Bill Belichick: Patriots’ salary cap ‘a factor’ at trade deadline

Andy Hart
October 29, 2019 - 11:18 am
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Though some reports have indicated that the Patriots have had recent trade talks regarding a variety of players heading toward this afternoon’s 4 p.m. NFL trade deadline, others have noted that the team’s limited salary cap space could be an issue in terms of deals for higher-salary players.

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During his Tuesday morning conference call with the local media, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick made it clear that the team’s salary cap space – reportedly less than $3 million even after trading Michael Bennett away – is a factor and potential limitation in regards to potential trades.

“The answer is it would definitely affect us,” Belichick said. “We can’t…we wouldn’t have enough cap space right now to just go out and acquire any player that was available regardless of what the price was in terms of compensation, we’d have to fit him under our cap. There are some players we couldn’t, we just wouldn’t be able to do that with. And you can’t, you really can’t change the contract. I mean that wouldn’t happen until tomorrow. So it would have had to already been done previously. So if the team knew they were going to trade a player and wanted to change his contract to make him a more attractive in the trade, that really would to have already been done. So as it stands today you’d have to have enough salary cap space, any team would have to have enough salary cap space, to acquire the new player. If you didn’t then you’d have to release a player to pick that up. There’s certainly a lot of limitations on releasing players, especially vested players and so forth, where you really don’t gain much cap space from those kind of transactions. So it’s a factor.”

Belichick has been consistent over the years in the idea that salary cap can be manipulated, but he also knows that a team has to have the cap space to plan for the cost of doing business down the stretch of the season, including injuries and the need to add players to the roster. Nothing is impossible, but New England adding a player with any sort of relatively high salary at this point would be difficult.

“Again, it would depend on the player and the salary and what your other options were on the team and how big of a gap you were talking about in order to be able to make all that work,” Belichick said. “Certainly we have to account for the rest of the season. It’s unrealistic to think that we’re not going to have any additional salary cap charges in the next eight weeks. So, we have to have some type of a cushion or budget to handle some of those anticipated expenses. Again, we don’t know exactly what that number is going to be but there are a number of things that could come into the play there.”

In the end, New England’s salary cap situation is clearly a factor as the trade deadline approaches.

“That’s definitely part of the conversation. No question,” Belichick concluded.

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