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New England's Front Office Strategy: Mid-Level Veteran Contracts

Justis Mosqueda of Optimum Scouting looked at New England's roster and finds they have invested heavily in what he calls mid-level veterans -- players with at least five years of experience with cap hits ranging from $1 million to $6 million per season. The Patriots have 19 such players, most of any playoff team, nearly double the average of the 12 teams in the postseason, and nearly four times as many as their opponents in the Super Bowl, the L.A. Rams.

"While most of the NFL has opted to lock in money into big veteran contracts, which often include a large signing bonus and two to three years of guaranteed salary, or rookie contracts, which also are also primarily based on guaranteed money at the top of the draft, the Patriots have chosen to sacrifice signing several star players for low-guarantee pay-as-you-go veteran contracts," Mosqueda explains. "This allows them to skip the growing pains of players transitioning from college football to the NFL while also giving them the flexibility to instantly drop a player whenever they can no longer perform up to their contract."

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5 comments, Last at 03 Feb 2019, 2:02am

1 Re: New England's Front Office Strategy

The patriots also save cap money by paying tom brady off the books in the form of paying his "company" Tb12. The NFL will never admit that it violates cap or league rules because doing so would question the legitimacy of how level the playing field in the NFL has been the last two decades.

4 Re: New England's Front Office Strategy

To inject some data, over the past 10 years Brady has averaged about $14.6mil cash earnings per year (I use cash because that's what players actually care about and is the actual $ that goes into their pockets).

Over the final 10 years of Manning, P.'s career he averaged about $16.6mil cash.

Over the past 10 years:
* Brees has averaged about $17.8mil cash
* Roethlisberger has averaged about $13.5mil cash.
* Rodgers has averaged about $18.5mil cash, though that is bumped up a [i]lot[/i] by his massive $57mil signing bonus in 2018 which was way bigger than anything Brady, Brees, Roethlisberger, or Manning, P. ever got.

(all numbers via SporTrac)

3 Re: New England's Front Office Strategy

I think this makes a ton of sense in an era where the salary cap is increasing more quickly than the blockbuster contracts, while there's a tremendous amount of uncertainty over the future of the league (will the concussion problem lead to declined viewership on the 10-year horizon; what about the 2020 CBA; etc). Get a lot of short-term, mid-range money contracts, gain flexibility over the next few years while being able to perform in the near term.