How the Patriots saved salary cap space with Devin McCourty’s retirement


The Patriots’ move on Friday could potentially help them in their reported pursuit of DeAndre Hopkins.

How the Patriots saved salary cap space with Devin McCourty's retirement
The Patriots didn’t process Devin McCourty’s retirement until Friday in order to help spread his dead salary. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

If the Patriots are serious about pursuing DeAndre Hopkins, they now have a bit more money to toss over his way.

Even though he announced his retirement from football in March, Devin McCourty’s retirement was officially processed on Friday, according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss. By waiting until after June 1 to process McCourty’s retirement, the Patriots spread the $9.7 million in dead money remaining on his contract over the 2023 and 2024 seasons.

If McCourty’s retirement was processed prior to June 1, the Patriots would’ve been on the hook for the $9.7 million. Instead, McCourty’s contract will cost them just $3.5 million in dead money this season and $6.2 million next season.

The official processing of McCourty’s retirement opened up a roster spot for the Patriots, too. They actually opened a second roster spot up Friday as well, when they released undrafted free agent Justus Tavai, giving them 88 players on the 90-man roster.

Following Friday’s move, the Patriots have roughly $13.2 million in cap space, per salary gap guru Miguel Benzan (@PatsCap on Twitter).

The Patriots sit relatively well cap-wise compared to the rest of the league. Only 11 teams have more cap space than they do, according to OverTheCap. Most of the other teams reportedly interested in Hopkins are also very close to the salary cap. The Chiefs have less than $1 million in cap space, while the Bills have fewer than $2 million in cap space, per OverTheCap.

Of course, the Patriots could use the open roster spots on other players, and they don’t have to use all of their remaining cap space if they don’t want to. But if they want to make a move for Hopkins, they certainly don’t have to do much, if any maneuvering.

While Hopkins has stated he’d like to play with a competitive team, that is the only thing that is under consideration for picking his next professional home. Multiple teams believe that money will play more of a factor than a greater opportunity of winning a title for Hopkins, according to Mike Giardi.

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