Mayo Agrees to Restructured Contract with Patriots

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, the Patriots and linebacker Jerod Mayo have worked out a contract that will reduce Mayo’s salary from $7 million to $4.5 million for the season, all of which is guaranteed. The contract will contain a non-guaranteed option, apparently worth $4 million, for the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

The move should coe as no surprise. Mayo has been relatively invisible since 2012, struggling with injuries and seeing action in just 12 games over the last two seasons. He had a large amount of guarantees in his contract and was currently protected from release by a $4.5 million injury guarantee that would have kicked in if he did not pass a physical upon termination. That $4.5 million is the figure used as his new base salary, bascially a way to keep the player on the team for the same price that they would have owed had they released him.

Mayo had been set to count for just under $10.3 million against the cap this year and the cost to release, factoring in the injury guarantee, would have been $10.5 million, making that difficult for New England. While no details are known about the structure, they should be able to lower that to just under $6 million if they maximize his signing bonus but do not include voidable contract years. His cap charge could also be impacted by the option decision at the end of the year, if there is a bonus attached to it and not a contractual guarantee. The Patriots have typically opted for the latter, though Rob Gronkowski’s has the bonus payment.

Eventually these types of option contracts are either going to come under more scrutiny by the NFL or will become a common practice around the league. In general these are contracts designed to manipulate the rules of the compensatory draft system while still exhibiting some control over the player’s future.  The Patriots had three such contracts last season and did not pick the option up and any of the three players. The Cowboys are currently the other team in the NFL that seems to be moving in this direction with some of their players as well.

  • NW86

    I don’t understand how this manipulates the comp pick system. If the Patriots decline the option, and he signs elsewhere, do they get a comp pick for that? I would have presumed they wouldn’t, since they had the option to retain him.

    I’m not surprised there was a renegotiation, but I’m surprised at the number. The Patriots needed him at a lower number, but even shaving $1M off would have been better for their 2015 cap than releasing him. Also, with this much guaranteed to him either way, I don’t see how the Patriots had the leverage to get him to that number – you would have thought the 2 sides would have ended up somewhere in the middle between $4.5M and $7M. The only thing I can think of is maybe Mayo knows he is getting healthy now, and if the Pats released him next month, the guarantee wouldn’t be there.

    • Nick

      The current assumption (at least, what I’m running with) is that they would get a comp pick for him, since it’s creating more of a voided contract. We may find out for sure next March since Vince Wilfork is a similar scenario. There could be a chance that both Mayo and Wilfork get interpreted like Laveranues Coles and Steven Jackson, both of who didn’t qualify due to renegotiated option years. But those two had very late renegotiations, whereas the Pats’ players were well before the typical comp pick cutoff date of June 1/May 12.

    • AK

      In short, yes, they would. If the second year is a “team option,” and they don’t pick up that option, then the player automatically becomes an FA (no waiver wire). This is because he wasn’t “cut” or “released,” his contract simply “expired.”

      The Patriots did this with Revis, Browner, and Wilfork’s contracts last year. All 2015 team options weren’t picked up. All three becoming instant FAs to sign wherever the wanted (and did). The Pats will likely see three (two at the least) comp picks from those FAs, with Revis likely netting them the 2nd highest comp pick of the 2016 draft (the Lions will get the highest because of Suh’s mammoth contract).

      • NW86

        Interesting, thanks for the info on the option years.
        Also, on Mayo, I didn’t realize there were incentives involved. That makes a little more sense now.