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My offseason plan for the 2016 New England Patriots

Miguel Benzan
Miguel Benzan on Twitter
6 years ago at 9:29 pm ET
Posted Under: Free Agency

As of January 29 I have the Patriots 2016 total cap commitment as $153,419,971. This total is AFTER the Patriots signed all of its practice squad players to 2016 contracts and presumes that the Patriots will tender all 5 ERFAs. There have been several projections for the 2016 League cap. I will use the latest projection of $154 million. I project that that the Patriots adjusted cap number will be about $4.7 million higher than the league cap number ($158,736,007) So, as of January 29 I project the Patriots to be under their 2016 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. There are plenty of opportunities to do both, thereby opening up millions of dollars under the cap.

10:20 PM update – Please note that during the roster cutdowns cap space will be created as lower-salaried players beat out veterans for roster spots. Example, if Kevin Snyder were to beat out Jonathan Freeney for a roster spot that would create close to $800,000 in cap space.

11:30 PM update – Noted that the $12.3 million should be enough to sign Brian Tyms, James Develin, Sealver Siliga, and Nate Ebner to deals for the 2016 season.

January 30, 10:30 AM update – Another reason for the amount of Amendola’s paycut is that I believe Edelman should get more cash than Amendola who is a lesser player. As of late January Edelman is due to receive $3.5 million if he plays all 16 games. Add another $500,000 to his total since if he does play 16 games he will earn his receptions incentive. Amendola is due to receive $5.5 million if he plays all 16 games.

There are two ways to address this imbalance.
1.) Increase Edelman’s cash intake
2.) Decrease Amendola’s cash intake

Option 2 is the more likely scenario this offseason.

January 31 – 9:15 AM Update – Why would the Patriots cut a player when it causes very little cap savings? Protect themselves from the possibility of the player who is probably not in their long-term plans from getting injured in offseason workout sessions, OTAs or training camp? Precedent-

Cameron Gordon LB 2015-05-18 Waived
Devin Gardner QB/WR 2015-05-18 Waived
Chimdi Chekwa CB 2015-05-18 Waived
Kyle Arrington CB 2015-05-11 Waived
Michael Buchanan DE 2015-05-07 Waived
Deontae Skinner LB 2015-05-05 Waived
Tyler Ott LS 2015-05-05 Waived
Alfonzo Dennard CB 2015-05-05 Waived

January 31 – 10PM update – Wanted to make clear that my offseason plan includes tendering the Patriots ERFAs (Cameron Fleming, Josh Boyce, Justin Coleman, Kevin Hughes, Rufus Johnson, and Brandon King)

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 Lafell was released, his cap number would be lowered by $2,675,000, although the actual team savings would be only $2,15,000 because another player’s $525,000 base salary would be added to the team cap.

Here’s my offseason plan for the 2016 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 a good number of alternative ways that the Patriots could create cap space.

1.) Not pick up Jerod Mayo’s option

2.) Release Brandon Lafell

3.) Release Scott Chandler

4.) Release Marcus Cannon

5.) Waive Jon Bostic

6.) Waive Aaron Dobson Why would the Patriots cut a player when it causes very little cap savings? Protect themselves from the possibility of the player who is probably not in their long-term plans from getting injured in offseason workout sessions, OTAs or training camp? 2015 Precedents –

Cameron Gordon LB 2015-05-18 Waived
Devin Gardner QB/WR 2015-05-18 Waived
Chimdi Chekwa CB 2015-05-18 Waived
Kyle Arrington CB 2015-05-11 Waived
Michael Buchanan DE 2015-05-07 Waived
Deontae Skinner LB 2015-05-05 Waived
Tyler Ott LS 2015-05-05 Waived
Alfonzo Dennard CB 2015-05-05 Waived

7.) Redo Danny Amendola’s deal lowering his $5 million salary to $1.5 million while giving him a 1m roster bonus with the chance to earn 1m back with incentives starting at 70 catches so that they would be considered NLTBE. Cap savings of $2.5 million. In 2015 his cash intake went from $4 million to $1.75m with a chance to earn $750K back. Am proposing that cash intake go from $5,437,500 to $2,937,500 with a chance to earn $750K. Pay cut is only $250,000 more than it was in 2015 while increasing cash intake from 2015. Have to credit Joel Corry @corryjoel for deal parameters. Another reason for the amount of Amendola’s paycut is that I believe Edelman should get more cash than Amendola who is a lesser player. As of late January Edelman is due to receive $3.5 million if he plays all 16 games. Add another $500,000 to his total since if he does play 16 games he will earn his receptions incentive. Amendola is due to receive $5.5 million if he plays all 16 games.

8.) Extend Donta’ Hightower through the 2020 season with a deal that would pay over $50 million over 5 years.
16 million signing bonus
Over 23 million guaranteed.
Cap numbers
2016 – 6.45m
2017 – 8.5m
2017 – 10.7m
2018 – 11.7m
2019 – 12.7m

9.) Extend Jamie Collins through the 2020 season with a deal that would pay $47.75 million over 5 years.
15 million signing bonus
22 million guaranteed.
Cap numbers
2016 – 5.5m
2017 – 8.5m
2017 – 10.25m
2018 – 11.5m
2019 – 12m

10.) Sign Tarell Brown to a similar deal as his 2015 deal except with a smaller signing bonus ($150K) and no week 1 $100,000 roster bonus. Deal would have $350,000 in 46-man active roster bonus. Cap number = $1,215,625

11.) Lower Chris Jones’ 2016 cap number to $800,000.

12.) Sign Matt Forte to a 3-year $12 million deal (same totals as an older Frank Gore got from the Colts last year)
Cap numbers in each year will equal $4 million

or go after a young, big wideout like a Marvin Jones, Mohammed Sanu, or a Rishard Matthews

13.) Sign a young tight end like a Dwayne Allen or a Ladarius Green. 2016 Cap number of $2.5 million

14.) Sign a veteran offensive lineman – 2016 cap number of $4 million.

15.) Extend Jabaal Sheard through the 2020 season with a deal that would pay $45 million over 5 years.
10 million signing bonus
16.5 million guaranteed.
Cap numbers
2016 – 5.8125m
2017 – 8.5m
2017 – 9.75m
2018 – 10.75m
2019 – 12m

16.) Tendering the Patriots ERFAs (Cameron Fleming, Josh Boyce, Justin Coleman, Kevin Hughes, Rufus Johnson, and Brandon King). Fleming at 600K. The others at 525K. They must accept offer if they wish to play in the NFL in 2016.

After all of these moves the Patriots would have $12,355,980 in cap space which is more than enough to pay for

* Sign Brian Tyms, James Develin, Sealver Siliga, and Nate Ebner to small deals (less than 1m each) for the 2016 season.

* the 2016 draft class – $1 million in cap space.

* Pay for players 52 and 53 – $900,000

* Pay for the 10-man practice squad – ($6,600 * 17 weeks * 10 players) = $1,122,000. Will round up to $1,500,000 since Patriots typically pay some practice squad players more than the minimum and the Patriots have cut players after 4PM Tuesday when the player has earned that week’s salary.

* Have a cushion for the NLTBE 46-man active roster bonuses that could be earned by Sheard, Bolden, Kline, Freeny, Fletcher, Amendola, Lewis Edelman, Vollmer, Solder, Gronkowski, McCourty, and Chung. If all thirteen players play in all sixteen games in 2016, the Patriots will then lose $1.5 million in cap space.

* Have a cushion for other reachable NLTBE incentives (1.5 million) which consist of Vollmer’s playing-time incentive ($1 million) and Edelman’s receptions incentives ($500,000).

* Have a cushion to replace injured players during preseason and regular season – $2 to $ 4 million.

* Have a cushion to extend players during regular season. $1 to $2 million.

The Pats would certainly have cap space to extend one of their starting cornerbacks (Logan Ryan or Malcolm Butler).

The Patriots would still have the capability of creating even more cap space by extending or trading Chandler Jones.

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Posted Under: Free Agency

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