than the minimum and sometimes have less than 10 players on their practice squad, I will use $1.25 million for budgeting purposes. If you wish to see the list of the Patriots eligible to be placed on the 2015 practice squad please see this blog post.
September 6 Final day of preseason training camp for all clubs, as defined in CBA Article 23, Section 9.
September 9 At 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for all NFL Player Contracts, Practice Player Contracts, tender offers, and miscellaneous amounts to fit within each Club’s 2015 Salary Cap, in anticipation of the midnight expiration of the Top 51 Rule. The Patriots will need another $870,000 in cap space to pay the salaries of players 52, and 53. The Patriots typically have a $2 to $4 million cushion to replace players placed on IR and to reach injury settlements with players. Under the new CBA the Patriots have placed the following amounts of players on Injured Reserve or NFI (Non Football Injury)

  • 2011 – 12
  • 2012 – 11
  • 2013 – 13
  • 2014 – 10

The Patriots usually sign 1 to 2 players to extensions during the regular season taking anywhere between 1 to 2 million in cap space. Based on what happened last year the Patriots will have a $1.4 million cushion for NLBE incentives that are likely to be earned in 2015.

  • Sebastian Vollmer’s $62,500 46-man active roster which totals $62,500 since Vollmer played in 15 games in 2014
  • Julian Edelman’s $46,875 46-man active roster which totals $93,750 since Edelman played in 14 games in 2014
  • Bradley Fletcher’s $18,750 46-man active roster which totals $18,750 since Fletcher played in 15 games in 2014
  • Alan Branch’s $25,000 46-man active roster which totals $200,000 since Branch played in 8 games in 2014
  • Ryan Wendell’s $12,500 46-man active roster which totals $175,000 since Wendell played in 14 games in 2014
  • Vollmer’s 90% playing-time incentive – $1,000,000

To read more about LTBE/NLTBE incentives see this blog post

Current cap space – $8,850,000
Players 52, 53, and practice squad (-$2,120,000) – early September
Robichaud roster effect – ($2,300,000). May create more if the Patriots release more higher-paid salaried players that I am currently expecting. – Also early September
Cushion for replacing injured players during the season (-$3,000,000) – Also early September
Cushion for reached NLTBE incentives (-$1,400,000) – Also early September
Cushion for in-season extensions (-$2,000,000) – Also early September
Credit for LeGarette Blount’s suspension ($45,000) – 1st week of regular season
Credit for Tom Brady’s suspension ($1,900,000) – 1st week of regular season

8,850,000 (Current cap space)
-2,120,000 (paying for players 52, 53 and practice squad)
+2,300,000 (Robichaud roster effect)
-3,000,000 (Replacing injured players)
-1,400,000 (Cushion for reached NLTBE incentives)
-2,000,000 (Cushion for in-season extensions)
+45,000 (Blount suspension credit)
+1,900,000 (Brady suspension credit)

Therefore, the Patriots would probably like to enter Week 1 with about 4 to 6 million in cap space.

shows that the Patriots have about 5 million in cap space to account for any future free agent signings. That is, they could sign one free agent to a $5.585 million deal today and still account for the above contingencies

The Patriots are currently under their 2015 cap by $8.85 million if they do not cut any more veterans or renegotiate any more contracts. There are plenty of opportunities to do both, thereby opening up millions of dollars under the cap. Here are some possible ways that the Pats could free up cap space. Please note that I am NOT advocating that the Patriots do all of these salary-cap maneuvers.

1.) Extend Nate Solder for a net cap savings of $4.088 million. I would use the deal struck between the Arizona Cardinals and Jared Veldheer in March of 2014 as a template. 5 year, $40 million deal. $8 million signing bonus. $500,000 each year in 46-man active roster bonuses.

  • 2015 – $8m signing bonus, $1.25m fully guaranteed salary, $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses. 3.35 million cap number
  • 2016 – $5.75 million salary. $4 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. $7.85 million cap number
  • 2017/2018/2019 – $7.5 million salary. $500,000 in 46-man active roster bonuses. $9.1 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.

2.) Waive Aaron Dobson
3.) Waive Tavon Wilson
4.) Release Michael Hoomanawanui
5.) Release Jonathan Freeny

Posted Under: Free Agency

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