New England Patriots running back Rex Burkhead carried a cap number of $3.9 million into the final … [+] year of his contract. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Rex Burkhead’s cap number had been scheduled to climb above $3.9 million in the final year of his contract with the New England Patriots.
The scheduling changed on Tuesday.
According to Field Yates of ESPN, the 30-year-old running back has agreed to a restructure that generates nearly $1 million in cap space for New England.
Burkhead receives a reported $550,000 upon signing. He will see his base salary of $2.5 million reduce to $1.05 million while his cumulative per-game bonuses reduce from $500,000 to $400,000.
It is an added layer of roster security for Burkhead on a depth chart of investments. Recent draft picks in Sony Michel and Damien Harris near their respective junior and sophomore NFL campaigns. Veterans in James White and Brandon Bolden, both facing contract years, return for 2020 alongside them. And an undrafted rookie in J.J. Taylor, who garnered $100,000 between his signing bonus and base salary this spring, arrives out of Arizona.
But the revised terms also add a needed layer of financial flexibility.
The Patriots stood with just under $264,000 in cap room after reaching a cost-effective pact with quarterback Cam Newton at the close of June. The organization now stands with north of $1.244 million as July opens, per the accounting of PatsCap’s Miguel Benzan.
And Burkhead remains in the plan.
The Nebraska product has checked into 31 games across his three regular seasons with the Patriots. He’s been in the offensive backfield for 610 snaps. Over that span, a total of 752 rushing yards on 186 carries, 664 receiving yards on 71 catches and 12 all-purpose touchdowns have been earned.
The same goes for a core role on New England’s special teams, where Burkhead blocked a punt in 2017 and has gone on to play 401 snaps through 2019.
His workload in the kicking game last season was eclipsed only by punter Jake Bailey, linebackers Shilique Calhoun and Chase Winovich, the aforementioned Bolden, safety Nate Ebner and captain Matthew Slater.
“Rex has been a good player for us,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said during a press conference in the fall. “Everybody improves and can work on little things every year, but I’d say overall he’s been a pretty solid player for us. He plays on all four downs. He can run the ball. He can handle all of our regular-down plays. He’s a good third-down back. … Rex can play in all the big four in the kicking game – kickoff, kickoff return, punt and punt return. He’s one of the most versatile players on our team.”
Burkhead’s initial one-year, $3.15 million contract with the Patriots was met by a three-year, $9.75 million contract on the doorstep of free agency in 2018.
The latter featured $5.5 million guaranteed for the former Cincinnati Bengals draft choice.