When the New England Patriots acquired wide receiver Mohamed Sanu via trade earlier this week, they inherited a salary cap hit of $3.5 million — not necessarily a lot for a productive and proven player, but still significant for a team that had limited resources available at the time that the transaction was made. In fact, the Patriots needed to create additional cap space in order to fit the former Atlanta Falcons wideout under their payroll.
As first reported by Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap on Wednesday night, the team has decided to restructure the contract of right guard Shaq Mason. ESPN’s Field Yates added further details to the original report on Thursday morning: the Patriots have converted $1.75 million of Mason’s $4.0 million base salary this season into a fully guaranteed signing bonus — a move that created $1.4 million in additional wiggle room on their 2019 salary cap.
The $1.4 million were subsequently used to acquire both Sanu as well as free agency addition Justin Bethel. In turn, Mason’s salary cap hits over the remainder of his deal will go up by $350,000 each year — his signing bonus spread out over the years left on his deal. The 26-year-old, after all, signed a five-year contract extension with the Patriots last August and is under contract through the 2023 season.