What can the Patriots do with the salary cap space freed by Brady contract?

What can the Patriots do with the salary cap space freed by Brady contract?

DEARBORN, Michigan -- We know that Tom Brady's contract extension is really, for all intents and purposes, just a raise for 2019. We also know that the years tacked onto Brady's deal allow the Patriots to reduce his salary-cap hit for 2019. 

What we don't know is how the Patriots might plan to use that recently-acquired space to help out the 42-year-old. 

Brady was scheduled to make $15 million and carry a $27 million cap hit in 2018. By going into the final year of his contract, that was far and away the weightiest cap hit on New England's books as the team rolled through its roster-building period. According to ESPN, Brady's new deal will free-up about $5.5 million in cap space. 

We'll wait to see exactly what the numbers look like when they're available, but when we spoke to former agent and NFL analyst Joel Corry back in February, he projected that the Patriots would be able to save about $5 million in cap space with a Brady extension.

The Patriots will very likely have somewhere in the range of $13 million in cap space following the execution of Brady's new deal. So what will they do with it? 

There are a handful of spots on the roster that could use a lift -- tight end receiver, offensive tackle -- all of which would help Brady's chances of putting together another high-caliber season. But to go out and make a splashy trade to acquire a boatload of cap space, particularly at this point in the season, isn't exactly Bill Belichick's modus operandi. 

The Patriots are going to need salary-cap space for midseason trades or signings and so there's a certain amount of cap space that they'd like to set aside for those situations. But there are ways in which the team could create additional space -- extensions for Devin McCourty and Kyle Van Noy make sense -- which then might make the Patriots a little more willing to use up their newfound space before the season begins.

Does that mean the team suddenly feels it has enough breathing room to go make a trade for Washington Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams (about an $11 million cap hit)? From this perspective that seems unlikely, particularly with a first-round pick from 2018, Isaiah Wynn, who is progressing from injury and could be ready to play that position Week 1.

Does it mean they'll want to add to their receiving corps with a player going into the last year of his contract? Denver's Emmanuel Sanders is someone in whom they've shown interest in the past but his cap hit is in the double digits as well and the Broncos might admit they were punting on 2019 if they were to deal off one of their top players.

At tight end, the pickings seem slim. Niners tight end Garrett Celek would make some sense as he plays for a team with whom the Patriots have dealt in the past and his cap hit wouldn't be at all prohibitive (about $2 million). But he's coming off of offseason back surgery and won't be available until mid-season.

Again, the Patriots could sit on the cap space they have. They know there's a chance they'll have to use it midseason. But if they wanted to improve their team in the here-and-now via trade, and in the process take on a player who'd take up a few million in cap space, Brady's new contract could help them do just that.

Running an offensive huddle that at times seems light on talent this summer, Brady probably wouldn't fight the team on it if they wanted to put some of the financial breathing room he gave them to good use.

Tom Brady's stay-at-home message contains healthy living tips amid pandemic

Tom Brady's stay-at-home message contains healthy living tips amid pandemic

Tom Brady is the latest athlete to record a stay at home message amid the coronavirus pandemic.

But his is a little different than the other ones you've already seen.

While most have spent time focusing on providing encouraging words to those dealing with the struggles of social distancing, Brady focused more on how to stay healthy amid the pandemic. Here's a look at his full message courtesy of the NFL's Twitter account.

This was a nice idea by Brady to give some tips to help people adjust to these unfamiliar living conditions. It also lines up pretty well with his health and lifestyle brand, TB12, so it's no surprise to see him preach the benefits of staying hydrated, being active, and eating nutrient-rich vegetables.

Of course, Brady did also have some words of encouragement for his audience and signed off by saying "I know we’re going to get through this together." So, that was a great gesture as well.

Brady will surely be focused on following these tips as he prepares for his first season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brady spent the first 20 seasons of his career with the New England Patriots before signing with the Bucs this offseason.

NFL Odds: Here are the favorites to start at QB in Week 1 for the Patriots

NFL Odds: Here are the favorites to start at QB in Week 1 for the Patriots

The New England Patriots are facing uncertainty at quarterback for the first time in two decades. Tom Brady departed this offseason to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Patriots will need a new starting quarterback as a result.

That said, a favorite appears to be emerging to take over the job.

According to FanDuel Sportsbook, Jarrett Stidham is currently heavily favored to be the Patriots starter at least to kick-off 2020. Here's a look at the odds for each potential candidate at the position courtesy of FanDuel.

This lines up pretty well with what has come out of Patriots camp since Brady's departure. They seem to believe that Stidham is their future at quarterback, so why wouldn't they give him a shot to start? While Brian Hoyer isn't too far behind Stidham (+250), he's likely only that high because he has the most starting experience of the three passers currently on the Patriots depth chart.

The more interesting parts of these odds are the ones relating to veterans and rookies not currently on the team. Cam Newton (+900) leads the pack among the veteran options and is one of two non-Patriot quarterbacks ahead of presumed third-stringer Cody Kessler. The other is Andy Dalton (+1000).

While Newton is available, the Patriots don't have much in the way of cap space. So, it seems unlikely that they would sign him unless they have minimal confidence in the quarterback options on their roster or if one of their options suffers an injury down the road.

As for the rookies, Jacob Eason (+1900) actually leads the pack by a fair bit. He's still a longshot, but his odds are much better than the triage of other rookie passers listed; Justin Herbert, Jake From, and Jordan Love come in at +2600.

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Is this a sign that the Patriots like Eason? They're notoriously tight-lipped about the draft process, so it's hard to say. But if Eason continues to considerably lead the rookie pack as the draft draws nearer, that should be a good indication that the Pats have their eye on him.

Either way, Stidham is rightfully the favorite at this point and the Patriots seem content to give him a season to prove himself. But once the 2020 NFL Draft comes and goes, the picture at quarterback will be a bit clearer.