By Mike ReissESPN Staff Writer
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- With the start of free agency approaching March 14, it is timely to look closer at the economic/salary-cap side of football to gain a better understanding of the limitations that each team might have.
While salary-cap space can always be created by releasing players or restructuring contracts, there are limits with how far that extends. So let’s explore the Patriots’ standing by using the latest NFL Players Association public salary cap report, as it relates to the rest of the league. This provides a snapshot -- albeit a moving target of sorts -- of the team’s salary-cap health compared to its competitors.
The Patriots currently have the 25th-most cap space out of the league's 32 teams. They will create more cap space with some roster moves (e.g. likely not picking Martellus Bennett's option etc.), but this provides a general feel of how the Patriots have some limitations this year and why 2018 is likely going to be a year in which they focus more on retention (e.g. attempting to re-sign Nate Solder) than a big push for players from other...