With free agency slowing down, the New England Patriots found themselves among the teams with the least financial wiggle room in the NFL: according to the Boston Sports Journal’s Miguel Benzan, the club entered the day only $2.54 million under the salary cap. Needless to say that moves were needed to create some more space — and it looks as if the reigning world champions did just that.
As first reported by ESPN’s Field Yates, the Patriots created an additional $5.67 million in cap space for the 2019 season by converting $8.5 million of cornerback Stephon Gilmore’s $9.5 million base salary into a signing bonus. The move, brings the Patriots’ cap number up to roughly $8.21 million now while simultaneously increasing Gilmore’s cap charges for the remainder of his contract — i.e. the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
Moves like this one are not uncommon in the NFL, and beneficial to both the club and the player. New England generates more financial flexibility, especially considering that the team is reportedly looking to re-sign free agent kicker Stephen Gostkowski. Gilmore, meanwhile, sees an additional $3.5 million of his salary become fully guaranteed — $5.0 million already reached that status last week.
It is also not the first time the NFL’s best cornerback sees his deal altered: in October last year, the Patriots converted $4.95 million of his base salary into a fully guaranteed roster bonus that was prorated over a four-year span.