The New England Patriots have been lacking cap space for most of the 2020 NFL offseason. So, it's no surprise to see them continuing to lag behind in the post-draft cap space rankings.
According to Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer, the Patriots rank second-to-last among NFL teams in that category. The Patriots have just over $1 million in cap room remaining. Only the Los Angeles Rams have less as of this writing.
Least cap space, post-draft ...— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) April 27, 2020
1) Rams $419,169
2) Patriots $1.077M
3) Falcons $2.233M
4) Saints $3.855M
5) Bucs $4.364M
6) Chiefs $4.912M
7) Seahawks $5.257M
8) Steelers $5.768M
9) 49ers $6.767M
10) Panthers $7.008M
This is hardly surprising. Since slapping Joe Thuney with the franchise tag, the Patriots have ranked near the bottom of the league in available space. Part of that is because they're a veteran-laden team, and veteran contracts tend to be higher-priced.
The other part of that is related to the fact that the team has the third-most dead money in the NFL. Dead money is guaranteed money being paid to players who are no longer on the roster, i.e. Tom Brady and Antonio Brown.
The Patriots can still add some low-cost players to the roster if they want. Or they could create more space via extensions or contract restructures.
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If the Patriots wanted to create a lot of space, they could explore the possibility of trading Thuney and his $14.8 million cap hit. That would let some of their recent draft picks like Hjalte Froholdt, Michael Onwenu, and Justin Herron fight for his job along with restricted free agent signee Jermaine Eluemunor.
It would also give them the space and ammo needed to target some of the bigger fish left on the free-agent market, if they wanted to explore that option.
But it seems more likely that the Patriots will stand mostly pat. They could make some smaller moves, but the odds of them adding any well-known or high-priced veteran to the roster seem low. Perhaps that will change if injury issues arise.
But for the time being, the Patriots can be considered one of the more cap-strapped teams in the league. And if you're among those holding out hope that Cam Newton could be in the Patriots future, it shouldn't be counted on, even if they are the betting favorite to land him.