Here's another way this Patriots season is different than many before it: New England has some serious cash to play with.
The Patriots lost quarterback Tom Brady, linebackers Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy and several other notable players to free agency this offseason. Key contributors like Dont'a Hightower, Patrick Chung and Marcus Cannon also opted out of the 2020 season.
The result? Only the Cleveland Browns have more cap space than New England entering Week 1, per the NFL's latest report.
The Patriots also can thank their quarterback position for their current financial situation: They're paying starter Cam Newton a $1.05 million base salary in 2020 and are paying their three QBs just over $3 million, a paltry sum compared to the $23 million Brady earned in 2019.
So, will New England use that extra cash before the season begins? The club still needs a kicker if it doesn't re-sign Nick Folk and is thin at wide receiver after releasing Mohamed Sanu amid final roster cuts.
Head coach Bill Belichick isn't one to break the bank on prominent free agents, but he has plenty of extra money to play with. So, if a player becomes available via free agency or trade who can help the Patriots, chances are New England can afford him.