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New England Patriots Links 3/12/12 - Patriots Have $16.2 Million of Cap Room

<em>Pat Chung feels he has matured as he heads into his fourth season with the Patriots</em>.
Pat Chung feels he has matured as he heads into his fourth season with the Patriots.

Greg A. Bedard reports the Patriots have $16.2 million of cap room and explains how that number came about.

The 2012 cap number is $120.6 million. The Patriots have carried over the $6.7 million they didn't use on the '11 cap.

So the Patriots are operating on an individual cap number of $127.3 million.

Right now, including Wes Welker's franchise tag of $9.515 million, the Patriots are committed to $99.8 million to the top 51 contracts this season. They also have about $11.3 million in dead cap space from previous transactions.

So they are committed to $111.1 million at this time.

They can free up more cap space. The easiest way is for left tackle Matt Light to retire. His $8 million cap number would then come right off the books.

Chad Ochocinco counts $4.683 million against the cap right now. His Twitter comments indicate he's going to restructure. That should cut the number in half. If he's cut at some point, it would save $3.1 million against the cap this season.

Of course, the Patriots still don't have a viable center or defensive end under contract yet. And the expected second-round tender to QB Brian Hoyer will count $1.927 million. They also have 15 free agents, not including Welker and Hoyer.

Erik Frenz catches up with Patrick Chung, reading to young kids at Tufts University as part of the team's "Celebrate Volunteerism" campaign.

At one point, when Chung was answering questions from youngsters, he revealed that he didn't sleep for almost a full week after the Super Bowl.

Why are you here? "To make sure kids are reading, to make sure kids are educated, and to make sure they know it's very important to be educated. It will make their life a lot easier, make their parents proud, and make a better life for themselves in the future."

On the importance of community service. "Absolutely, you have to show what you're doing for the community, show that you're a humble person, and that you're just like a regular guy."

In terms of offseason approach, how have things changed entering season No. 4? "I've matured. It takes a while to mature, but you have to know that the offseason is just a way to get football off your mind, but at the same time to get football back on your mind and just refresh everything. The more years you have, the more you understand that and the more stuff you can get done in the offseason."

Anything specific to focus on this offseason? "Everything. This game is crazy, you have to be ready for anything. Everybody's big, fast and strong so you have to be big, fast and strong, too." The SBXLVI loss and if anything made it easier to absorb. "Just don't watch TV and get ready for another year. ... Just gotta get back in the groove and keep working."