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Patriots gain north of $9 million as opt-outs’ prorated signing bonuses move to 2021

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Eight members of New England’s roster have opted out of the season.

New England Patriots Training Camp Photo by Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The New England Patriots find themselves with cap room on their side.

Even more so after the NFL and NFL Players Association finalized the financials within the Covid-19 player opt-out agreement.

As reported Tuesday by Tom Peliserro of NFL Media, the league’s management council has informed teams that, in addition to salaries being tolled into 2021, signing bonus proration will also be removed from the current cap immediately after a player opts out.

That leaves New England with an additional $9.2 million in cap flexibility. And, in all, north of $35 million for the 2020 season when accounting for the Top 51 roster rule, according to PatsCap’s Miguel Benzan.

Time will tell just how much of that leeway is rolled over into next year with the league’s cap set to drop. But beyond the exceptions agreed to, the deadline for opt-outs is set to arrive at 4 p.m. ET Thursday.

Players who are in the higher-risk tier will receive a $350,000 stipend and an accrued year of service time, while those voluntarily opting out in the lower-risk tier will see a $150,000 salary advance.

Thus far, eight Patriots have made the decision to not take the field this campaign due to coronavirus concerns. That group includes running back Brandon Bolden, fullback Danny Vitale, wide receiver Marqise Lee, tight end Matt LaCosse, offensive linemen Marcus Cannon and Najee Toran, linebacker Dont’a Hightower and safety Patrick Chung.

Six of whom were scheduled to enter the final year of their contracts. Yet both Cannon and Chung had prorated signing bonuses for 2021. Their $2.5 million and $3.2 million figures in that department, per OverTheCap.com, will move into 2022 as a result.