Patriots Running Low on Cap Space

Logo Property of New England Patriots

Logo Property of New England Patriots

Update 3/20/14: According to PatsFans.com and ESPN Boston, the Patriots have a little over $4 million in cap space. Miguel Benzan from PatsFans.com has been keeping track of the Patriots finances for some time and with interacting with him on Twitter, we have found that the Patriots may only need $2 million for draft picks as it pertains strictly to the cap. The cap itself only includes the top-51 highest paid players on the team, which obviously wouldn’t include late round draft picks.

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According to most sports writers and fans, the Patriots have had a killer offseason signing Darrelle Revis, Julian Edelman, Brandon LaFell and Brandon Browner, but the Patriots still have holes on the team and, by my count, not much money in which to fill them.

If you ask me, the Patriots need a safety, because Browner projects as a starting cornerback – they need a pass rusher – and they need another tight end in case Gronkowski goes down again, which could lead to him being released in 2015.

The Patriots signed Revis, which left them $9.5 million in cap space after his cap hit of $7 million. After the Revis signing, they signed Browner, Edelman and LaFell with that left over $9.5 million.

Browner’s contract was packed with incentives and in 2014 Browner only has a cap hit of $1.75 million. In 2015 and 2016, Browner’s cap rises to $5.5 million so it’s heavy at the end and gives the team some flexibility. In 2014, the Patriots then had $7.75 million after Browner.

LaFell’s contract was three-years and $11 million, but his exact cap numbers haven’t been released yet – same deal with Julian Edelman, who also signed a deal in which the terms aren’t known.

The accruing of extra draft picks in recent years has led the Patriots to keep roughly $5 million for signing their rookie draft picks. Assuming they don’t trade for additional picks this time around, they will have to keep about $3.5 to $4 million.

The math doesn’t exactly add up if you’ve lost track. Though LaFell and Edelman’s contracts are probably team friendly, they are still going to be a higher cap hit than Browner’s incentive-laden deal in 2014 and have to fit in a $3.75 million window for the both of them.

Point being, the Patriots have no room for any additional moves, which makes sense why they didn’t sign Kenny Britt yesterday and haven’t scheduled any more visits that we know of.

The Patriots will have to clear cap space to make any more moves in free agency and the most obvious place is Vince Wilfork, which can save them $7.5 million by cutting.

Other places include: restructuring Mankins’ base-salary to a roster bonus, which could save $3 million – restructuring Dan Connoly to save $1 million against cap by converting base-salary to roster bonus – extending McCourty, who’s on the last year of his deal, could save the Patriots $1 million.

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