The New England Patriots will certainly miss linebacker Jerod Mayo on the field and in the meeting rooms, but the retirement of one of the better linebackers in the Bill Belichick era will have an extremely positive impact on the team's salary cap.
Mayo was slated to generate the 2nd largest cap hit on the roster, behind only quarterback Tom Brady, which is fairly unacceptable for a team's #3 linebacker.
Per PatsCap, the retirement of Mayo has reduced his cap hit by $7 million from an astounding $11.4 million to a more palatable $4.4 million. The remaining cap hit is due to his signing and option bonuses that have been prorated over the length of his contract. Since another player will take Mayo's place in the Patriots salary cap, Mayo's retirement ultimately frees up nearly $6.5 million in cap space.
The Patriots could choose to try and recuperate Mayo's remaining signing bonus of $2 million, but they cannot touch the $2.4 million of the option bonus. They probably won't.
For reference, $6.5 million is a lot of cash. Tight end Rob Gronkowski's 2016 cap his is $6.6 million. The Patriots now have a lot of wiggle room with extensions for players that would increase their cap space, such as cornerback Malcolm Butler and linebacker Jamie Collins.
Extensions for players like linebacker Dont'a Hightower, defensive end Chandler Jones, and possibly defensive end Jabaal Sheard would reduce their cap hits.
The Patriots now have roughly $13 million to use in free agency, which will be helpful when it comes time to plug some holes in the roster. Bill Belichick could probably find a way to address the back-up OT, back-up LB, veteran OG, and outside WR role to challenge Brandon LaFell all for under $13 million.
The off-season is now well underway.