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NFL sets 2018 salary cap at $177.2 million; Patriots have $14.65 million in cap space

The league officially announced its salary cap as well as franchise tag numbers.

Newly-Designed Ten-Dollar Bill Goes Into Circulation Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Yesterday evening, the NFL sent out a memo to all 32 of its member clubs informing them about the 2018 salary cap one week before the legal free agency tampering period begins. As first reported by ESPN's Field Yates, the league and representatives from the NFL Players Association opted to set this year's cap at $177.2 million – another massive increase when compared to last year ($167 million).

As a result of the salary cap number being officially announced, we now also know how much available space the New England Patriots have. According to calculations by's Miguel Benzan, the reigning AFC champions are under the cap $14.650,554 million. When compared to the rest of the league, the Patriots rank 24th overall (via

Considering that the team has a lengthy list of free agents to be, it will likely try to increase its cap space by either releasing or restructuring multiple contracts. In fact, New England could create an additional $15 million by letting just five rotational members of the roster go. The team could also create another $15 million in cap space by restructuring the contracts of four cost-intensive players.

With the salary cap announced, we now also know the franchise tag numbers for this offseason (in millions):

Quarterback: $23.189

Running back: $11.866

Wide receiver $15.982

Tight end: $9.846

Offensive line: $14.077

Defensive end: $17.143

Defensive tackle: $13.939

Linebacker: $14.961

Cornerback: $14.975

Safety: $11.287

Specialist: $4,939,000

The Patriots have multiple candidates to receive the tag but it appears highly unlikely that the team will actually use it on players like running back Dion Lewis or wide receiver Danny Amendola. New England's number one free agency priority, offensive tackle Nate Solder, has a clause in his contract that prohibits the team from placing the franchise tag on him.