As the final seconds of the AFC Championship Game ticked down Sunday night, CBS broadcaster Tony Romo weaved the New England Patriots into the conversation.
Romo has high hopes for the Patriots, who went 7-9 this season and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
“The AFC is going to be loaded,” Romo said. “I’m telling you, New England is going to be back in this thing. I have a feeling Belichick, with that much salary cap, they’ll find a way to come back in this thing.”
The Patriots are projected to have over $60 million in cap space this offseason and could free up even more room with a couple of cost-cutting maneuvers. They also have the 15th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
The Patriots’ first priority should be finding a quarterback. Matthew Stafford is on the trade block, and Aaron Rodgers could be joining him. The Patriots also could draft a quarterback, sign a bridge option like Jacoby Brissett or Ryan Fitzpatrick, or try to pry Jimmy Garoppolo away from the San Francisco 49ers.
With all that cap space, however, Romo is right. The Patriots could be back in the postseason in a hurry.
For now, Patriots fans will just have to cheer on their former quarterback, Tom Brady, as he faces off against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV.
The Chiefs knocked off the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game, and Brady’s Bucs beat the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game.