These Patriots Free-Agent Deals Are More Affordable Than First Reported

The Patriots should still have plenty of salary cap space

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The free-spending New England Patriots actually struck some reasonable deals on the first day of the free agency negotiating period after looking through the official details of the contracts.

Oftentimes, the max value of a deal is first reported and then the real terms are posted later. That’s what happened on Monday into Tuesday morning.

When wide receiver Kendrick Bourne first agreed to sign with the Patriots, his deal was reported as a three-year, $22.5 million pact. In reality, he signed a three-year, $15 million contract with a $4.25 million signing bonus and another $7.5 million in contract incentives. Here’s the structure of Bourne’s deal, per NFLPA records, acquired by NESN.com:

Three years, $15 million
$5.25 million guaranteed
$4.25 million signing bonus
2021 salary: $1 million
2022 salary: $3.5 million
2023 salary: $4 million
Up to $750,000 in per-game roster bonuses each year
Up to $1.5 million in reception and yards incentives
Up to $3 million in receptions and yards base escalator in 2023

Bourne’s cap hit in 2021 should be just $3,119,792.

Defensive end Deatrich Wise’s contract first was reported as a four-year, $30 million deal. It’s actually a four-year, $22 million contract with a $5 million signing bonus and another $8 million in incentives. Here’s the structure of Wise’s deal per NFLPA records, acquired by NESN.com:

Four years, $22 million
$10 million guaranteed
$5 million signing bonus
2021 salary: $1 million
2022 salary: $4 million
2023 salary: $4 million
2024 salary: $4 million
Up to $1 million in per-game roster bonuses each year
Up to $2 million in incentives each year

Wise’s cap hit in 2021 should be just $3.25 million.

Defensive back Jalen Mills’ contract was accurate as initially reported: a four-year, $24 million deal with a $2.5 million signing bonus. Here’s the structure of Mills’ deal per NFLPA records, acquired by NESN.com:

Four years, $24 million
$9 million guaranteed
$2.5 million signing bonus
2021 salary: $3 million
2022 salary: $4.5 million
2023 salary: $5 million
2024 salary: $5 million
Up to $1 million in per-game roster bonuses each year

Mills’ cap hit in 2021 should be just $4,562,500.

In all, accounting for the Top 51 rule (only the top 51 contracts are counted on the salary cap until the season begins), those deals would subtract just $8.59 million from the Patriots’ 2021 salary cap.

We’re still awaiting official terms from contracts signed by wide receiver Nelson Agholor, tight end Jonnu Smith, offensive tackle Trent Brown, outside linebacker Matt Judon, defensive linemen Carl Davis, Davon Godchaux and Henry Anderson and cornerback Justin Bethel.

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