- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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The New England Patriots pride themselves on sound salary-cap management, and part of that is not having too much dead money to account for with players no longer on their roster. This year's dead money total is higher than the norm, mainly because of a $7.5 million charge for former tight end Aaron Hernandez.
According to ESPN data, the Patriots' overall dead money total is $10.38 million. That ranks 15th among the NFL's 32 teams.
Without Hernandez' dead money, the Patriots would have ranked fifth for least amount of dead money (approximately $2.88 million).
The Buccaneers, with $805,785, have the smallest dead money charge on their cap, according to ESPN data. The Colts ($1.8 million), Packers ($2.6 million) and Bengals ($2.8 million) are the teams that follow.
The Cowboys ($28.8 million), Panthers ($19.9 million) and Steelers ($19.5 million) have the highest dead money charges.
A bit later today, we'll take a closer look at the Patriots' cash spending for 2014, and examine where it ranks relative to the rest of the NFL. Several analysts have rated the Patriots' offseason moves highly, and it will interesting to see how much of that is a reflection of pure cash spending.