With offseason roster rearrangements on the horizon, here are three New England Patriots players who may suffer from surprise cuts this year.
Bill Belichick has been known to make devastating roster cuts in the past, from cutting Lawyer Milloy to parting ways with Randy Moss mid-season.
Even though big-name cuts can be shocking, Belichick’s moves are universally motivated by one factor: economics.
The Wesleyan economics graduate has said in the past that what he learned in college allowed him to keep the Cleveland Browns under a newly-imposed salary cap. For 23 years, he’s done the same in New England.
That’s why Belichick likely won’t cut Jonnu Smith. The way that Smith’s contract is currently structured discourages the team from cutting him because it would be costly. While the team would save money cutting Hunter Henry, Belichick has effusively praised the tight end over the course of his contract.
Considering factors such as cap savings and performance, here are three surprising cuts the Patriots could make that wouldn’t be entirely surprising.
Surprise cuts the Patriots could make this offseason
3. Cornerback Jalen Mills
Examining the dead money and cap savings for each Patriots player indicates how likely it is that the team would cut that player. For example, the Patriots would lose $9.7 million in “dead money” if they cut safety Devin McCourty, and they wouldn’t gain anything in cap savings, according to OverTheCap.com. As if it wasn’t clear enough, McCourty is staying in New England, but another player in the Patriots secondary could be shipped out soon.
If the Patriots cut cornerback Jalen Mills before June 1, the team would lose $1,250,000 in dead money, but they would gain $4,963,235 in cap savings. That makes Mills much more expendable.
What’s worse for Mills is that his potential replacement, cornerback Marcus Jones, is already making a name for himself. During his rookie season with the Patriots, Jones became the first player in 75 years to score an NFL touchdown in all three phases of the game.
The Patriots have consistently drafted and signed talented cornerbacks over the years, and Jones is yet another. That’s great news for New England, but it’s not a positive sign for Mills.