In 1994, the NFL first introduced a salary cap to regulate how much money each franchise can spend on the players on its roster. Back then, the cap number was $34.6 million. Over the course of the following years, the cap rose continuously, hitting the $100 million mark in 2006. The cap continued to rise the next years and in 2015, each team had $143.28 million to spend.
It seems as if this rise will continue next year. According to Bleacher Report's Jason Cole, the NFL front office has informed teams yesterday about the number with which they can calculate for the upcoming 2016 season:
#NFL GMs and cap guys have been told by league office to expect the 2016 cap to come in between $147M and $155M.
Of course, those numbers are still subject to change in the future but one thing seems to be set in stone: next year's cap will once again be higher than the current one. According to NFL Network's Albert Breer, it might actually be even higher than the numbers announced yesterday:
Note: The cap projections given to clubs at the December Dallas meeting are traditionally on the low end, to help teams budget.
Via patscap.com, the Patriots currently have $151.24 million of projected cap commitments for 2016 with 50 players signed. This number is obviously subject to change as, for example, Jerod Mayo has a 2016 cap number of $11.4 million – a number that almost certainly will not be on New England's books next year. Therefore, it seems as if the Patriots are in good financial shape heading into next year. Business as usual.