Based on first reports, the New England Patriots spent more than $250 million in total contractual value on the first two days of the NFL’s legal tampering period alone: they signed eight outside players and also kept two of their in-house free agents in the fold. As always, however, the initially reported numbers show only a fragment of the picture and need more details to be properly assessed.
Those details, at least when it comes to another one of the deals signed by the Patriots early during the legal tampering window on Monday, have now been reported by Albert Breer of Spots Illustrated: Nelson Agholor had reportedly agreed to a two-year, $26 million pact with New England, but as the more thorough breakdown shows, the actual impact on the team’s books is a bit smaller than that.
Miguel Benzan, better known as Pats Cap on Twitter, went on to outline the deal in greater detail. Let’s take a look at it
WR Nelson Agholor: Two years, $22 million
- Salary: $10 million
- Signing bonus: $10 million
- Roster bonuses: $2 million
- Cap numbers: $7 million (2021), $15 million (2022)
Agholor’s deal with the Patriots is pretty straight forward. His signing and roster bonuses are split between the two years, while he is playing on salaries of $1 million and $9 million, respectively. Where the deal becomes interesting is the guaranteed portion: the entirety of his salary this season is guaranteed, as are $5 million of next year’s. As a result, Agholor’s dead money charge would outweigh the potential cap savings created via release in 2022. Unless traded after his first season as a Patriot, the wideout is here to stay.
For a more comprehensive breakdown, please take a look at this graphic.
While Agholor can only reach the initially reported total value of the deal through $2 million worth of escalators classified as not likely to be earned, the Patriots are paying him quite handsomely after he spent the 2020 season on a minimum salary contract: he is getting starter-level money over the next two seasons and should therefore be expected to play a prominent role within their passing game at least this year.
That being said, New England did not overspend when comparing him to other wideouts in the league. His 2021 cap number is currently ranked 27th in the NFL, according to Over the Cap, which means he is behind players such as Randall Cobb, Alshon Jeffery and Jamison Crowder who all posted worse or similar statistics last year. All in all, Agholor’s contract is therefore a reasonable one that is giving the team some flexibility heading into 2022.
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