Well, Football Outsiders is making an effort to find the truth (which gives me a good excuse to use a picture of the Monopoly Guy). And the truth is that the Patriots are spending like they have in the past.
Last year, the salary cap was set at approximately $127 million. According to the Football Outsiders numbers, the Patriots would be over that now. New England has $123.2 million committed to players for 2010, and is carrying $10.7 million in dead money.
By comparison, the Jets have $129.2 million committed for 2010 and and $9.5 million in dead money; the Dolphins have $124.7 million committed for 2010 and $10.9 million in dead money; And the Bills have $109.4 million committed with a mere $27,279 in dead money.
The FO guys also identify a “Player Who Has to Live up to Team Salary Number” for each club. For the Patriots, it’s OT Nick Kaczur, who’s set to make $3,682,280 this year.
Anyone who’s interested in the finances of the game should check this series out. It’s an interesting one. The guys haven’t gotten through all the divisions yet (just the four NFC divisions and the AFC East, to this point), but the leader in spending so far — by a longshot — is the Redskins. They have $189.5 million committed to 2010 and a whopping $31.1 million in dead money.