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Patriots are in a good financial shape heading into the 2021 NFL draft despite their free agency spending spree

Related: Who are the men running the Patriots’ pre-draft operation?

New England Patriots v New York Jets Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

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:

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars: $39.45 million
  2. Denver Broncos: $27.04 million
  3. New York Jets: $24.87 million
  4. Cincinnati Bengals: $23.28 million
  5. Indianapolis Colts: $21.23 million
  6. Detroit Lions: $21.12 million
  7. Cleveland Browns: $20.79 million
  8. Los Angeles Chargers: $20.3 million
  9. Washington Football Team: $18.46 million
  10. San Francisco 49ers: $18.39 million
  11. New England Patriots: $15.44 million*
  12. Baltimore Ravens: $15.14 million
  13. Arizona Cardinals: $14.29 million
  14. Pittsburgh Steelers: $10.35 million
  15. Carolina Panthers: $10.02 million
  16. Kansas City Chiefs: $9.18 million
  17. Houston Texans: $7.46 million
  18. Minnesota Vikings: $7.44 million
  19. Dallas Cowboys: $7.43 million
  20. Seattle Seahawks: $7.37 million
  21. Miami Dolphins: $7.32 million
  22. Los Angeles Rams: $7.3 million
  23. Tennessee Titans: $6 million
  24. Las Vegas Raiders: $5.32 million
  25. Philadelphia Eagles: $5.02 million
  26. New York Giants: $4.89 million
  27. Buffalo Bills: $4.2 million
  28. Green Bay Packers: $2.69 million
  29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: $0.93 million
  30. Atlanta Falcons: $0.92 million
  31. New Orleans Saints: $0.53 million
  32. 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.