Closer look at Patriots and financials

In his daily "Inside Slant" column, ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert takes a snapshot look at the NFL through a financial lens. Seifert looks at each team's salary cap space, dead money and committed cash.

The key New England Patriots-based information, from ESPN's Stats & Information department, is the following:

Cap space: $7.35 million (19th most out of 32 teams)

Dead money: $10.72 million (13th most out of 32 teams)

Committed cash: $114.8 million (27th most out of 32 teams)

On the Patriots, Seifert notes the following observations:

  • Contract mistakes happen to even the most stable and best-run organizations. Tight end Aaron Hernandez, released last summer after being arrested on murder charges, accounts for $7 million in dead money for the New England Patriots.

  • If you believe a team must spend to win this season, keep in mind that the New England Patriots have the sixth-lowest payroll.

QUICK-HIT THOUGHTS: The Patriots will almost always keep a cushion with cap space so they have flexibility during the season to make roster moves. They are in position to do that this year, even though the dead-money figure is higher than the norm for them. As for the committed cash, one way to explain the lower figure is the Patriots have been on the high side in each of the last four years -- around $129.6 million in 2013, around $168 million in 2012, around $130 million in 2011, and around $151 million in the uncapped 2010 season. There weren't as many big-ticket items to account for this year, but there will be some bigger ones ahead with safety Devin McCourty (contract expiring after 2014) and offensive tackle Nate Solder (2015), among others. There is also the possibly of signing cornerback Darrelle Revis to an extension after the '14 season.