The New England Patriots went on an unprecedented spending spree in free agency last month. Trying to bolster a roster in need of upgrades all across the board, and with a favorable market due to the recent salary cap drop, the club handed out an NFL-record $159.6 million in guaranteed money in order to lure players in from the outside.
Despite being the most active organization in the league last month, the Patriots are still in an attractive financial shape heading towards the draft: according to numbers shared by ESPN’s Field Yates, New England will be operating with a remaining cap space of $15.44 million. While that is significantly below the almost $60 million the team had available heading into free agency week, it is still good enough to rank in the top-half league-wide.
As a look at the full list shows, the Patriots check in at number 11 in terms of cap space:
- Jacksonville Jaguars: $39.45 million
- Denver Broncos: $27.04 million
- New York Jets: $24.87 million
- Cincinnati Bengals: $23.28 million
- Indianapolis Colts: $21.23 million
- Detroit Lions: $21.12 million
- Cleveland Browns: $20.79 million
- Los Angeles Chargers: $20.3 million
- Washington Football Team: $18.46 million
- San Francisco 49ers: $18.39 million
- New England Patriots: $15.44 million*
- Baltimore Ravens: $15.14 million
- Arizona Cardinals: $14.29 million
- Pittsburgh Steelers: $10.35 million
- Carolina Panthers: $10.02 million
- Kansas City Chiefs: $9.18 million
- Houston Texans: $7.46 million
- Minnesota Vikings: $7.44 million
- Dallas Cowboys: $7.43 million
- Seattle Seahawks: $7.37 million
- Miami Dolphins: $7.32 million
- Los Angeles Rams: $7.3 million
- Tennessee Titans: $6 million
- Las Vegas Raiders: $5.32 million
- Philadelphia Eagles: $5.02 million
- New York Giants: $4.89 million
- Buffalo Bills: $4.2 million
- Green Bay Packers: $2.69 million
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: $0.93 million
- Atlanta Falcons: $0.92 million
- New Orleans Saints: $0.53 million
- Chicago Bears: $0.41 million
*Patriots salary cap expert Miguel Benzan has New England with a cap number of $15.58 million
Compared to other teams around the league — especially those with less than $1 million in current cap space — the Patriots are in a comfortable position. Their $15.44 million is not just above the league average ($12.02 million) and median ($8.32 million), but also plenty enough to give them all the flexibility needed heading into the draft.
At the moment and in the highly unlikely case New England does not make any trades, the team would need just over $3.3 million in order to sigh their draft class as well as any unselected players during the subsequent free agent signing period. Furthermore, it has the resources to still bring players aboard from the outside via trade — at least in some realistic scenarios (e.g. not acquiring Jimmy Garoppolo or Julio Jones on their current deals) — or free agency.
On top of it all, the Patriots will easily be able to account for the salaries of their 52nd and 53rd players once the Top-51 rule is lifted on roster cutdown day. They also have the financial means for contract extensions, and to account for their practice squad, injury replacements or any roster bonuses that will have to be paid out despite currently being classified as non-likely to be earned.
All in all, the Patriots are in as solid a position financially as they have been all offseason long. Not all teams in the league can say the same.