Patriots Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Andy Wasynczuk is back and well tanned after his recent vacation. And hopefully the time away re-energized New England's contract and cap expert. The Patriots reportedly sit approximately $6 million over the new salary cap of $74.8 million that will kick in at the start of free agency this Friday and have work to do prior to the deadline.
Wasynczuk will either have to do some contract restructuring for the team to get under the number, or New England could be forced to cut players. A number of players with seemingly unreasonable or exorbitant cap numbers that could be asked to take pay cuts or face being let go could be Willie McGinest, Ted Johnson and Anthony Pleasant. Other players such as Ty Law and Otis Smith probably aren't in jeopardy of being out of a job, but could also be asked to make changes to their current contracts.
McGinest and Johnson are likely at the top of Wasynczuk's To-Do list, as both are due roster bonuses on March 1. McGinest's situation is especially pressing as the nine-year NFL veteran is due a $5 million roster bonus and would have a 2003 cap figure of over $10 million under his current deal, money that he will likely never see. While McGinest played in all 16 games in 2002, he did not put up dominating stats worthy of such a large contract. With 62 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 10 passes defensed, McGinest has become more of a role player and will have to be paid accordingly to remain in New England.
Johnson is due a $1 million roster bonus and has a 2003 cap number of just less than $7 million. After a rocky start to the 2002 season, one that saw the veteran linebacker walk away from the team, Johnson is coming off a solid year. In his most productive season since 1998 the linebacker started 11-of-14 games in which he played and tallied 96 tackles and 1.5 sacks. Johnson has made concessions in the contract area to stay with the Patriots in the past and will have to do so again to be back in 2003.
There is some new construction going on in the administration offices at Gillette Stadium these days. Space that had previously been unused is now being converted into office space for other companies falling under the ownership of Robert Kraft and The Kraft Group. The work is in the early stages, but when completed will offer 23,160 sq. ft. of new office space for the Kraft companies. … According to numerous published reports the Packers are quietly shopping former Patriots wide receiver Terry Glenn. The Packers have given Glenn's agent, Jimmy Gould, permission to talk to other teams about a trade. Glenn had 56 receptions for 817 yards and two touchdowns in his first season in Green Bay. Glenn is due a $500,000 roster bonus this Friday, one that the Packers reportedly fully expect that they will have to pay. … Another former Patriots wide receiver, Shawn Jefferson was released by the Atlanta Falcons. Jefferson is coming off his least productive season since his rookie year, with just 27 receptions for 394 yards and one touchdown in 2002. Jefferson spent four seasons in New England from 1996-1999.