In response to PatsEng's comment:
I agree, but you can also look at backloaded deals as possible ways to get extra space. For instance Wilfork has a whopping $7.5mil in base salary. It would such to lose Wilfork but lets say they extend him instead for an additional 3 years with that $7.5 base turning to gauranteed funds and spread over the extension then suddenly that $11.6mil cap hit is now $6.1. You just freed up $5.5mil to add to that $4mil. You look at Mankins who has $6.5mil in base but because he's signed through 2015 cutting him would only save $2mil so you do something similar as Wilfork extended a couple years gaurantee the base for this year spread over and there is an extra $3mil for one of the more stable and healthy players on the team. Now you are up to $12mil. You cut your loses with Connolly who's play has suddenly dropped and that saves you $2.5mil so now you're at 14.5mil. Cut A. Wilson who didn't provide anything this year anyways and you are at $15mil. Right there is $15mil to work with and you only really lost 1 player from this year in Connolly, who has been underperforming and should be replaced anyways. With $15mil you can sign a whole bunch of players. Don't forget 15' the cap expands so you can arrange the contracts where the major hit doesn't take place until after the cap expands and you will have the Hern hit coming off the books which is another $7.5mil. Hence $4mil is a ton of money and they are in a good position moving forward to the point were if that $4mil is gone it won't over hurt them moving forward or if they do have it it's nice but only if it doesn't cost them a chance to win it this year.
Agree there's lots they could do to ease cap pressure. It's just whether they want to do all those things or prefer to keep a bit of space available. At this point in the season, signing additional veterans to cover for any other major injuries could also eat into that $4 million pretty quickly. According to the NFLPA, the average team has $6 million in cap space left, so the Pats are now on the lower side of the league average. The average is skewed a bit because a few teams have lots of space, but 19 teams have less cap space than the Pats and 12 more. So Pats are just a bit above the median.
Also, I'm still not sure how the carry over rule works (CBA wording is ambiguous). The Pats had about $5 million in carryover space. I believe all of this remaining cap room is now carry over room. So there's a question whether it can be carried over another year or not. I'm not sure.