How the New England Patriots Paid the Best Team in the NFL

Tom Brady celebrates winning Super Bowl 51 as he holds the Lombardi Trophy.

The New England Patriots are Super Bowl champs. | Al Bello/Getty Images

Facing a 25-point deficit against a high-powered Atlanta Falcons club, the New England Patriots were not supposed to win Super Bowl 51. And yet, behind the greatest performance in Super Bowl history from the greatest player to ever step on a football field, the Pats shocked the world, defeating the NFC champion Falcons 34-28 in overtime.

The Pats are comprised of players who care more about the team than they do about themselves. That is why they are the best team in the NFL, and it’s why the franchise has five Super Bowl wins. Still, that doesn’t mean reaching the top of the mountain came cheap. Using players’ cap hits as our guide, here’s a look at how New England paid the best team in football in 2016.

10. Julian Edelman – $4,421,875

Julian Edelman points toward the competition.

Julian Edelman is fired up. | Elsa/Getty Images

Contract details: in the third year of a four-year, $17 million contract

Given his consistent contribution, you’d think the New England Patriots would pay wideout Julian Edelman a lot more money. However, that’s hardly the case. Despite playing in all 16 games and catching 98 passes for 1,106 receiving yards and three touchdowns, the 30-year-old’s contract counted for just a little more than $4.4 million against the cap in 2016. If you ask us, that’s a steal. That figure will rise to $5.75 million in 2017, when Edelman turns 31 years old. Still pretty much a bargain.