By Hal Bent
With the New England Patriots on their bye week this weekend, there are numerous questions surrounding the team: is the offensive explosion against Pittsburgh an outlier or the new normal for the offense? Has anyone ever seen injured defensive tackle Armond Armstead? Is he a mirage or does he really exist? Will there be eleven healthy players on the defense by the end of the regular season or will the Patriots be running out Marquice Cole and ten un-drafted free agents?
One concept that the team needs to always be focused on is the long-term contract situations, extensions, and contract restructuring and reworking. Although the team does not always take care of contracts during the season, the bye week is the perfect time to look at the team’s contract situations on the horizon in 2014.
With former tight end Aaron Hernandez suiting up for the Bristol County Penitentiary, the team will go into 2014 with a $7.5 million dead money charge on the cap due to his release (all cap numbers courtesy of OvertheCap.com). There are certain players who have hardly stepped foot on the field whose release could free up money quite painlessly such as defensive backs Tavon Wilson and Adrian Wilson. Their releases would save about $1.5 million combined salary cap space if they were cut.
Add in some veterans who might be in line for extensions and or reworking their contracts and cap space should again be readily available to lock up some younger veterans. Letting go of newly acquired defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga would free up $2.75 million in cap space. Fellow defensive tackle Vince Wilfork has a cap number of $11.6 million, guard Logan Mankins is at $10.6 million and guard Dan Connolly is a pinch over $4 million in cap space taken up.
Besides reworking those veterans and their high cap numbers, there are several free agents to address...click here for much more! http://cover32.com/patriots/2013/11/07/new-england-patriots-bye-week-2014-salary-cap-check-in/
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