Patriots

Cap Crunch Part II: How can the Patriots create more cap space?

(Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

As promised in Part I, here's my attempt to explain and project how the Patriots will create cap space needed to operate the rest of the season and to maybe obtain a player via trade.

The contracts of the following players cannot be redone per the CBA, since the drafted player has not yet played three years of their rookie deal.

  1. Joe Thuney
  2. Deatrich Wise
  3. Derek Rivers
  4. Keion Crossen
  5. Sony Michel

The contracts of the following players cannot be redone per the CBA since these UDFA's (undrafted free agent) have not yet played two years of their rookie deal.

  1. Jacob Hollister
  2. Adam Butler
  3. Keionta Davis
  4. J.C. Jackson

Since the player's salary is at the minimum for a player with his number of credited seasons, any restructure can only increase the cap numbers for the following players.

  1. Geneo Grissom
  2. Josh Gordon
  3. Elandon Roberts
  4. Brian Schwenke
  5. Nicholas Grigsby
  6. Jonathan Jones
  7. Ted Karras
  8. Kenjon Barner
  9. Cole Croston
  10. Joe Cardona
  11. Brian Hoyer
  12. Patrick Chung

So the Patriots are left with these 32 players to create cap space.

  1. Tom Brady
  2. Stephon Gilmore
  3. Devin McCourty
  4. Rob Gronkowski
  5. Dont'a Hightower
  6. Marcus Cannon
  7. Stephen Gostkowski
  8. Adrian Clayborn
  9. Dwayne Allen
  10. Duron Harmon
  11. Julian Edelman
  12. Lawrence Guy
  13. Kyle Van Noy
  14. Shaq Mason
  15. Jason McCourty
  16. Chris Hogan
  17. Cordarrelle Patterson
  18. James White
  19. Malcom Brown
  20. David Andrews
  21. Trey Flowers
  22. Danny Shelton
  23. Matthew Slater
  24. Nate Ebner
  25. Ryan Allen
  26. Trent Brown
  27. James Develin
  28. LaAdrian Waddle
  29. Phillip Dorsett
  30. Brandon King
  31. Eric Rowe
  32. John Simon

However, since the salaries of the following players are fully guaranteed per a clause in their deals, cutting them now will not remove their 2018 salary from the Patriots salary cap.

  1. Tom Brady
  2. Stephon Gilmore
  3. Dont'a Hightower
  4. Marcus Cannon
  5. Adrian Clayborn
  6. Kyle Van Noy
  7. Shaq Mason
  8. Danny Shelton

Also, the salaries of the following players are now fully guaranteed via the termination pay benefit so cutting the player will not remove their 2018 salary from the Patriots salary cap.

  1. Devin McCourty
  2. Rob Gronkowski
  3. Stephen Gostkowski
  4. Dwayne Allen
  5. Duron Harmon
  6. Lawrence Guy
  7. Jason McCourty
  8. Chris Hogan
  9. Cordarrelle Patterson
  10. James White
  11. Matthew Slater
  12. Nate Ebner
  13. Ryan Allen
  14. James Develin
  15. LaAdrian Waddle
  16. John Simon

Therefore, the easiest way for the Patriots to create cap space would be to waive/trade one of the following players and replace them on the 53-man roster with a player making a smaller salary.

  1. Malcom Brown
  2. Julian Edelman
  3. David Andrews
  4. Trey Flowers
  5. Trent Brown
  6. Phillip Dorsett
  7. Brandon King
  8. Eric Rowe

Out of the above eight players, Malcom Brown seems to be the most likely player to be traded or cut. Please note that his suspension voided Julian Edelman's salary guarantee.

Thus, we are left with the Patriots creating cap space in ways that they have not typically done under the new CBA. Those ways being:

1.) Adding voidable years to a player's deal
2.) Converting salary into a signing bonus

Since during the Bill Belichick era, the Patriots have never