When the Patriots traded for Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco in the same day, one of the caveats was that the two would restructure their deals to help fit under the Patriots’ salary cap. Both players agreed to do so, and not only did they restructure to newer cap-friendly deals, but they also helped minimize the risk the Patriots took in trading for them. When Robert Kraft said earlier today that Albert Haynesworth, “…didn’t come here for the money,” he was right.
As you can see above, the first years of the salaries for each player, or the “trial periods” for each player, are relatively low. Both could be cut after camp (though high unlikely) before the salaries are guaranteed with minimal loss. After this season is over, the Patriots can then release or further restructure the deals to sign the players long term and further alleviate the cap hits. These are clearly team-friendly deals.
The benefits to the team go behind saving some cap money. That cap money is then parlayed into a strong middle class of players on the roster that allow the team to maintain success even when a starting player goes down with an injury. The team does have its stars, but if you look across the roster and you can see the depth. Just take a look at all of the players on the defensive line depth chart. Is there a deeper group in football? Vince Wilfork is the only real star, but Haynesworth could be one too if he truly wants to re-shape his image. None of this would be possible if guys didn’t agree to, and the team wasn’t financially disciplined enough, to leave money for the second- and third-tier guys.