PatsCap: Patriots now have 12 draft picks – how much is that going to affect the cap?

(USA Today Images)

With today's announcement that the Patriots were awarded four compensatory picks, I thought it would be a good time to project how much cap space it will take to sign the 2019 Patriots draft class

(With Brian McFarland's permission, I'm using his fine work here as a template for this blog post.)

After the 2019 draft is over, we'll hear the exact amount allocated for the Patriots' 2019 rookie pool. This is an oft-misunderstood number, because while it is part of the team’s salary cap, it doesn't have a dollar-for-dollar impact on the team’s overall salary cap.

The rookie cap is often referred to as “a cap within a cap” because it limits the amount teams can allocate to their rookies in the year they were drafted (and over the life of the rookies’ contracts). There is a lot of confusion about the rookie cap and how it works.

Here's a breakdown of why there are misconceptions.