When quarterback Tom Brady restructured his contract earlier this offseason, it saved the Patriots $8 million in salary cap space in 2013.
The Patriots still could have made moves in free agency without a Brady restructure, but it's probably safe to say they would have had to be a little more conservative than they have to this point. As ESPN.com NFC West reporter Mike Sando noted on Wednesday, the Patriots rank 10th in the NFL in terms of cap space devoted to the quarterback position. Without the Brady restructure, they would have been second.
With this in mind, the following is a list of $1 million-plus players signed and re-signed by the Patriots this offseason, with their 2013 cap charge:
CB Aqib Talib -- $5 million
WR Danny Amendola -- $3.5 million
OT Sebastian Vollmer -- $3 million
CB Kyle Arrington -- $2.62 million
S Adrian Wilson -- $1.33 million
RB Leon Washington-- $1.2 million
WR Donald Jones -- $1.19 million
OT Will Svitek -- $1 million
Total 2013 charges: $18.84 million
QUICK-HIT THOUGHTS: After these moves, the Patriots currently have between $11-13 million of salary cap space. Without Brady's restructure, they would have had $3-5 million remaining. They will naturally want to keep some space for future flexibility, but part of the reason for putting together this list is to show how far $8 million in savings can go. The Patriots still could have brought back Aqib Talib ($5 million), Sebastian Vollmer ($3 million) and Co. back even without Brady's restructure, but if they did, the cushion wouldn't be as great as it currently is to make more moves and have future flexibility to potentially capitalize on opportunities that unexpectedly present themselves.