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Projecting what another Danny Amendola pay cut could look like

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Despite how cherished he has become in the eyes of his fans, even Danny Amendola himself realizes he’ll have to restructure his contract again to stay in New England. Here’s why it must happen, and how it could impact the team’s salary cap.

NFL: Preseason-Green Bay Packers at New England Patriots David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Talks of a Danny Amendola pay cut have officially become an annual tradition in Foxborough. With the inevitable discussion of his 2017 cap figure on the horizon since, well, his last restructure, Amendola knows what to expect.

As first reported Sunday evening by CSNNE's Michael Giardi, Danny Amendola is "receptive" to taking another pay cut to stay with the Patriots.

In his four years with the Patriots, the undrafted veteran has steadily won over the fan base, but his knack for making the clutch play in big spots hasn't been the sole reason. His willingness to remain with organization by absorbing his two previous pay cuts has made him an endearing, blue collar, team-first type of figure.

The public's reverence for Amendola, particularly in the wake of his Super Bowl 51 performance, coupled with the team's abundance of salary cap space (approximately $61.5 million), has led some to ask why New England wouldn't just keep Amendola at his current 2017 contract, which pays him a $6 million salary and $500,000 in per-game bonuses, as a reward of sorts. Before going any further, this notion must be completely squashed.

The Patriots do not compensate players for past performance. This is not new. It is a fundamental principle that the team has operated with throughout the Belichick era.

Miguel Benzan of patscap.com provided further insight on Sunday into why Amendola, the team’s third (and at times, fourth) wide receiver, will not return with his current 2017 cap figure:

For context, according to overthecap.com, the 20th highest wide receiver cap hit for 2017 is DeAndre Hopkins, while the 22nd is Brandon Marshall.


For those in the "Danny deserves to be paid!" crowd still refusing to let go, take the following exercise below.

Of these two “mystery players” which is Danny Amendola, and which is Julian Edelman?

Totals for the 2013-2016 Seasons, inlcudes incentives:

*Figures compiled using patscap.com*

Player A

Active for 55 regular season games out of 64 possible

Active for 10 playoff games out of 10 possible

Average cash received per year: $3,593,593

Four year cash total: $14,374,375

Player B

Active for 54 regular season games out of 64 possible

Active for 10 playoff games out of 10 possible

Average cash received per year: $4,066,708

Four year cash total: $16,266,835

Regardless of which “mystery player” he is, the mere fact that Amendola’s cash totals closely resemble Edelman’s (the team’s number one wideout) exonerates the Patriots of any perceived “lowballing”. However, Amendola is in fact “player B”, and has out-earned Edelman since joining the club in 2013. Amendola has been more than adequately compensated, and it becomes even clearer when considering Rob Gronkowski’s totals over the past four seasons:

Active for 45 regular season games out of 64 possible

Active for 5 playoff games out of 10 possible

Average cash received per year: $4,579,688

Four year cash total: $18,318,750

Indeed Amendola has earned just $2,051,915 (or $512,978 per year) less than Gronk since joining the club in 2013.


When projecting what Amendola’s 2017 restructure could look like, a few things are important to keep in mind.

  • As Amendola heads into his ninth year in the NFL, the minimum salary he can earn in 2017 is $900,000.
  • There is still a $1,416,668 signing bonus proration cap charge remaining from his previous deals. This will be applied to New England’s 2017 cap regardless of whether or not Amendola is on the team. If he is cut, it will simply be classified as dead money.
  • In the past two seasons, Amendola has received $4,280,460 in cash earnings, or $2,140,320 per year.
  • Amendola’s deal currently includes $500,000 in per-game roster bonuses and, according to patscap.com also a $500,000 incentive bonus for 90+ receptions.
  • Each of the last two restructures have included prorated signing bonuses.

Here is an example of what a newly restructured deal for Amendola could look like:

2 years, $6.25 million, $1.75 million guaranteed

2017:

$1,250,000 Salary - Guaranteed

$500,000 Roster Bonus - Guaranteed upon signing

$500,000 46-man Active Roster Bonus ($31,250 per game)

$500,000 Incentives (unspecified)

2017 cap charge: $3,541,668

2018

$2,000,000 Salary

$500,000 Roster Bonus - Due on the first day of the 2018 league year

$500,000 46-man Active Roster Bonus ($31,250 per game)

$500,000 Incentive bonus (unspecified)

2018 cap charge: $3,000,000

A deal like this would generally keep in line with his previous pay cuts, while also compensating him accordingly as the team’s third wide receiver. If Edelman maximizes his cash intake in 2017 he will receive $5 million. Should Hogan do the same, he would receive $2,968,750. Amendola’s maximum cash figure would be $2.75 million.

With this year’s abundance in cap space, there is no need for a prorated signing bonus that would just increase future potential dead money. The 2018 roster bonus would also force the team to make another decision at this point next year, which would allow this annual tradition in Foxborough to continue.

Follow Brian Phillips on Twitter - @b7phillips