New England Patriots: Offseason Rosters Expanding to 90 Players

Aaron DodgeAnalyst IApril 23, 2012

FOXBOROUGH, MA  - JULY 29:  Rob Ninkovich #50, Jermaine Cunningham #96, Jerod Mayo #51, and Gary Guyton #59 of the New England Patriots participates in a session of training camp at Gillette Stadium on July 29, 2011 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

A little more than a week ago, I speculated that Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots were close to their limit in free agency and had little-to-no more additions lined up.

The NFL announced today that the Patriots—and all 31 other teams, for that matter—can sign up to 10 additional players, expanding the offseason roster limit to 90 players.

New England has reportedly had interest in the recently released Yeremiah Bell, but the team has yet to set up a workout. Other than that, there hasn't been much in the way of rumors.

Matt Light made his previously unknown intentions quite concrete, retiring after 11 seasons with the Patriots. That leaves Brian Waters and Andre Carter as the only real question marks for next year, but as of now, it's looking more likely for Carter to return, possibly on a 1-2-year contract once healthy.

Kevin Faulk still remains likely to retire, although I feel like I've been saying that for awhile now.

The roster expansion dramatically alters the dynamic of the offseason. One would think it's in Belichick's nature to take advantage of the opportunity to assess more players, but as I've discussed previously, the Patriots already have to cram a lot of their game analysis and scouting into a very short amount of time. The 2012 preseason schedule calls for the final three games to be played in the span of just 10 days.

So, by expanding the roster, New England will be provided with the opportunity to invest some of its extra cash, but will have to evaluate even more players in a tough time squeeze. estimated that the Patriots had nearly $10 million available at the end of March. Since then, they've signed Dan Koppen, along with Bobby Carpenter and Chris Koepplin.

While Koppen's contract may have seemed large at first, it's important to note the fact that his combined base salary is just $3 million over two years. He'll have to earn the other half of his deal, predominantly though per-game bonuses.

The Patriots still have some money available, and it'll be interesting to see which directions they will apply it.