The New England Patriots reportedly are doing some finagling and mortgaging future cap space to fit wide receiver Antonio Brown onto their roster.
The Patriots are tacking on an option year for Brown worth $20 million in 2020, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. If New England picks up the option, it becomes guaranteed.
Brown’s deal initially was reported as a one-year contract with $9 million guaranteed worth up to $15 million in 2019. The Patriots have just under $4.9 million in cap space, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. By adding a second year onto the contract, which likely won’t be picked up, the Patriots can split Brown’s 2019 cap hit over two years.
The Patriots did something similar in 2014 when they signed Darrelle Revis. They also tackled a voidable year onto quarterback Tom Brady’s 2019 salary to create cap room.
The Patriots are projected to have over $67 million in cap space next season, according to Spotrac.com, with players like Devin McCourty and Kyle Van Noy coming off the books. New England typically doesn’t like mortgaging future cap space to improve its current team, but it does seem the franchise is going all-in in 2019.
UPDATE (1:37 p.m. ET): Here are more details on Brown’s contract, via NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport:
Since Brown’s incentives are unlikely to be earned, they won’t count against this year’s salary cap. The Patriots might need to do slightly more maneuvering to fit Brown under this year’s cap.
Brown’s incentives are NLTBE because they’re one more catch, one more yard, and one more touchdown than he had last season.
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