There are lots of different estimates floating around but we know that the salary cap is going to rise, most reports on the bet365 website saying that it will be around $132 million per team and that would be $9 million more than it was in 2013 and $6 million more than it was projected to be as we came towards the end of the 2013 season.
At the moment it’s not clear why the cap will rise by such a significant amount as there have only been minimal rises in the past few years but regardless of the reasons behind such a move the new figures will give quite a few teams a surplus of cap space and taking all the teams as a whole there would be about $600 million available in cap space; that would average out at around $19 million per team and could lead to some considerable movement and spending around the league.
Only two teams as things stand are over the cap, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys by $6 million and $18 million respectively whilst at the other end of the scale the Oakland Raiders have the most space available – some $66 million.
They are one of the four teams that have at least $40 million in cap space and there are 13 teams that have $20 million in space on the cap. Those numbers are likely to shuffle around in the coming weeks as teams sign and re-sign players and before the free agent market opens.
It all begs the question how will this money get spent and will it lead to a frenzy in the free-agency market? We don’t think it will as a lot of teams will be using the “spare” cash to lock-up their key players so that they never have a chance of hitting that particular market.
It already looks like that process is starting to happen as the Eagles did just that this week signing left tackle Jason Peters to a four-year contract extension that will make excellent use of their $25 million in cap space.
According to the bet365 website, the NFL will announce the actual 2014 cap figure in a memo to teams once calculations and negotiations are complete. It’s possible we won’t know that number until shortly before the league year begins March 11. Until then, we’ll do our best to make semi-educated estimates but what we do know is that the Steelers and Cowboys have some work to do to come in under the cap and that the Raiders, Jaguars and Browns have cash to splash.