Agree. 32 MUSD is petty cash, although some new signings can be structured so the 2023 cap hit is spread out over a few years.
Assume they keep 5 million for future in season transactions and emergencies...that leaves about 27 MUSD. Figuring their 2 biggest needs are at OT and CB, that would allow them to sign one or two premium players at most with the rest as second tier players.
There will be more competition as well. If I recall correctly, the Pats had about $60M+
in cap space going into the '21 FA period. We saw what they did and how it turned out. With x2+
the cap money they have now, they still didn't sign any elite players. Back in '21 the other advantage was the reduced overall yearly cap amount put us in a position to dominate the market.
Now, we have a record cap year (23% higher than '21) with several teams w/ = > cap than the Pats. We also have a team like CHI that has >$90M in cap space with the following needs: OT, RB, WR, TE, C, G, LB DT, CB, S. IOW they need everything, have the money to compete and will be bidding for the best players.
Finally, there's the whole approach to cap management. The Pats have traditionally balked at back loading contracts and especially adding void years. This means the $32M will not go as far as say $25M can w/ a team willing to back load + add void years to lower the '23 season cap hits.
Given the above, I don't expect the Patriots to sign any elite FAs. Maybe they surprise me.