Per a league source, here’s the situation.
Amendola’s contract paid him $8 million last year, via $6 million in signing bonus and a $2 million base salary. He also added $375,000 in roster bonuses, at $31,250 per game.
The trigger for $2 million in base salary becoming guaranteed as of the first day of the 2014 league year specifically was selected to ensure that Amendola, if cut, would be available on the first day of free agency.
If not, the $2 million becomes fully guaranteed on the first day of the league year.
A player can’t be released with a post-June 1 designation until the league year begins. This means that the Pats can’t cut Amendola with a post-June 1 designation without guaranteeing the $2 million.
But the guarantee has offset language, which means that the Patriots would keep up to $2 million based on Amendola’s 2014 compensation elsewhere.
The Patriots have four options: (1) cut Amendola before Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. ET, resulting in a $4.8 million cap charge in 2014; (2) cut Amendola after Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. ET with a post-June 1 designation, resulting in a $1.2 million cap charge in 2014 and $3.6 million in 2015, but guaranteeing up to $2 million in base salary if he doesn’t land elsewhere; (3) trade Amendola before June 1, resulting in a $4.8 million cap charge in 2014; or (4) keep Amendola, paying him up to $3.5 million and carrying a $4.543 million cap number.
It remains unlikely that the Patriots will cut or trade Amendola. But those are the options, along with the precise consequences for each.