By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Patriots needed to clear a little cap space in order to fit the newly acquired Mohamed Sanu. So they turned to right guard Shaq Mason for help.
According to ESPN's Field Yates, the Patriots are restructuring Mason's contract to allow for the addition of Sanu. They will convert $1.75 million of Mason's 2019 base salary into a signing bonus, which can be spread out as five separate $350,000 charges over the length of his deal and create $1.4 million in space for the current season.
Coincidentally, Mason did not practice with the Patriots on Wednesday with an ankle injury, his first appearance on the injury report in 2019.
Sanu is due over $1.9 million in salary for the rest of the season, as determined with data from Spotrac. According to Yates, the Patriots entered Week 8 with $2.5 million in cap space before acquiring Sanu, so his addition and Mason's restructure could still leave them with $2 million to work with. (Update: Miguel Benzan of the Boston Sports Journal, a.k.a. "@PatsCap" on Twitter, has set the Patriots' new cap space figure at only $10,268. So they'll need to move someone off the roster to make any more notable changes.)
It's important to note that these figures may not be perfect, and that the addition of Justin Bethel will also take up a chunk of whatever cap space remains for the Patriots. But this illustrates how little wiggle room they've had to make moves in 2019. If they want to make a move at tight end or on the offensive line, they'll have to make a low-cost addition with potential for high value, similar to Sanu.
Mason originally signed a five-year, $50 million contract with the Patriots in 2018 that included a $12 million signing bonus. Now he's already restructuring, and it won't get any easier as the contract goes along.
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].