NFL Notes: 2021 Salary Cap, Franchise Tags, TV Deals


2021 Salary Cap

  • When reviewing the implications of COVID-19 on the 2021 NFL offseason, ESPN’s Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler point out that nearly one-third of organizations are in the negative for salary cap due to the $175 million salary-floor for next season. 
  • ESPN mentions that the salary cap for 2021 currently projects to be around $181 million. 
  • According to ESPN, the NFL and players’ union are negotiating the official cap-figure, which is focused on how much of the expected 2021 salary cap can be “borrowed” from future years.
  • Graziano and Fowler provide an example that if the salary cap is projected to decrease by $20 million for 2021, the league could drop it by $10 million over the next two years instead. 
  • ESPN also writes that the 2021 salary cap could become “higher than expected” if a new broadcasting deal gets finalized in the coming weeks, or owners agree to officially expand the regular season to 17 games. 
  • An NFL executive who manages an organization’s salary cap and contracts told ESPN that several teams will face “major impacts” from the impacted revenue: “It’s a real concern. There are major impacts teams are gonna feel over the next month that they aren’t used to.”
  • As for the impact on free-agency, Graziano and Fowler note that “street free agents will flood the market,” which will result in top-players getting lucrative deals and middle-of-the-road players being “marginalized.”
  • ESPN writes that this will also cause some teams to “lean heavily on one-year deals,” while other high-profile free-agents may prefer one-year contracts in order to reach the 2022 open market when the cap, presumably, rises again.  

Franchise Tags

  • Regarding how the global pandemic affects the usage of the 2021 franchise tag, ESPN’s Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler cite a high-ranking NFL executive who predicts teams to take advantage of the lower franchise tag prices given one-year deals are likely to be more prevalent.
  • Another NFL source expects “about 10” organizations to use the franchise tag. 

TV Deals

  • NBC Sports’ Peter King reports the NFL’s new media rights deals with the major television companies are expected to be done within a month and last for the next 10 years.
  • While there might not be a lot of shakeup from the past deals in terms of details and broadcast slots, with the exception being Amazon taking over streaming on Thursday nights, King notes the new deals are expected to add between 70 and 100 percent to the NFL’s existing revenue streams in that area. 
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