Patriots Create $2 Million Cap Space to Finish 2022 Season

Getty New England Patriots, Bill Belichick

A day after the New England Patriots Matthew Judon was called one of Bill Belichick‘s best-ever free-agent signings by FOX Sports’ Henry McKenna, the team’s sack leader had his deal restructured.

On Thursday, the Patriots converted $3.32 million of Judon’s salary from his four-year, $54.5 million deal into a signing bonus, per Field Yates of ESPN.

This act spreads Judon’s bonus across the remaining years of the contract.

The Patriots effectively lowered Judon’s 2022 cap number to $14.3 million. On the downside, Judon’s cap hits in 2023 and 2024 will increase. From a team standpoint, the Patriots freed up just over $2 million in cap space.

The additional money allows the organization to function the rest of the season and perhaps sign some of Judon’s teammates to extensions. The Patriots just agreed to an extension with linebacker Jahlani Tavai that will function as a three-year, $5.5 million deal through 2024, per the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin.

Judon has been a catalyst for the Patriots’ defense all season and the team’s most consistent performer on either side of the ball. Through 12 games, Judon has 13 sacks. Unfortunately for the Patriots, Judon and the rest of his defense couldn’t do enough on Thursday night against their hated rivals.

About Thursday Night…Bills Handle the Patriots

Unfortunately, it seems the Patriots will have to get used to being dominated and controlled by Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills. The new kings of the AFC East handled the Patriots on Thursday night to the tune of a 24-10 victory.

New England’s offense was stymied most of the night as they converted just three of 12 third-down attempts and managed only 242 yards of total offense. Mac Jones wasn’t horrible statistically, but he also wasn’t a standout performer. The second-year quarterback played hard until the final whistle, but his 22 completions on 36 pass attempts for 195 yards and a TD just weren’t enough to threaten Buffalo’s defense in the primetime affair.

Allen didn’t have an astronomical performance statistically. He completed 22 of his 33 passes for 223 yards and 2 TDs. Neither quarterback threw an interception.

Patriots Bright Spots

New England took another loss against the Bills and fell to 6-6 on the season. They would be out of the playoffs if the postseason started tomorrow. However, there were at least two bright spots.

Linebacker Josh Uche is finally coming into his own as a pass rusher. The third-year player had two sacks, including this impressive strip-sack of Allen captured by the Philly Inquirer’s Devin Jackson:

Uche now has seven sacks on the season. With his two sacks on Thursday night, Uche is now second on the team, a half-sack ahead of Deatrich Wise and six behind Judon.

Another bright spot on an otherwise dim performance came from rookie Marcus Jones. The blazing-fast nickel corner and return man got an opportunity to play on offense, and boy, did he make the most of it.

Jones took a quick slot WR screen 48 yards to the house on a play that showed off the first-year player’s jets. Take a look:

It stands to reason the Patriots might use the speedy rookie on offense a little more in the future.

Read More