NFL Notebook: Setting the stage for the Patriots’ busy offseason by breaking down the free agents

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We got the ball rolling on what should be a busy offseason for the Patriots with the five players with the most on the line in the postseason — basically the free agents who will be most in demand when the new league year starts at 4 p.m. on March 18. New England has 16 players set to become unrestricted free agents, and most of them have either started games or have been key players for this franchise, some for many years.

It's certainly setting up to be an active offseason for the Patriots, with the future of Tom Brady by far the biggest story. So let's give you a bit of a primer for what's ahead, layout the high cap numbers for those returning, and go through some guesses as far as the future for their free agents.

Estimated NFL cap space: $200 million per team
Patriots estimated cap space: