The New England Patriots have made several moves over the past week to make up for the loss of key members of the team that signed with other teams. They also had to pinch pennies during the process in order to stay under the cap, so they had to be very specific with how they structured each player's contract.
Let's go over several of those player's contracts to see how New England kept their cap hits small for 2020, what kind of money those players will earn, and what it tells us about their chances of making the team next season. All reported info regarding their contracts came from Ben Volin of The Boston Globe.
Brian Hoyer Can Make a Little Over $3 million From Patriots in 2020
Veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer signed a reported one-year, $1.05 million with New England over the weekend. Hoyer re-joined the Patriots at a cheap rate because he has the opportunity to become a starter in New England, according to his agent. However, he has some extra incentives ladened in his contract that allow him to earn triple his base salary next season.
Hoyer reportedly has an additional $2 million he can earn in playing incentives, which means he could earn up to $3.05 million from his one-year deal. Tack on an additional $950,000 that he will still earn from the Colts, and the veteran can earn close to $4 million in 2020.
Brandon Copeland's Contract Puts Him on Roster Bubble
New England added a linebacker via free agency by signing former Jets player Brandon Copeland to a reported, one-year, $1.05 million contract. He only gets $137,000 guaranteed from his deal, which means he is far from a lock to make the roster come this summer. Copeland will have to battle to make a team that has Dont'a Hightower, Ja'Whaun Bentley, Shilique Calhoun, Brandon King and Terez Hall as their linebackers.
Special Teams Stud Cody Davis Will Need to Prove His Worth
Despite Bill Belichick's love for having strong special teams players on his roster, the contract details of safety/special teamer Cody Davis show that Davis will have to stand out amongst elite company in New England if he wants to make the team.
Davis signed a reported one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Patriots, which includes $300,000 in guaranteed money. That means Davis will have to earn his spot on the roster, as he is an easy cut candidate come August.
Danny Vitale is Not a Roster Lock. What Does That Mean for James Develin?
One interesting move New England has made during free agency is the signing of fullback Danny Vitale. The move potentially foreshadows the end of James Develin's career with the Patriots, as he suffered a serious neck injury last season at 31 years old, which means his playing days could be over.
However, when looking at Vitale's contract, it shows that Develin may not be ready to hang up the cleats just yet. Vitale signed a reported one-year deal that is worth in the range of $1.1-$1.3 million. He also gets a $100,000 signing bonus. That makes him a easy cut candidate this summer. Are the Patriots keeping their options open in case Vitale doesn't work out? Or will Vitale have to fight with Develin for a job next season? Only time will tell. But what we know is that Vitale is no lock to make the roster.