There was a way to make sure Banta-Cain and Alexander were not exposed to waivers and picked up by another team.....we all good again..all is well
The benefit belongs to the team. In both cases, Banta-Cain and Alexander had cap charges that were only equal to the minimum salary of a player with two credited seasons prior to 2009, which is $460,000.
By extending both players their cap charges will actually go up. The same goes for wide receiver Sam Aiken, who signed a two-year contract extension on Monday. Aiken's base salary for 2009 went up from $645,000 to $1.16 million.
The reason for releasing Banta-Cain and Alexander within the last 24 hours is that once the NFL's trading deadline, which is today at 4 p.m, passes, all released players are subject to waivers until Feb. 1.
Up until the deadline, players with four or more seasons of service are not subject to the waiver system.
So, the Patriots had to release Banta-Cain and Alexander if they wanted to sign them to new deals, but wanted to do so without exposing them to waivers, where another team could claim them.
It's actually a very shrewd move.