Patriots are masters of the salary cap, according to ex-NFL agent
An ex-NFL agent lauded the New England Patriots for having mastered the art of balancing on-field performance and results with off-field business interests.
The New England Patriots have built a modern-day dynasty the likes of which we’ve never seen in the NFL – or in all of professional sports, for that matter. We may never see it again, either.
According to one former NFL agent, who now works as a contributor for CBS Sports, the major reason the Pats have found such unprecedented success lies in their ability to combine game prowess on the football field with smart, savvy decision-making in their business dealings and roster construction off the field.
“New England uses the trade market more extensively than most teams,” Joel Corry noted in his report. “It’s a cost effective way to rebuild the roster, especially when there are major losses in free agency.”
Of course, astute fans need look no further for an example of this than by observing what occurred this offseason with highly-coveted free agent Trey Flowers. The Patriots realized they couldn’t afford to keep Flowers at the price he would likely command on the open market, so instead they traded pennies-on-the-dollar to acquire Michael Bennett from the Philadelphia Eagles.
Bennett plays the same position as Flowers (defensive end), and is arguably an upgrade over Flowers, even if he is a bit older. By making a smart, salary cap-friendly trade, the team managed to sidestep what would have otherwise been a major personnel loss while also staying true to their budgetary discipline.
Corry elaborated further on this scenario:
"“In a trade, the acquiring team assumes the remainder of a player’s contract. Any bonus proration in the deal is the responsibility of the original signing team. It doesn’t become a responsibility of the new team. This affords the Patriots optimal roster flexibility because a player can be released without any adverse cap consequences as long as there isn’t any guaranteed money left in the deal.”"
He also cited examples of New England cutting ties with prominent players in order to stay beneath the cap or maintain the lauded “Patriot Way” culture, such as when the team let go of Chandler Jones, Nate Solder, and Jamie Collins. All three were considered to be top players at their respective positions, and all were allowed to walk for a variety of reasons.
Most importantly though, the Patriots won the Super Bowl in the seasons all these players departed. That, more than anything, proves the team has mastered the ability to win without sacrificing their values in the process… and it’s a rare feat, indeed, in the NFL.