Bill Belichick looking to strike at the draft

A famous sports radio personality in Boston always says that "the salary cap is crap". Well, not so much - just ask the Pittsburgh Steelers and they'll tell you something different.

One may wonder why, after having $16 million in cap space on March 11th, did the Patriots have to restructure Tom Brady's contract?

Brady's restructure added $7.2 million in space, and we soon saw why this money was needed.

The Patriots took a proactive approach to free agency this year, signing their targets early in the process, racking up 15 in total. That puts their number currently at $9.9 million in cap space, ranking them 12th in terms of space.

It's all about the chips on the board and Belichick never goes all in. Usually the Patriots let the market settle and their players will still be there. However, after a short free agency period in 2011 due to the CBA lockout, the Patriots came out with a steady hand.

Why the change in approach? The restructuring of Brady's contract and Chad Ochocinco's now gives the Patriots currency on draft day. 

 Patriots Salary Cap Numbers (as of 3/30/12)  
Current contracts: 50
Previous year carryover: $6,987,262
Adjustments: $1,404,600
Adjusted cap: $128,991,862
Team cap: $119,047,198
Cap room: $9,944,664
Team cash: $106,696,147

In the past, NFL trades were few and far between, but lately they've been more commonplace. Belichick even made a draft day trade for Randy Moss in 2007.

Replenishing their cash supply now gives the Patriots the ammo to make a trade for a veteran with a contract that a team might not want to carry and would present great value to the Patriots.

They have the 27th and 31st picks in the first round and their value could net quite a haul given the new rookie pay scale.

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