After being among the league leaders in salary cap space last offseason, the New England Patriots are near the other end of the spectrum in 2022. According to Patriots salary cap expert Miguel Benzan, the team is currently just $2.5 million under the projected $208.2 million cap for the new league year.
That number already includes the Patriots’ rollover of unused space for the 2021 season. As was reported by ESPN’s Field Yates earlier this week, the team announced that number to be $107,616 — the second lowest such number in the NFL behind only the New York Giants’ $13,986.
For comparison, the average rollover for the 31 non-Patriots teams was $4.46 million with a median of $2.45 million.
New England being under that number is not necessarily a cause for concern or a reflection of bad bookkeeping, though. More than anything the amount of cap space left is a result of pre-season buildup in combination with in-season expenses.
Signing outside players to replace those on injured reserve or the NFL’s Coronavirus list, for example, requires additional resources that lower the cap space during the year. New England had to send seven players to injured reserve after roster cutdown day — including, among others, running back James White and slot cornerback Jonathan Jones — and 22 to reserve/Covid-19.
At the end of the day, though, the rollover amount does still not move the needle all too much as far as New England’s 2022 cap space is concerned. That said, the team has numerous ways to increase its current number to be competitive once free agency begins in mid-March, ranging from releases to restructures.
As always, only a team’s top-51 contracts are counted towards the salary cap during the offseason. New England currently has a total of 53 players signed with 19 headed to either unrestricted or restricted free agency.