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Creative structure of contract helped Patriots snatch Chris Hogan from Bills

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A closer look at the contracts signed by New England Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan and defensive tackle Frank Kearse, and what they mean for the club and player:

CHRIS HOGAN

Terms: 3 years, $12 million

Signing bonus: None

2016

Base salary: $1 million (guaranteed)

First roster bonus: $4 million (due on March 14)

Second roster bonus: $500,000 ($31,250 per game on 46-man roster)

Cap charge: $5.5 million

2017

Base salary: $2.5 million (guaranteed)

Roster bonus: $500,000 ($31,250 per game on 46-man roster)

Cap charge: $3 million

2018

Base salary: $3 million

Roster bonus: $500,000 ($31,250 per game on 46-man roster)

Cap charge: $3.5 million

ANALYSIS: The main thing about this deal is that the Patriots had to structure it with a $5.5 million cap charge in the first year to make it more difficult for the cap-strapped Buffalo Bills to match, as Hogan was a restricted free agent. To do so, the sides didn’t include a signing bonus -- which would have been prorated over three years on the cap -- and instead included $4.5 million in roster bonuses in 2016. By doing that, the entire $4.5 million in roster bonuses counts against the cap, in addition to the $1 million base salary. The total guarantee in the deal is $7.5 million, which is a nice haul for Hogan and reflects how the Patriots view him as a significant part of their plans.

FRANK KEARSE

Terms: 1 year, $865,000

Signing bonus: $30,000

2016

Base salary: $760,000

Split salary: $428,000

Roster bonus: $5,000

Salary cap charge: $665,000

ANALYSIS: This is a minimum salary benefit deal, which is how the cap charge is lower than the base salary. The Patriots were obviously looking to build their depth behind starters Malcom Brown and Alan Branch, and do so in a budget-conscious way, and Kearse must have caught their eye going back to joint practices with Washington in 2014. So they made him an early priority in free agency, even though this is a modest deal that doesn’t lock Kearse into a roster spot.