New NFL Salary Cap Gives Patriots a Boatload of Money To Spend in Free Agency

The Patriots will have over $80 million in cap space to spend this offseason.

Jan 17, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo (L) and owner Robert
Jan 17, 2024; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo (L) and owner Robert / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
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Well, new head coach Jerod Mayo had promised to "burn some cash", and with Friday's announcement that the NFL would be increasing the salary cap for 2024 by over $30 million, Mayo and company will have even more cash to burn.

On Friday, the league informed teams that the salary cap for the next league year would be set for $255.4 million, the highest in league history. With New England coming off of a 4-13 season and desperate for an influx of roster talent, the news could not have come at a better time.

Now, it is imperative to note that although cap space has soared, the market will also adjust in turn. You can be assured that pending free agents and their representatives are foaming at the mouth over the salary cap increase as well.

Patriots to Have Over $80 Million in Cap Space

The updated Patriots' available salary cap space falls just short of $83 million, the second-highest total in the league, per OvertheCap. Notably, cutting cornerback J.C. Jackson would elevate New England's total spending spree bank to $97 million.

Mayo, who hasn't exactly played things close to the vest since succeeding Belichick, made the Patriots' free agency intentions loud and clear during a radio interview back in January:

"We are bringing in talent, 1,000 percent. We have a lot of cap space and cash. We are ready to burn some cash."

Jerod Mayo on Jan. 22

Today's memo also carries franchise tag implications for the Patriots. Safety Kyle Dugger and tackle Michael Onwenu are the two prime candidates to receive the franchise tag, and now New England's front office knows how much it will cost to tag each of their young standouts.

The cost to apply the franchise tag to Dugger and Onwenu would cost the team $17.123 million and $20.985 million, respectively. The franchise tag period began on Feb. 20, with the deadline set for 4:00 p.m. on March 5.

Under the Belichick regime, the team was typically adverse to apply the franchise tag, which former Patriots safety and current NBC analyst Devin McCourty noted: "It will be interesting because historically the team has preferred to avoid using the franchise tag in hopes of continuing to make the overall roster better. So now we'll see what they do in the new era in New England".

The "legal tampering period", when teams may contact player agents, begins on March 11 at noon ET. The new league year (and thus, the official beginning of free agency) begins on March 13 at 4:00 p.m. ET. It will soon be time for New England to put up or shut up on it being time to "burn some cash".

The Patriots have a long way to go before they become a championship contender. How far they are from contention is represented by their odds of winning (+9000) the AFC Conference next season. If you want to take a chance on them, head over to FanDuel Sportsbook and take advantage of their sign-up offer.

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