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Projecting the contracts of the New England Patriots 19 free agents – Updated on February 13th

Miguel Benzan
Miguel Benzan on Twitter
6 years ago at 9:15 am ET
Posted Under: Free Agency

The New England Patriots as well as the rest of the NFL will have several free agents set to hit the market in March. Free agency will begin at 4PM, March 9th. Teams can start to release players on February 8th. Released veterans can then be immediately signed by another team while players with less than 4 accrued seasons go through the waiver season.

February 13 update – Corrected Kevin Hughes’s status. Earlier thought that he would become an ERFA. Learned that he will actually become a RFA. Polled my Twitter followers on what the Patriots will do with their RFAs. Included the results.

Some basic definitions –

Accrued Season
The number of accrued seasons determines the free agency status for the player. To gain an accrued season the player must be at full pay status for a minimum of 6 regular season games. They player does not gain an accrued season if the player is on Reserve PUP, Commissioner’s Exempt List, or a team’s practice squad. Games on IR do count in the accrued season calculation.

Exclusive Rights Free Agent – ERFA
A player with 2 or less accrued seasons at the completion of their contract.

Restricted Free Agent
A player with 3 or less accrued seasons at the completion of their contract. The team can choose one of three right of refusal tenders on the player. A first round tender, second round tender, or original draft position tender. Each tender has an assigned contract value amount. Another team can attempt to sign the player to a new contract, but the original team has the right to match it. If the original team does not match they will receive draft value equaling the original tender. The minimum increase in the RFA tender is 5% while the maximum is 10%. Last year’s low RFA tender was $1.542 million. So the range for the low RFA tender in 2016 is between $1.691 and $1.696 million. RFAs can negotiate with other teams starting at the beginning of the League Year. The RFA tender is not guaranteed so the player can then be waived without any dead money. There are 3 RFA tender levels (1st round tender, $2.516 million for the 2nd round tender, and $1.647 million for the original round. If a team places a 1st round tender on a RFA and another team signs that player to a tender offer and the player’s old team does not match the player will get the new team’s 2016 first round pick. The deadline to sign RFAs to offer sheets is 4PM April 22nd.

Unrestricted Free Agent
A player with 4 or more accrued seasons at the completion of their contract. Unrestricted free agents are free to sign with any team as soon as they become a free agent. Unrestricted free agents become part of the 2017 compensatory picks calculation.

My look at NFL free agency will start off with the Patriots free agents.

The below graphic lists the snaps played. The total snaps sums up the player’s snaps on special teams and the player’s snaps on his unit (offense/defense).

Patriots 2016 free agents Snaps

The below graphic lists the projected tenders for the 19 free agents. As you can see below, it is very unlikely that the Patriots will be using the franchise tag this year.

2016 Patriots Free Agents Tenders

Cameron Fleming who will be an ERFA. Fleming has two accrued seasons (2014/2015). I expect the Patriots to tender him. His 2016 salary will be $600,000. It will not be not guaranteed. If tendered, Cameron Fleming must sign the tender in order to play in the NFL in 2016. If the Patriots do not tender Cameron Fleming, he will then become a street free agent at the start of free agency and the Patriots will not receive any compensation if he signs elsewhere. Level of confidence that Cameron Fleming will get tendered – 80%. Cap space taken up – $0 because the Patriots already have 51 players with cap hits of at least $600,000. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

CB Justin Coleman who will be an ERFA. Coleman has one accrued season (2015). I expect the Patriots to tender him. His 2016 salary will be $525,000. It will not be not guaranteed. If tendered, Justin Coleman must sign the tender in order to play in the NFL in 2016. If the Patriots do not tender Justin Coleman, he will then become a street free agent at the start of free agency and the Patriots will not receive any compensation if he signs elsewhere. Level of confidence that Justin Coleman will get tendered – 100%. Cap space taken up – $0 because the Patriots already have 51 players with cap hits of at least $600,000. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

S Brandon King who will be an ERFA. King has one accrued season (2015). I expect the Patriots to tender him. His 2016 salary will be $525,000. It will not be not guaranteed. If tendered, Brandon King must sign the tender in order to play in the NFL in 2016. If the Patriots do not tender Brandon King, he will then become a street free agent at the start of free agency and the Patriots will not receive any compensation if he signs elsewhere. Level of confidence that Brandon King will get tendered – 100%. Cap space taken up – $0 because the Patriots already have 51 players with cap hits of at least $600,000. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

WR Josh Boyce who will be an ERFA. Boyce has two accrued seasons (2014/2015). I expect the Patriots to tender him. His 2016 salary will be $525,000. It will not be not guaranteed. If tendered, Josh Boyce must sign the tender in order to play in the NFL in 2016. If the Patriots do not tender Josh Boyce, he will then become a street free agent at the start of free agency and the Patriots will not receive any compensation if he signs elsewhere. Because he was placed on Injured Reserve before the start of the 2015 regular season (August 31) and Boyce’s name was not shown on the Patriots.Com roster the entire season my level of confidence that Josh Boyce will get tendered is 50%. That is, I go back and forth on whether Boyce will get tendered. I understand the argument for not tendering him – time to move on. Cap space taken up – $0 because the Patriots already have 51 players with cap hits of at least $600,000. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

LB Rufus Johnson who will be an ERFA. Johnson has one accrued season (2015). I expect the Patriots to tender him. His 2016 salary will be $525,000. It will not be not guaranteed. If tendered, Rufus Johnson must sign the tender in order to play in the NFL in 2016. If the Patriots do not tender Rufus Johnson, he will then become a street free agent at the start of free agency and the Patriots will not receive any compensation if he signs elsewhere. Rufus Johnson was signed to a futures contract on January 7th and was placed on Non-Football Injury on October 25. Confidence level that Rufus Johnson will get tendered is 60% only because he plays the linebacker position. Cap space taken up – $0 because the Patriots already have 51 players with cap hits of at least $600,000. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

In January, 2015 the Patriots signed Brandon Bolden to a two-year extension. Bolden was scheduled to be a RFA in March, 2015. The low RFA tender in 2015 was $1.542 million. While in January the exact amount of the low RFA tender level was not known it was known what its range could be between $1,503,000 and $1,574,000. Below are the details of the Bolden’s deal.

2015:
Signing bonus: $300,000
Base salary: $660,000
Roster bonus: $200,000 ($12,500 per game on 46-man roster)
Workout bonus: $25,000
Cap hit: $1.035 million – Savings from the low RFA tender was over $500,000.

2016:
Base salary: $760,000
Roster bonus: $350,000 ($21,875 per game on 46-man roster)
Workout bonus: $25,000
Cap hit: $1.285 million

While its exact amount is not known at the current time, we do know the range for the low RFA tender in 2016. Its lowest possible amount is $1,619,000. Its highest possible amount is $1,696,000.

It is likely that any 2016 extensions for the 5 RFAs (James Develin, Sealver Siliga, Kevin Hughes, Brian Tyms, and LaAdrian Waddle) will use Bolden’s as a template. If the Patriots do not tender a RFA, they will be a street at the start of free agency and the Patriots will not receive any compensation if he signs elsewhere.

James Develin

2016:
Signing bonus: $250,000
Base salary: $675,000
Roster bonus: $200,000 ($12,500 per game on 46-man roster)
Workout bonus: $25,000
Cap hit: $1,025,000 – Savings from the low RFA tender would be over $600,000. Cap space taken up – $425,000 because the Patriots already have 51 players with cap hits of at least $600,000. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

2017:
Base salary: $775,000
Roster bonus: $400,000 ($25,000 per game on 46-man roster)
Workout bonus: $25,000
Cap hit: $1.325 million

Asked my Twitter followers what will the Pats do with James Develin
The poll received 554 votes. Below are the results

66% sign him to a deal
23% Tender
11% Neither

LaAdrian Waddle

2016:
Signing bonus: $250,000
Base salary: $675,000
Roster bonus: $200,000 ($12,500 per game on 46-man roster)
Workout bonus: $25,000
Cap hit: $1,025,000 – Savings from the low RFA tender would be over $600,000. Cap space taken up – $425,000 because the Patriots already have 51 players with cap hits of at least $600,000. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

2017:
Base salary: $775,000
Roster bonus: $400,000 ($25,000 per game on 46-man roster)
Workout bonus: $25,000
Cap hit: $1.325 million

Asked my Twitter followers what will the Pats do with LaAdrian Waddle
The poll received 464 votes. Below are the results

23% sign him to a deal
32% Tender
45% Neither

Sealver Siliga

2016:
Signing bonus: $0
Base salary: $675,000
Roster bonus: $200,000 ($12,500 per game on 46-man roster)
Workout bonus: $25,000
Cap hit: $900,000 – Savings from the low RFA tender would be over $700,000. Cap space taken up – $300,000 because the Patriots already have 51 players with cap hits of at least $600,000. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

2017:
Base salary: $775,000
Roster bonus: $400,000 ($25,000 per game on 46-man roster)
Workout bonus: $25,000
Cap hit: $1.2 million

Asked my Twitter followers what will the Pats do with Sealver Siliga
This poll received 506 votes. Below are the results

36% sign him to a deal
38% Tender
26% Neither

Brian Tyms

2016:
Signing bonus: $0
Base salary: $675,000
Roster bonus: $200,000 ($12,500 per game on 46-man roster)
Workout bonus: $25,000
Cap hit: $900,000 – Savings from the low RFA tender would be over $700,000. Cap space taken up – $300,000 because the Patriots already have 51 players with cap hits of at least $600,000. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

Asked my Twitter followers what will the Pats do with Brian Tyms
The poll received 529 votes. Below are the results

18% sign him to a deal
30% Tender
52% Neither

Kevin Hughes

2016:
Signing bonus: $0
Base salary: $525,000
Roster bonus: $0
Workout bonus: $10,000
Cap hit: $535,000 – Savings from the low RFA tender would be over $1.1 million. Cap space taken up – $10,000 because the Patriots already have 51 players with cap hits of at least $600,000. We are in the period where not everyone’s salary is counted against the cap. Only the salaries of the players with the 51 highest cap numbers are.

If the Patriots do not tender a prospective RFA, he will then become a street free agent at the start of free agency and the Patriots will not receive any compensation if he signs elsewhere. If the Pats do tender a prospective RFA and another team signs him to an offer sheet and the Patriots do not match the offer sheet, the Patriots will not receive any compensation since the player was undrafted.

On January 9th I made these projections for the Patriots UFAs. Over a month later I will stick with most of them , exception being Nate Ebner.

LB Dekoda Watson – signed to a Minimum Salary Benefit deal – 2016 cap number = $680,000. Cap space taken up = $80,000.

OL Ryan Wendell – either signs with another team or retires.

CB Tarell Brown – signed to a similar deal in 2016 but since incentives are now NLTBE a smaller cap hit. Smaller signing bonus ($150K) and no week 1 $100,000 roster bonus. Deal would have $350,000 in 46-man active roster bonus. 2016 Cap number = $1,215,625. Cap space taken up = $615,265.

WR Brandon Gibson – Signed to a Minimum Salary Benefit deal – 2016 cap number = $680,000. Cap space taken up = $80,000.

WR KeShawn Martin – Signed to a small two-year incentive-laden deal- Already done. 2016 cap number=$1,287,500. Cap space taken up = $687,500.

DT Akiem Hicks – signs with another team in the hopes of more playing time and bigger contract than he would likely get from the Patriots.

RB LeGarette Blount – signs with the Patriots to another $1 million deal. Would include incentives starting at 750 yards and 30% playing-time so that they would be classified NLTBE (Not Likely to be Earned in 2016) as Blount rushed for 703 yards in 2015 while playing in 28% of the offensive snaps. Cap space taken up = $400,000.

RB Stephen Jackson – Retires

S Nate Ebner – On January 9th I projected that Ebner would be signed to a veteran minimum deal. Now think that he will sign a three-year deal with the Patriots similar to the 2014 Matthew Slater extension. Slater received a $2 million signing bonus and had $3 million guaranteed. I would guarantee Ebner $2 million. This deal positions Ebner to take on more Slater’s special-teams role in 2017 as Matthew Slater is not signed for the 2017 season.

2016:
Signing bonus: $1,200,000
Base salary: $800,000
Roster bonus: $200,000 ($12,500 per game on 46-man roster)
Cap hit: $1.4 million – Cap space taken up = $800,000

2017:
Base salary: $1,000,000
Roster bonus: $200,000 ($12,500 per game on 46-man roster)
Cap hit: $1.6 million

2018:
Base salary: $1,000,000
Roster bonus: $200,000 ($12,500 per game on 46-man roster)
Cap hit: $1.6 million

S Tavon Wilson – Signs with another team

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Posted Under: Free Agency
Tags: develin hicks

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