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Patriots will have even more cap space than anticipated, as league announces $255.4 million salary cap

Patriots fans remember Matthew Slater as a player who was all about community
Patriots fans remember Matthew Slater as a player who was all about community 02:28

BOSTON -- When Jerod Mayo got the job as new Patriots head coach, he excitedly said the team is "ready to burn some cash." As it turns out, the team will have even more money to spend than anticipated.

The NFL on Friday announced that the salary cap for the 2024 season will be $255.4 million, an increase of $30.6 million from last season.

That increase was even more than expected, "the result of the full repayment of all amounts advanced by the clubs and deferred by the players during the Covid pandemic as well as an extraordinary increase in media revenue for the 2024 season."

It's welcome news for all NFL teams, and the Patriots have the second-most cap space in the league, with just under $83 million, according to Over The Cap. Yet if the Patriots release cornerback J.C. Jackson, they'll clear up an additional $14.375 million in cap space. That would launch them past the Commanders, who currently have the most cap space at just over $87 million.

Of course, there's no award for having the most cap space. Yet with potentially $97 million in cap space awaiting them, the Patriots certainly have the opportunity for a significant turnaround from their 4-13 season a year ago.

That can include signing some of their own pending free agents, like safety Kyle Dugger, versatile offensive lineman Mike Onwenu, and wide receiver Kendrick Bourne. And it will help them spend at other positions of need on offense, so that the team won't be fully reliant on the draft.

At the same time, more money for the Patriots goes along with more money for everyone else. So free agents are sure to be the biggest winners from Friday's news. But for a team in desperate need of an influx of talent, the Patriots have even more wiggle room than they thought they'd have when free agency does open in March.

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