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How can the New England Patriots create even more cap space – Updated as of March 23, 2016

Miguel Benzan
Miguel Benzan on Twitter
7 years ago at 4:03 pm ET
Posted Under: Free Agency

As of March 23rd, I have the Patriots 2016 total cap commitments as $150,678,445. The $150,678,445 is for the 72 players on the Patriots roster and it includes the $6,798,400 dead money associated to the contracts that were terminated. The 2016 League cap has been announced to be $155,270,000. The Patriots adjusted cap number of $159,642,451 is $4,372,451 higher than the League Cap because the Patriots carried over $1,347,882 in 2015 cap space to 2016 plus had $3,024,569 in adjustments. So, as of March 23rd I have the Patriots to be under their adjusted cap number by about $9 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 Marcus Cannon is released, his cap number would be lowered by $3,687,500 although the actual team savings would be only $3,087,500 because another player’s $600,000 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

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.

Please also note that there are over hundreds of ways for the Pats to create cap space. For the sake of brevity, I am choosing not to list them all since most of them are never going to happen. For example, the Patriots could create $7,151,000 in cap space by cutting Dont’a Hightower.

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.

This list should cover all of the names mentioned by Twitter followers for cap savings possibilities.

1.)Sign Donta’ Hightower to an extension. A deal that is slightly better than Luke Kuechly’s would create $1.251 million in cap space
Donta' Hightower's extension

2.) 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

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

4.) Extend Danny Amendola through the 2018 season so instead of paying him $12 million in cash for two years pay him $12 million for three years.

5.) Give Danny Amendola a paycut of at least $2 million.

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

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

8.) Release Marcus Cannon for a net cap savings of $3,087,500

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

10.) Release Josh Kline for a net cap savings of $900,000.

11.) Have Chris Jones take a paycut from $1.671 million with a chance to earn some money by reaching incentives – net cap savings ranging from 600K to 800K.

12.) Release Jonathan Freeny for a net cap savings of $887,500

13.) Waive Chris Jones for a net cap savings of $1.071 million

14.) Release KeShawn Martin for a net cap savings of $75,000

15.) Release Brandon Bolden for a net cap savings of $522,500

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

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

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

Note that I was asked about the cap ramifications of releasing Nate Solder. Doing so would cause the Patriots to lose cap space since his 2016 cap number would increase from $10,322,666 to $14,333,334 as his 2017 signing bonus proration would accelerate into 2016 and his 2016 salary is fully guaranteed.

Here are the moves that I think that will happen

Extend Hightower
Restructure Danny Amendola

As you can see from above, the Pats could create close over 9 million in cap space if they chose to do all of my bolded predictions. Add the 9 million to the current number of $9 million and we get $18 million.

$18 million should be more than enough to cover the following

* Extend Jamie Collins

* the 2016 draft class – between $400,000 and $1.5 million in cap space depending on how many draft picks the Patriots end up and where they are in the draft.

* 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, Amendola, Lewis, Edelman, Vollmer, Solder, Gronkowski, McCourty, and Chung. If all twelve players play in all sixteen games in 2016, the Patriots will then lose $1.496 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 – $4 to $ 7 million.

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

The Patriots may wait to do other cap-savings 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: amendola cannon hightower

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