Clayton: Plenty of '13 Pats cap space

In his weekly mailbag on ESPN.com, NFL senior writer John Clayton had a list of every NFL's salary cap space for 2013. The list included the carryover for each team from 2012 to 2013.

According to Clayton, the Patriots will carry over $5.6 million and currently have $18.6 million in cap space.

This sets the Patriots up nicely. Only seven teams currently have more space.

When I see those numbers, the first thought that comes to mind is that the Patriots are well-managed. Even with quarterback Tom Brady accounting for a $22 million salary-cap charge, there is room to maneuver.

Another way to look at it is that if the Patriots can't reach a multi-year agreement with receiver Wes Welker, and ultimately assign him a franchise tag at $11.4 million, the numbers become a bit tighter.

The final point is that salary cap space is fluid and can always change with roster transactions. But the way the Patriots have operated under Bill Belichick is that they have attempted to avoid situations where they have to release players to clear salary cap space, and their financial discipline has served them well.