By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Patriots have made another move to open up salary cap space for 2019. This time it's starting right tackle Marcus Cannon who has reportedly agreed to restructure his contract.
Per Michael Silver of NFL.com, the Patriots are guaranteeing $4.5 million of Cannon's 2019 earnings. He was due a base salary of $5.5 million and another $556,250 in bonuses, but only about $1.2 million of it was still guaranteed. Essentially, Cannon guarantees about 12 games worth of money as opposed to about three.
Presumably, the Patriots converted $4.5 million of Cannon's salary into a signing bonus, which can now be prorated through 2021. They did the same thing when they reworked Stephon Gilmore's contract earlier this offseason. Not including added incentives, Cannon's new deal opens up $3 million in cap space for this season.
There are added incentives, though. Silver reported that the Patriots also created benchmarks that could push the total value of Cannon's deal to $24 million. It was at about $18.6 million before the reported restructuring.
Cannon's incentives are likely tied to playing time and snap counts. He has developed into a mostly reliable, consistent right tackle for the Patriots since Dante Scarnecchia returned to the team in 2016. But Cannon has also missed 12 games over the past two seasons due to various injuries.
Considering the Patriots' uncertainty behind Cannon at the tackle position, he'll be a sneaky-important player to keep healthy. Meanwhile, his restructured contract creates added funds for the open spot on the roster after the sudden retirement of O-lineman J.J. Dielman.
The deal also adds breathing room for a potential raise or extension for quarterback Tom Brady, which could happen next month with Brady turning 42 and a year passing since his last extension. Whatever the reason for Bill Belichick's motivations, the head coach certainly wanted extra space for something.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at [email protected].