I’ve had a little while to digest the New England Patriots‘ heartbreaking Super Bowl loss, but we’re on to the offseason now. I continue my offseason series today by looking at the defensive backs and special teamers. The Patriots’ special teams unit was one of the best in the league yet again this year, but took a hit after Nate Ebner and Jonathan Jones landed on the injured reserve. Ebner, Brandon King, and Johnson Bademosi are all set to be free agents, and I have little doubt that the Patriots will re-sign at least the first two, if not all three.

The defensive backs, while the sole strength of the Patriots’ defense this year, were not the top three or so unit that many projected them to be prior to the season. Malcolm Butler had a down year by his standards, and it didn’t help that they received nearly no help from the pass rush. Regardless, Butler is basically as good as gone after his Super Bowl benching, and the Patriots will likely look to add someone in the next few months to help replace him. Even so, I projected a contract for him below. Without any further ado, here are the numbers.

(Note: * indicates a fully guaranteed amount.)

Malcolm Butler

Comparable contracts:

Name APY Percent Guaranteed
A.J. Bouye  $13,500,000.00 38.5%
Stephon Gilmore  $13,000,000.00 47.7%
Janoris Jenkins  $12,500,000.00 46.1%

 

Projection:

Year Base (P5) Salary Signing Bonus Proration Per-Game Active Roster Bonus Cap Hit Cash Running Cash Dead Cap Cap Savings
2018 $7,000,000.00* $2,500,000.00* $500,000.00 $10,000,000.00 $17,500,000.00 $17,500,000.00 $26,000,000.00 $(16,000,000.00)
2019 $9,000,000.00* $2,500,000.00* $500,000.00 $12,000,000.00 $9,500,000.00 $27,000,000.00 $16,500,000.00 $(4,500,000.00)
2020 $10,000,000.00 $2,500,000.00* $500,000.00 $13,000,000.00 $10,500,000.00 $37,500,000.00 $5,000,000.00 $8,000,000.00
2021 $11,000,000.00 $2,500,000.00* $500,000.00 $14,000,000.00 $11,500,000.00 $49,000,000.00 $2,500,000.00 $11,500,000.00

 

Despite having a down year compared to his 2015 and 2016 campaigns, Butler will still get paid this offseason. He will be one of the two top corners hitting free agency this year, along with Los Angeles Rams’ cornerback Trumaine Johnson, and will get a corresponding contract. That being said, I believe that his age (he turns 28 in March) and his size (he’s listed at a generous 5’11″/190 lbs.) will prevent him from getting top of the market money. The contract above averages out to $12.25 million a year, which is just below Janoris Jenkins‘ deal with the New York Giants but is still fitting for a team that views him as a number one corner. It is also possible that someone decides to throw in a Pro Bowl or All-Pro bonus to bump the average up to about $13 million per year. Either way, he will not be playing for New England next year.

Johnson Bademosi

Projection:

Year Base (P5) Salary Signing Bonus Proration Per-Game Active Roster Bonus Cap Hit Cash Running Cash Dead Cap Cap Savings
2018 $1,500,000.00 $500,000.00 $250,000.00 $2,250,000.00 $2,750,000.00 $2,750,000.00 $1,000,000.00 $1,250,000.00
2019 $1,750,000.00 $500,000.00 $250,000.00 $2,500,000.00 $2,000,000.00 $4,750,000.00 $500,000.00 $2,000,000.00

 

The veteran special teamer and backup cornerback will get a contract similar to his old deal, which is how I reached the above numbers. He was a decent fill-in on the outside when Stephon Gilmore was out for a few weeks during the middle of the season, but his main value lies in his special teams ability. I’d say there is about a 50/50 chance he returns to New England next year.

Nate Ebner

Projection:

Year Base (P5) Salary Signing Bonus Proration Per-Game Active Roster Bonus Cap Hit Cash Running Cash Dead Cap Cap Savings
2018 $1,000,000.00 $250,000.00* $150,000.00 $1,400,000.00 $1,650,000.00 $1,650,000.00 $500,000.00 $900,000.00
2019 $1,000,000.00 $250,000.00* $150,000.00 $1,400,000.00 $1,150,000.00 $2,800,000.00 $250,000.00 $1,150,000.00

 

The Olympic rugby player and special teams star tore his ACL on a fake punt a few months ago, and is also set to be a free agent come March. Bill Belichick really values Ebner and the work he puts in, so I have little doubt that the two parties will agree to a new deal. The numbers above represent a slight bump from his old contract.

Brandon King

Projection:

Year Base (P5) Salary Signing Bonus Proration Per-Game Active Roster Bonus Cap Hit Cash Running Cash Dead Cap Cap Savings Full Guarantees
2018 $1,000,000.00 $150,000.00 $100,000.00 $1,250,000.00 $1,400,000.00 $1,400,000.00 $300,000.00 $950,000.00 $300,000.00
2019 $1,000,000.00 $150,000.00 $100,000.00 $1,250,000.00 $1,100,000.00 $2,500,000.00 $150,000.00 $1,100,000.00 $150,000.00

 

King is another one of the Patriots’ core special teamers, and is set to be a restricted free agent in a month’s time. This means that the Patriots can tender him an offer at three different levels (high, mid, and low), and either retain him for one more year or get compensation if he signs with another team. The low tender (~$2 million) would guarantee the Patriots a right to match any offer, the mid tender (~$3 million) would net them a second round draft pick if he leaves, and the high tender (~$4 million) would result in a first round pick as compensation if he walks. That being said, I can’t see the Patriots spending nearly $2 million for a special teams-only player. I believe that the Patriots will extend him an offer similar to Nate Ebner’s in an attempt to ‘buy out’ the tender. The numbers above reflect that assumption.

So this wraps up the contract projection portion of this series. I will be breaking down potential roster cuts next week, so stay tuned! And be sure to check out parts one, two, and three if you haven’t already.

(Authors Note: I referred to Spotrac.com and overthecap.com for contract data.)

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Author Details
My name is William LaFiandra, and I’m a college student attending the College of the Holy Cross. I’m a big fan of the New England Patriots but also follow any NFL related news. I’ve always enjoyed both writing and sports, so I figured I’d give sports journalism a try. I particularly like analyzing and reading about NFL contracts, rosters, strategies, free agency, and the draft.
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My name is William LaFiandra, and I’m a college student attending the College of the Holy Cross. I’m a big fan of the New England Patriots but also follow any NFL related news. I’ve always enjoyed both writing and sports, so I figured I’d give sports journalism a try. I particularly like analyzing and reading about NFL contracts, rosters, strategies, free agency, and the draft.
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