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How the New England Patriots can create cap space in 2016

Miguel Benzan
Miguel Benzan on Twitter
6 years ago at 11:47 pm ET
Posted Under: Free Agency

As of January 24, I have the Patriots 2016 total cap commitments as $153,419,971. The $153,419,971 total presumes that the Patriots will sign all of its practice squad players to 2016 contracts as well as tender all 6 of its Exclusive Rights Free Agents (ERFAs). There are several projections for the 2016 League cap. For the time being, I am using $154 million. I project that that the Patriots adjusted cap number will be about $4,736,007 higher than the league cap number. So, as of January 24th I project the Patriots to be under their projected cap number by about $5.3 million. So it appears that the Patriots will need to create cap space by releasing veterans or renegotiating existing contracts in order to stay under the cap during the 2016 season. 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 Mayo’s option was not picked up, his cap number would be lowered by $7,000,000, although the actual team savings would be only $6,475,000 because another player’s $525,000 base salary would be added to the team cap.

You can see all of the possible cap savings for all of the 2016 Patriots at patscap.com

Here are some possible ways that the Pats could free up cap space. Please note that I am NOT advocating nor I am suggesting that the Patriots do all of these salary-cap maneuvers. The bolded maneuvers are my current predictions for that particular player. Am NOT predicting that the Patriots will do all of the bolded moves, just that if they do a move with a player, that it will be the bolded one. There is no need for the Patriots to do all of the bolded moves. The players are listed in descending 2016 cap number. Please note that following some option will result in increasing the player’s cap numbers for future seasons.

1.) Convert 8 million of Tom Brady’s 2016 salary into a signing bonus lowering his 2016 cap number from $15 million to $11 million while increasing his 2017 cap number from $16 million to $20 million

2.) Not pick up Jerod Mayo’s option creating net cap savings of $6.425 million.

3.) Lower’s Mayo’ 2016 cash intake from $8 million to 1 million for a net cap savings of 7 million

4.) Trade Chandler Jones for a net cap savings of $7,274,000

5.) Sign Chandler Jones to an extension. A deal that is slightly better than Robert Quinn’s would create $1.249 million in cap space
Chandler Jones' extension

6.)Sign Donta’ Hightower to an extension. A deal that is slightly better than Bobby Wagner’s would create $1.301 million in cap space
Donta' Hightower's extension

7.) Extend or Restructure Danny Amendola’s deal giving him a signing bonus in return for a lower salary in 2016 with a chance to make up some of the lost money in with incentives – net cap savings of between $2 million and $3 million

8.) Cut Danny Amendola for a net cap savings of $4,070,832

9.) Release Sebastian Vollmer for a net cap savings of $2.6 million

10.) Extend Jabaal Sheard through the 2020 season for a net cap savings of 1 million.
Jabaal Sheard' extension

11.) Release Marcus Cannon for a net cap savings of $3,162,500

12.) Release Rob Ninkovich for a net cap savings of $1.475 million.

13.) Release Brandon Lafell for a net cap savings of $2.15 million

14.) Release Scott Chandler for a net cap savings of $1.525 million

15.) Not pick up Alan Branch’s option for a net cap savings of $1.875 million

16.) Release Josh Kline for a net cap savings of $1.4 million

17.) Have Chris Jones take a paycut from $1.696 million with a chance to earn some money by reaching incentives – net cap savings ranging from 600K to 800K.

18.) Waive Chris Jones for a net cap savings of around $1 million

19.) Waive Aaron Dobson for a net cap savings of $347,505

20.) Waive Jon Bostic for a net cap savings of $417,381

21.) Waive Ishmaa’ily Kitchen for a net cap savings of $160,000

Here are the moves that I think that will happen

Extend Hightower
Restructure Danny Amendola
Release Lafell
Not pick up Mayo’s option
Release Scott Chandler
Release Marcus Cannon
Waive Chris Jones

As you can see from above, the Pats could create overĀ 20 million in cap space if they chose to do all of my bolded predictions.

The Patriots may wait to do the other bolded moves for when they need to create cap space or during roster cutdowns.

You can follow me on Twitter at @patscap.

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Posted Under: Free Agency
Tags: hightower

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