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Patscap breaks down the Chandler Jones trade – Updated after the 2016 draft

Miguel Benzan
Miguel Benzan on Twitter
5 years ago at 1:28 pm ET
Posted Under: Individual Salary Cap

On March 15 2016 the New England Patriots traded Chandler Jones, a 2012 first round pick, to the Arizona Cardinals, for Jonathan Cooper, a 2013 first round pick and the Cardinals’ 2016 2nd round pick, the 61st pick overall. During the 2016 draft the Patriots traded the 61st pick to the New Orleans Saints for the 78th overall pick which was used to select offensive lineman Joe Thuney and the 112nd overall pick which was used to select wide receiver Malcolm Mitcell.

What does this trade mean for the Patriots?

It clears $4,172,091 in 2016 cap space as Jones’ $7.779 million salary will be replaced by
* Jonathan Cooper’s 2016 cap number of $2,388,954
* Joe Thuney’s projected 2016 cap number of $643,457
* Malcolm Mitchell’s projected 2016 cap number of $594,498
for a total of $3,626,909

I would summarize the trade as Chandler Jones for Jonathan Cooper, Joe Thuney, Malcolm Mitchell and $3.6 million in 2016 cap space.

Please note that Jonathan Cooper’s 2016 salary is $675,000. Cooper has a $1,713,954 roster bonus that is payable the 5th day of training camp.

Since Jones’ 2016 cap hit was entirely composed of his salary, there is no dead money cost with this trade for the Patriots. The Cardinals, on the other hand, have $2,240,273 in dead money by trading Cooper.

Starting in 2011 teams have the option to pick up a fifth year on their first round draft picks. Quoting CBA – Exercise Period. A Club has the unilateral right to extend from four years to five years the term of any Rookie Contract of a player selected in the first round of the Draft (the “Fifth-Year Option”). To do so, the Club must give written notice to the player after the final regular season game of the player’s third season but prior to May 3 of the following League Year (i.e., year four of the contract).

Jonathan Cooper was drafted 7th overall by the Cardinals in the 2013 draft. Per the CBA his option shall equal be the 2016 Transition Tender for players at the same position that he played the most snaps in 2015. In Cooper’s case that would be the offensive linemen – $11.902M. If the Patriots do pick up the option, Cooper’s 2017 salary would be guaranteed for injury only. It would be become fully guaranteed when the 2017 League Year begins sometime in March of 2017.

Some frequently asked questions about the Chandler Jones trade

Q: Do the Patriots have any dead money associated with this trade?
A: None

Q: How much cap space did the trade create on March 15?
A: $5,410,046 – the difference between Chandler Jones’ 2016 cap number and Jonathan Cooper’s 2016 cap number.

Q: How much cap space do the Patriots now have as of May 1?
A: $5,437,672 which does NOT include the impact of signing of the 2016 draft class.

Q: What is Jonathan Cooper’s Patriots salary cap number?
A: $2,388,954

Q: Were you surprised by this trade?
A: No. Predicted that Jones would be traded. Thought the trade would happen closer to the draft.

Q: What are the compensatory pick implications from this trade?
A: If he signs elsewhere after the 2016 season Chandler Jones would count as a free agent loss for the Cardinals and not the Patriots. If the Patriots do not pick up Cooper’s option he will then become an UFA after the 2016 season and if he signs elsewhere he then becomes eligible for the 2018 compensatory pick calculations

Q: How does this trade affect the 2017 cap space?
A: It will definitely decrease it. As of May 1, 2016 it will decrease it by $1,417,955 – the total of Joe Thuney and Malcolm Mitchell’s 2017 cap numbers. Add $11,902,000 (Cooper’s 2017 salary) if the Patriots pick up Cooper’s option. I project Joe Thuney’s 2017 cap number to be $733,457 while also projecting Malcolm Mitchell’s 2017 cap number to be $684,498

Q: Was this trade done to help extend Dont’a Hightower?
A: Doubtful since any 2016 extension would have lowered Hightower’s 2016 cap number of $7.751 million.

Q: Was this trade done to help extend Jamie Collins?
A: Very possible since any 2016 extension would have increased Jamie Collins’ 2016 cap number of $1,196,683.

Q: Was this trade done to help extend Malcolm Butler?
A: Very possible since any 2016 extension would have increased Butler’ 2016 cap number of $600,000.

Q: Was this trade done to help extend Logan Ryan?
A: Very possible since any 2016 extension would have increased Logan Ryan’s 2016 cap number of $1,811,813.

Q: What other teammates of Chandler Jones could possibly benefit from his trade?
A: The increased cap space makes it easier for the Patriots to not release a Marcus Cannon/ or ask Danny Amendola to redo his deal or offset increasing Edelman’s 2016 cap number.

Q: What do you now expect the Patriots do with this cap space?
A: Expect them to extend Hightower and Collins this year.

Q: Can the Patriots now extend Cooper?
A: Yes

Q: If the Patriots cut Jonathan Cooper before his roster bonus is due what would be the dead money?
A: $2,388,954 if not claimed on waivers. $0 if claimed.

Q: If the Patriots cut Jonathan Cooper in September as part of the roster cutdowns what would be the dead money?
A: $2,388,954 if not claimed on waivers. $1,713,954 if claimed.

Q: If the Patriots do not pick up Jonathan Cooper’s option can they place the franchise tag on him in 2017?
A: Yes

Q: Can the patriots pick up Jonathan Cooper’s option and then cut him before 2017 league year for zero dead money?
A: If he is not injured at the end of the 2016 season, yes. If injured, Pats would be on the hook for his 11.902 million salary.

Q: Why does this trade make sense for the Patriots?
A: Because of the position he plays – pass-rushing defensive end Chandler Jones is going to be paid the most out of all the defenders on the Patriots even though he is not the Patriots best defensive player. Trade allows Patriots to build around Hightower, Collins, Butler and Jabaal Sheard. If the Patriots were to tag Chandler Jones in 2017 it would have cost between 15 and 16 million. Picking up Jonathan Cooper’s option is 3 to 4 million dollars cheaper.

Q: What is the deadline to extend Hightower, Collins, and Butler in 2016?
A: To take advantage of prorating any signing bonuses the deadline is the day before the end of the regular season.

Q: How much cap space is now needed to sign the 9 draft picks?
A: Somewhere between $825,000 and $1,075,000 depending on who is the Top 51 list when they are signed.

Q: What Patriot may now be the most nervous about their roster spot?
A: Josh Kline. He has a 2 million cap number with a $500,000 in dead money if cut before 6/2. $250,000 in both 2016 and in 2017 if cut during roster cutdowns.

Q: How does this trade help the Patriots with using the franchise tag in 2017
A: It frees up the tag to be used if needed on Donta’s Hightower or Jamie Collins. The 2016 franchise tag on defensive ends was $15.701 million. The tag on linebackers was $14.129 million. That is a difference of over $1.5 million.

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Posted Under: Individual Salary Cap
Tags: chandler jones cooper

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