NFL: AFC Championship Game-New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs

Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore has restructured his deal to allow the team more salary cap flexibility.

The Patriots entered Thursday dangerously close to running out of cap space. By Friday, they rectified the situation.

According to ESPN, the Patriots converted $8.5 million of Stephon Gilmore’s contract into a signing bonus, which creates $5.67 million in cap space. This will make the All-Pro cornerback’s cap hits go up in 2020 and 2021, but allows the Patriots to make more moves in free agency.

After re-signing Ryan Allen this week, the Patriots found themselves with around $2.5 million in cap space on Thursday. Considering they need that exact amount to sign all their draft picks (if they keep them), it was obvious the team needed to clear some cap space. By restructuring Gilmore’s deal, the Patriots now have around $8.2 million in cap space.

Now, the Pats have the cap room to go out and re-sign kicker Stephen Gostkowski. According to NBC Sports Boston, the Patriots and Gostkowski “have made progress” toward a new contract. The news on Friday means the team now has the cap space to adequately pay their kicker. The Pats also have reported interest in veteran receiver Jordy Nelson.

Gilmore’s restructure won’t be the only move the Pats make to create space. Extending a veteran like Tom Brady would also help create even more cap space. Typically, the Patriots like to go into the start of each season with around $5 million in cap room. That allows them some wiggle room when it comes to making trades or extending players on their roster.