NFL salary cap update: Patriots have lowest amount of space in league

NFL salary cap update: Patriots have lowest amount of space in league

If you're wondering why the New England Patriots haven't signed one of the top veteran quarterbacks who've been on the free agent market this offseason, the answer might come down to simple math.

The Patriots just don't have a ton of salary cap space, so even if they wanted to sign a quarterback like former MVP Cam Newton, the team lacks the financial flexibility to make that happen.

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Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer provided an updated look Thursday at the teams with the least salary cap space, and the Patriots are at the bottom by a fairly wide margin.

The Patriots could free up cap space in a few ways -- including trades, restructuring contracts and releasing players -- but there have been no recent reports of the team being close to making any of those moves. Coming to terms on an extension with left guard Joe Thuney (who's currently on the franchise tag) could open up salary cap space, but the two sides reportedly are "no closer to an extension" than they were in March.

One reason why the Patriots are lacking cap space is they are among the leaders in dead money for the 2020 season. In other words, several players who no longer play for the team will count against the 2020 cap due to how their contracts were structured. New England currently has just over $24 million in dead cap space, which is the fourth-highest total in the league, per Spotrac. Tom Brady ($13.5 million) and Antonio Brown ($4.5 million) are the players representing the most dead money on the Pats' cap figure.

The Patriots' lack of cap space this offseason prevented them from replacing the veterans who departed in free agency (Tom Brady, Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins, etc.) with other high-priced players. This will put pressure on the younger players already on the team's roster (N'Keal Harry, Ja'Whaun Bentley, etc.) and the 2020 draft picks to make a consistent impact throughout the regular season. 

Patriots 53-man roster projection entering training camp

Patriots 53-man roster projection entering training camp

The Patriots have already hit the field in Foxboro, but we'll have to wait until Monday to see them put the pads on for the first time.

It will be a training camp unlike any other; New England was supposed to open the preseason Thursday night against the Lions — and their 2020 season-opener against the Dolphins is just a month away.

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But Bill Belichick will have a lot of decisions to make over the next few weeks. Will Cam Newton seize the starting QB job as expected — and will the team carry both Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer as well? How can the team make up for a league-high eight opt-outs including defensive stalwarts Dont'a Hightower and Patrick Chung along with starting right tackle Marcus Cannon? How many of the team's 10 draft picks from this spring will make the team?

Those questions will be answered over the coming weeks, but before practices begin in earnest, let's take an early look at how the team's roster will shake out.

Click here for the Patriots' 53-man roster projection entering training camp.


Lamar Miller, agent Drew Rosenhaus confirm RB's signing with Patriots

Lamar Miller, agent Drew Rosenhaus confirm RB's signing with Patriots

Lamar Miller officially is a member of the New England Patriots, it appears.

The Patriots still haven't announced Miller's signing after a report Monday that the free-agent running back had agreed to a one-year contract with the team.

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But Miller's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, confirmed his client put pen to paper Wednesday to join the Patriots.

Miller also confirmed the news by sharing Rosenhaus' announcement on his Instagram story.


Miller has topped 1,000 rushing yards in two of his eight NFL seasons and made the Pro Bowl with the Houston Texans in 2018. He missed the entire 2019 season due to a torn ACL, however, and his days as a workhorse running back might be behind him at age 29.

Still, the Patriots could use Miller's services with reports that Sony Michel may not be ready for Week 1 as he recovers from ankle surgery. Miller could fill Michel's role as an early-down rusher to complement James White, Rex Burkhead and Damien Harris.

Miller wasn't spotted at Patriots training camp Wednesday, but expect him to show up at Gillette Stadium soon now that his deal is official.