With the Super Bowl in the rear-view mirror, the New England Patriots are officially on to the 2018 season. One of the most important next steps on the journey towards recapturing the Super Bowl title starts in one month, when the NFL's free agency period starts. At this point, the Patriots will try to re-sign parts of their free agency class while also adding talent from the outside to the roster.
In order to do that, however, New England will likely have to add to its current salary cap number. According to the number one source for Patriots-related cap questions, patscap.com's Miguel Benzan, the team enters the offseason with an estimated $13.3 million in available money – the seventh-smallest number when compared to the rest of the league.
The number, per a series of tweets by Miguel Benzan, is created as follows:
My 2018 Patriots adjusted cap number
League Cap= $178.1M (high end of December projection)
Carryover=$3,012,601 Adjustment (Incentives)= (-$605,613)
Adjusted Cap = League Cap+Carryover+Adjustment=$180,506,598
As noted, the cap number used for the calculations is still a projection as the ultimate number will not be announced until later during the offseason. As things stand right now, the Patriots operate under a cap of roughly $180.5 million because of the carryover from the previous season.
My 2018 Patriots salary cap space number
Adjusted Cap Number = $180,506,598
Commitment for 63 projected signed or tendered players = $167,220,769
Cap Space = Adjusted Cap Number - Commitment = $13,286,219
All the facts noted above put into consideration, the Patriots are currently $13,286,219 under the projected cap. While New England has 63 players under contract, the number put into consideration aligns with the NFL's offseason rules: Only the top 51 contracts on the payroll factor into the salary cap at this point in time.
While $13.3 million does not look like a lot of available money considering that the Patriots have multiple core players on their way to hit the open market, the team could easily create additional cap space via restructures or releases: New England could free up around $15 million by restructuring four of its cost-intensive players while adding an additional $17 million by letting six rotational members of the roster go.
Make sure to follow @patscap – one of the essential accounts for any Patriots fan – on Twitter.