Bill Belichick usually isn’t very forthcoming with information, especially when it relates to the Patriots roster and making declarations about it.
That wasn’t the case when speaking with former Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis on Sirius XM NFL radio.
Belichick was asked about playing younger players this season and within the answer he noted the team does not have the same depth as it has had in the past and part of that is because of salary cap limitations.
“We’re playing more young players than we’ve played in the past,” he said, via ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “A combination of reasons. We were pretty heavily invested in our team in the past few years. From a salary cap standpoint, we didn’t have much flexibility at all. I think that was obvious on the Cam Newton contract. Then we had some opt-outs, so we lost some players there that would normally have been going us significant amount of play time. And then like every year, a couple of guys are banged up and we’ve missed some guys here and there in certain games.
“I think when you combine it all together there is opportunity there and some of that opportunity has gone to younger players. Again, because of our cap situation — in this particular year, this is kind of the year that we’ve taken. I would say, adjust our cap from the spending that we’ve had in accumulation of prior years. We just haven’t been able to have the kind of depth on our roster that we’ve had in some other years. That’s provided more opportunity for younger players. So, it’s a combination of all the reasons.”
That was a very interesting response from Belichick, and he isn’t wrong at all. The Patriots operated all offseason with very little money to spend and only got extra money towards the cap during the summer when settlements with Aaron Hernandez and Antonio Brown were processed. Free agency had been over for month at that point.
It appears even Belichick is acknowledging the Patriots have a different outlook on this season than in the past.