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2022 NFL free agency: Patriots reportedly free up $1.25 million in cap space by restructuring Henry Anderson’s contract

Related: Quick-hit thoughts on the Patriots trading Shaq Mason to the Buccaneers

NFL: AUG 19 Preseason - Patriots at Eagles Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A few days after trading away guard Shaq Mason, the New England Patriots have made another move to increase their salary cap space. As first reported by ESPN’s Field Yates, the team has restructured the contract of defensive lineman Henry Anderson to create net savings of $1.25 million.

New England reduced his original base salary of $2.5 million by half, but simultaneously gave him the option of making up the difference through playtime incentives. Because these incentives are considered not likely to be earned, however, they are not counted against the Patriots’ 2022 cap.

If Anderson ends up meeting those new requirements, the incentives will be counted towards the team’s 2023 salary cap.

Anderson originally arrived in New England on a two-year, $7 million contract last offseason. However, the veteran defender suffered a pectoral injury in early October that forced him to prematurely end his season after four games. Up until that point, he was mainly used as a package player and had a limited impact on the team’s defensive fortunes: playing just 35 defensive snaps, Anderson registered three tackles and one quarterback pressure.

The 30-year-old was therefore seen as a realistic candidate to either get released or see his contract restructured this offseason. The Patriots opted to go the latter route, keeping the rotational defensive lineman in the fold while also increasing their cap space.

According to Miguel Benzan, the team is $12.44 million under the cap. The recently reported contracts signed by linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley and running back/wide receiver Ty Montgomery are not yet part of the calculation, however.