The New England Patriots find themselves in a unique situation as they prepare for the 2020 NFL season.
Several players, including key veterans Patrick Chung and Dont'a Hightower, chose to opt out of the season due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. The six total opt outs so far leave New England with an additional $25 million in cap room.
So, what should the Patriots do with the cap space they've freed up? Do they pursue a big fish like Jadeveon Clowney? Do they roll it over into 2021?
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On a brand new Patriots Talk Podcast, Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry discuss those questions and share their opinions on what the Pats should do with their newfound cap cash.
"I think the smartest thing to do with $25 million, with a dropping cap next year, roll it," Curran said. "Now you're the Patriots and everybody's throwing players overboard because they have cap crunches, and the Patriots have upwards of $$50 or $60 million in cap space available because they rolled that money into 2021."
Perry agrees that would be the smart move, but notes there is a way for the Patriots to spend without putting themselves in a difficult financial spot next season.
"The reason that would be the smart thing to do is because all these players that just opted out, their contracts toll to 2021. So if you want them to play next year, you have to pay those guys money," said Perry. "They came off your books very suddenly when they opted out, that's why you have upwards of $25 million in cap space right now, but you're going to need money next year to bring those guys back. So that would be one reason to roll it over.
"One reason to feel you have the freedom to spend, though, is they're already in really good shape. Even if you take out the fact you may have to pay Dont'a Hightower and Marcus Cannon and Patrick Chung if they all come back in 2021. You already have more than $50 million in cap space for 2021. So you should be fine there. There's no real pressing need to roll it over. So if you wanted to spend right now, you could and you wouldn't be just ruining your financial situation going into what is obviously going to be a very weird cap year."
So if the Patriots do decide to spend with their newfound cap room, who should they target? Clowney, perhaps?
"Only if it's low money," Perry answered. "As was the case with Cam Newton ... If Jadeveon Clowney is willing to come in and play for the minimum, I'm sure Bill Belichick will all of a sudden start to become more interested. It doesn't matter that the guy might only want to practice once a week ... If that happens then yes, but I don't think that's going to be something they're interested in."
Curran and Perry also discuss whether the Patriots can withstand more opt outs, motivations behind the players choosing not to play, and whether any Patriots were snubbed from the NFL Top 100 list.