The New England Patriots entered this weekend with a mere $1.64 million in salary cap space available – relatively little when compared to other clubs around the NFL, and possibly insufficient in case the team wanted to add a higher-priced player as a free agency pickup or via trade (the deadline is not even two weeks away). The Patriots trying to create additional wiggle room was therefore expected, the question was just how they would do it.
Now we know, at least in part: New England and cornerback Stephon Gilmore agreed to a contract restructure to free up almost $4 million in additional cap space (as first reported by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero):
The #Patriots recently did a simple restructure on Stephon Gilmore’s contract, freeing up a little over $3.7 million in 2018 cap space. They had been pretty tight up against the cap. Gilmore still due $9M this year and future years untouched.
ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss added more details to the original report shortly afterwards:
As @TomPelissero reported, CB Stephon Gilmore’s contract was tweaked to help give the Patriots needed cap space. Specifically, $4.95 million of his base salary was turned into a fully guaranteed roster bonus (prorated over 4 years), which created $3.71 million in cap space in ‘18
Before the restructure, Gilmore was on the Patriots’ pay roll with $12.5 million – the second highest cap number on the team behind only Tom Brady’s $22.0 million. With his cap hit now down to $8.8 million, New England was able to bring its available space up to $5.35 million. While this still ranks the team in the bottom half of the league, it creates additional flexibility from a financial perspective.
Meanwhile, Gilmore will not lose out on any money as his salary now becomes fully guaranteed and will hit the team’s pay roll over the remaining four seasons of his contract (adding $1.24 million to his salary cap hit each year). Safe to say that this is a win-win situation for both parties.