The Patriots aren’t the team they’ve been for most of the past two decades, and coach Bill Belichick says part of that is due to the salary cap.
While the Patriots now have plenty of headroom, Belichick noted that at the start of the offseason they didn’t, which limited what they could spend on free agency.
“We’re playing more young players than we have played in the past,” Belichick said, via ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “A combination of reasons. We have been quite heavily invested in our team in recent years. From the point of view of the salary cap, we didn’t have much flexibility at all. I think it was evident on the Cam Newton contract. Then we had a few opt-outs so we lost some players there that normally would have given us a lot of playing time. And then like every year a few guys get screwed and we missed some guys here and there in some matches. I think when you combine all of that, there is an opportunity there, and part of that opportunity has gone to the young players. Again, because of our capping situation that year, that’s the kind of year we took, I would say, to adjust our spending cap that we accumulated in previous years. We just haven’t been able to have the kind of depth on our list that we’ve had in other years.
Even though the cap is expected to drop by about $ 20 million next year, the Patriots plan to be in good shape. So, as other teams feel a pinch in 2021, the Patriots should be able to bounce back from a turbulent 2020.