Snapshot look at Pats' salary cap

As the offseason begins, one of the questions many ask is how the Patriots are doing from a salary-cap standpoint.

Salary-cap assessments can be a little tricky because of the fluidity of cap space: Signing or extending a player can decrease cap space, while releasing or restructuring a deal can increase it.

But one number we can hammer home on the cap space is $4.1 million, which is how much space the Patriots will be rolling over from this year's cap to next year's. That's to say that $4.1 million of unspent money this year will be available for the Patriots to use next year on top of the salary cap.

Right now, many NFL teams are using $123 million as a conservative projected cap figure for 2014, as that is on the low end of what is realistic for it to actually be (some project it could be closer to $128 million).

If the cap were to, hypothetically, be set at $126 million, the Patriots would have a $130.1 million allowance due to their rollover space.

Now, as things currently stand, the Patriots have $128.2 million committed to their salary cap next year, which may make one say that they're in poor cap space. That's not exactly the case, as the team can easily create space with moves in the form of a release. Defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga, due $3.5 million for next season, is an example of a potential cap casualty.

Also, one of the big issues of the offseason will be if the Patriots receive significant relief on the cap as it relates to Aaron Hernandez.

So for now, the answer to the question that we led off this post with is: Wait and see.