Patriots

Patriots

If any Patriots decide to sit out mandatory minicamp this week, it'll cost them more than $25,000 per day.

That's per a reminder from Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, who points out that if a player decides it's in his best interest to withhold his services during the three-day mandatory session, the overall fine under the collective bargaining agreement would be $76,580.

It's worth pointing out the financial implications for any potential holdout because there may be those around the league who may deem minicamp not worth their while as they jostle for new contracts.

As far as the Patriots are concerned, there are likely several players who are hoping for new deals -- including at least a dozen projected contributors going into contract years -- but any minicamp holdouts would come as somewhat of a surprise. 

Several of the players going into the final year of their deals, including linebackers Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower, showed up to the optional OTA practice that was open to the media late last month. It would be reasonable to expect then that they would plan on being present for the mandatory portion of spring practices as well. 

One of the big-name absences from that May 28 practice was Patriots corner Malcolm Butler, who is set to become a restricted free agent after this season. If Butler opts to skip minicamp, it would mean accepting a fine that would add up to about 8.2 percent of what he made in base salary over his first two seasons as a pro -- not an insignificant sum.

 

A decision to holdout by Butler would also be worthy of a raised eyebrow because his contract status with the Patriots and his accrued service time in the NFL seems to discourage that sort protest. Any holdout that extended into training camp might mean that he would miss out on a valuable accrued season.

From Article 8, Section 1 of the CBA:

A player shall not receive an Accrued Season for any League Year in which the player is under contract to a Club and in which he failed to report to such Club at least thirty days prior to the first regular season game of that season.

For Butler, that would mean that if he does not report to the Patriots by the second week in August, he would miss out on an accrued season, which would push back his free-agency clock another year. Since players need three accrued seasons to become restricted free agents (Article 9, Section 2), he would not hit restricted free agency until 2018, and he'd be scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in 2019.

Patriots minicamp practices will be held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week. All three sessions are open to reporters but are closed to the public.