Now the New England Patriots can breathe a little easier from a financial standpoint. The organization itself wasn’t in financial trouble, but the team was about as cash-strapped from a salary cap perspective as any club in the NFL.
Thanks to two huge roster moves on Saturday, the team has a ton of wiggle room, and can now even explore some other player personnel moves to improve what is already an intriguing roster.
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What the Patriots Did to Clear Cap Space
ESPN NFL insider Field Yates along with Mike Reiss broke the news of a settlement from compensation grievances with Antonio Brown ($4 million to the team) and Aaron Hernandez ($2.55 million to the team), and those kickbacks have generated almost $7 million in cap space, and the team now has $7.79 million available.
Earlier this week, the Patriots were down to less than $500K in salary cap space. They now stand at $7,794,739, with flexibility for in-season roster management. https://t.co/I8DlBa4gAo
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) July 11, 2020
What Does This Open Up for the Patriots?
The Patriots roster is already promising, but you can never have too much talent and depth across the roster. Adding players via trade, and there are at least two talented veterans who have asked to be moved from their current teams or taking a stab at bringing in someone else from the free-agent market is an option.
Here is a list of some of the top free agents still available on offense and defense, per Over The Cap:
1. Jason Peters, Left Tackle
2. Larry Warford, Guard
3. Demar Dotson, Right Tackle
4. Devonta Freeman, Running Back
5. Ronald Leary, Guard
6. Taylor Gabriel, Wide Receiver
7. Kelvin Beachum, Left Tackle
8. Mike Person, Guard
9. Josh Gordon, Wide Receiver
1. Jadeveon Clowney, Edge Rusher
2. Everson Griffen, Edge Rusher
3. Logan Ryan, Cornerback
4. Eric Reid, Safety
5. Markus Golden, Edge Rusher
6. Brandon Carr, Cornerback
7. Cameron Wake, Edge Rusher
8. Damon Harrison, Defensive Tackle
9. Tramon Williams, Cornerback
10. Aqib Talib, Cornerback
11. Nigel Bradham, Linebacker
12. Darqueze Dennard, Cornerback
13. Timmy Jernigan, Defensive Line
14. Ross Cockrell, Cornerback
15. Vinny Curry, Edge Rusher
16. Terrell Suggs, Edge Rusher
17. Jabaal Sheard, Edge Rusher
18. Mike Daniels, Defensive Line
19. Marqui Christian, Safety
20. Clayton Geathers, Safety
Potential Fits for the Patriots
Some of these players aren’t schematic fits for the Patriots, but when you look at players like Everson Griffen (32), Jadaveon Clowney (27), and left tackle Kelvin Beachum (31), it would appear the team could use their services as upgrades, or at least as insurance.
Griffen is a proven threat off the edge, and though he may be on the downside of his career, he still amassed eight sacks in 2019, and he’s been durable. When you consider the Patriots already have depth at defensive end, they might be able to allow Griffen to play situationally, and he could rack up some impressive numbers.
Beachum is interesting because the Patriots could wind up with some depth issues, especially if someone goes down. Having a veteran like Beachum challenge for a starting spot, or there as a backup would be ideal.
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