Patriots get salary cap relief from players opting out, but what will they do with it?

Ryan Hannable
July 28, 2020 - 9:08 am
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As of Tuesday morning, five Patriots players have reportedly opted out of the 2020 season.

Two of which are very high profile players in Marcus Cannon and Dont'a Hightower, which frees up some salary cap money for the team.

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According to @Patscap, the team now has roughly $24 million in salary cap space.

Will they go out and spend some of it right away to try and replace some of the players lost? ESPN's Adam Schefter has his doubts.

“You can go spend it elsewhere if you like, but first of all I think a lot of teams are being careful about how they spend money," he said Tuesday on The Greg Hill Show. "I think we as fans we here, ‘Oh, $8 million is freed up, let’s go spend it elsewhere.’ And they might do that, they might do that -- I don’t know. But, I also know that there are a number of teams exercising cautious behavior financially because let’s say there’s a linebacker on the street and you go sign him, we don’t know that there’s going to be a full season. You don’t know how that is going to happen. So, I think that enters into their thinking. Plus, there’s just not a linebacker on the street as good as Dont’a Hightower right now. That is another issue. 

“Then of course you start looking at some of the other Patriots losses and you start adding them together. Kyle Van Noy to Miami, Jamie Collins and Danny Shelton to Detroit, Dont’a Hightower to the opt out. There’s a toll that that begins to take after awhile and there’s no doubt that will impact and influence this season assuming it is played.”

Schefter is right in that there just isn't a player available at the moment that can replace Hightower, or even Cannon for that matter. And another thing to consider is the salary cap for next season may actually go down because of whatever happens this season, so it could be in the Patriots' best interest to try and roll some extra money over towards 2021.

It's likely players are signed and brought in to help fill the voids, particularly at right tackle, but they likely will not be big names and more likely veterans on one-year contracts.

Bottom line is just because the Patriots now have a decent amount of cap space, it doesn't neccesarily mean some high profile players will now be coming to Foxborough.

Related: More Patriots opting out of 2020 NFL season, including Dont'a Hightower