New England Patriots Must Mind Their Cap Space

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So far I’m loving this free agency period. Getting back Aqib Talib means Devin McCourty can stay at strong safety. Getting back Kyle Arrington means the nickel coverage is set. Alfonzo Dennard is likely to be ready Week 1, according to rumors. Sebastian Vollmer provides continuity along the offensive line, which is a very important component when it comes to protecting the quarterback. Adrian Wilson is an excellent strong safety who should see the field on run downs, provide veteran leadership, and effectively mentor Tavon Wilson. Tom Brady’s contract restructuring is yet another example of The Patriot Way, allowing the team much-needed freedom. Leon Washington takes care of the increasingly unfortunate Jeff Demps situation. Armond Armstead could very well be a starter next season.

However, it’s important to remember that the draft is coming up. Part of the Patriots cap space must be set aside for the incoming rookies. The Patriots had around $11 million before signing Sebastian Vollmer. Depending on how much his cap hit is, the Patriots could be looking at significantly less money left to spend than they’d like. Approximately $5-6 million ought to be set aside for rookies. Many rabid fans want the Patriots to go out and spend big bucks to bring in a big name free agent, but there’s no need for that right now. This team has a strong core, and were AFC runners up. I’d love Brent Grimes, but that would mean cutting players like Stephen Gostkowski or Rob Ninkovich to make space (I personally think Ninkovich will be a cap casualty that allows the Patriots to sign John Abraham). In fact, cuts may come soon to get under the cap. Michael Hoomanawanui is another one to watch. Unless the Jonathan Fanene case goes in New England’s favor, the team will have to be very cautious with who they sign and, more importantly, how much they spend.

You can follow Christopher Field on Twitter @ChrisDField.

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