The New England Patriots needed to create roughly $900,000 in salary cap space in order to finalize their trade for Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker. They did so by reportedly restructuring the contract of defensive lineman Deatrich Wise Jr.
According to ESPN’s Field Yates, New England converted $2.85 million of Wise Jr.’s base salary into a signing bonus to create a total of $1.9 million of additional cap space.
Wise Jr., 28, originally joined the Patriots as a fourth-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft. A solid rotational presence, who found success both on the edge and along the interior of the defensive line, he signed a four-year, $22 million extension last March.
As part of that deal, the Arkansas product was scheduled to play on a $4 million base salary this upcoming season. That number has now been reduced to $1.15 million, with the difference converted into a signing bonus. As a result, that sum has become fully guaranteed but will hit the Patriots’ books spread out over the remainder of the deal.
In turn, Wise Jr.’s salary cap hit goes down from $6.19 million to $4.29 million. His cap numbers in both 2023 and 2024, meanwhile, increase by $950,000 and will now stand at $7.2 million in each of those years.
Wise Jr. entered the offseason coming off a solid 2021 campaign. Seeing prominent action in 17 out of 18 games and once again lining up all over the Patriots’ D-line, he was on the field for 562 of 1,135 defensive snaps (49.5%). Along the way, he registered a combined 28 quarterback disruptions — including 1.5 sacks — and also recovered a fumble and notched 39 tackles in the running game.
Converting his salary into a signing bonus does not change his outlook for the 2022 season: Wise Jr. remains a de facto lock to make the roster as a starter-level lineman. However, the move does allow the Patriots to bring Parker on board after they traded a 2023 third-round pick to Miami for the wideout and a 2022 fifth-round draft choice.
That said, it will not remain the Patriots’ last transaction of its kind. The team, after all, will need to free up additional resources if it wants to be able to sign its draft class and account for additional expenses.