Patriots

Could Patriots ranking among dead money leaders cost team in 2020?

Could Patriots ranking among dead money leaders cost team in 2020?

The New England Patriots have won six Super Bowls over the last 20 years in part by spending wisely.

Is that all about to change?

The Patriots currently have the least amount of cap space of any NFL team at $1.85 million, per Spotrac. Part of the reason for that is the amount of money they're paying to players who won't play for them in 2020 -- otherwise known as "dead money."

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In fact, New England currently owes $24 million in "dead money," which according to Spotrac puts the team in dubious company.

Let's just say the Panthers, Jaguars, Rams and Dolphins aren't expected to be Super Bowl contenders in 2020.

And if the last four seasons are any indication, the Patriots would be bucking a trend just by going 9-7 in their first season of the post-Tom Brady era.

Brady is the primary reason why New England is in this position: He accounts for $13.5 million of that $24 million number, while Antonio Brown is next-closest with $4.5 million in dead money owed.

But such was the contract that Brady signed last August that gave him a potential out in 2020 -- one he took to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rather than take another pay cut to stay in New England.

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The Patriots, who have signed all of their 2020 draft picks, still can create extra cap space by trading or extending offensive guard Joe Thuney, who currently has a $14.7 million cap hit that's second-highest on the team.

New England also could restructure the deals of several other players -- like it did recently with Patrick Chung -- to free up more space.

That dead money isn't going away, though, so Bill Belichick and presumptive starting quarterback Jarrett Stidham have another historic precedent to overcome this season.

Cam Newton opens up about replacing Tom Brady, excitement about Patriots offense

Cam Newton opens up about replacing Tom Brady, excitement about Patriots offense

I don’t know when we’ll get to hear from Patriots quarterback Cam Newton. My suspicion is it will be later rather than sooner.

But everything we’ve wondered since the Patriots signed him? Everything we’ve theorized might change with the Patriots offense? Everything we wondered about Newton following Tom Brady?

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Newton hit it during a YouTube show with Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz and Todd Gurley that posted on Monday.

The hour-long program jumps from topic to topic and it’s not until about the 34-minute mark where Newton begins discussing joining the Patriots.

After a little talk about motivation (we knew he was motivated) and perceived disrespect (also knew that), Newton hit on actual football and succeeding Tom Brady in what I thought was the meatiest part of the piece.

“We have to talk about the elephant in the room,” said Newton. “And it’s like, ‘You know who you coming after?’ And it’s like, ‘Yeah. Great.’

“What he was, what he is? Is great. Needs no … even … talking about it.

“But one thing about it though, ‘Coach (Josh) McDaniels, you able to call some stuff you ain’t ever been able to call now. You getting a dog. You getting one of these ticked off dogs too, that like bruh.”

Newton began pretending to read off a sheet of paper.

“And I’m looking at the schedule like, “Who we playing? THAT team passed on me. THAT team passed on me, they coulda came and got me. THEY hollered at me. I even asked my agent, like, ‘Yo what’s up with …” Bro. I’m gonna take this time with the COVID and I’m gonna commit to myself.”

Newton also related how he got the news the Patriots were coming after him.

“My agent hit me, I was — no cap — I was working out and he was like, ‘Hey man, we just got interest from a team.’

“And I’m like, ‘OK, who?’

“And he was like New ENGLAND …”

The camera cuts to Beckham, who sits up straight in his chair.

Newton continued, “I said, ‘Hold on. How, how is me and Belichick gonna mesh? You know what I’m saying?’ ”

“That was the first thing I thought!” Cruz interjected.

“Because it’s like perception…” said Newton.

OBJ then cut in with a minute-long verbal journey to nowhere before concluding with, “So for me, watching you and now to feel that vindication and to be going to Belichick, there is no, like, ‘How is it gonna work?’ For me, all he wanna do is put you in a position to succeed and I’m happy to see it.”

Odell Beckham Jr. had more praise for Bill Belichick in Cam Newton sit-down

Odell Beckham Jr. had more praise for Bill Belichick in Cam Newton sit-down

Odell Beckham Jr. recently insisted he's staying with the Cleveland Browns this season, and we'll take him at his word.

But the star wide receiver still really, really likes New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.

Beckham posted a sit-down conversation Monday on YouTube featuring himself, former wide receiver Victor Cruz, running back Todd Gurley and new Patriots quarterback Cam Newton.

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When the discussion turned to Newton and how he'd "mesh" with Belichick in New England, Beckham piped up to insist perception isn't reality with the Patriots coach, and that Belichick will help Newton thrive in New England.

 

"Watching you and now to feel that vindication and to be going to Belichick, there is no, 'How is it going to work?' " Beckham told Newton. "For me, all he wants to do is put you in a place to succeed. And I'm happy to see it."

While some players (looking at you, Lane Johnson) view Belichick as a curmudgeonly autocrat who hates fun, Beckham is a fan of Belichick who knows what the head coach can get out of his players.

Beckham's opinion is nothing new: Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot recently told our Tom E. Curran that Beckham has long been enamored with Belichick and Tom Brady's success in New England and "always wistfully wished he could be a part of that" from afar.

After Brady left New England this offseason, it was hard to envision Beckham scrambling to catch passes from Jarrett Stidham. But Newton and Beckham are close and have worked out together several times this offseason, so perhaps Beckham's "wistful" thoughts of joining the Patriots will return.