Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, citing a league source with knowledge of the situation, reports that the 2021 salary is unlikely to be as high as $185 million.
Instead, Florio’s source mentioned that the final salary cap number for the salary cap could end up in the range of $182 million to $183 million.
Last week, the NFL informed teams that the salary cap will be a minimum of $180 million for the 2021 season.
“This is not the final Salary Cap for the 2021 League year, which will be set following review of final 2020 revenue figures and other audit and accounting adjustments. This agreement simply increases the minimum 2021 Salary Cap by $5 million per club, from $175 million to $180 million,” the league announced in a memo.
The expectation has been that the cap will end up somewhere around $180-181 million when all is said and done, but there has been some speculation that the upcoming new media deals could push it even higher.
The NFL has the right to expand to a 17-game regular season, but a new media contract would have to be finalized before the NFL officially adds the 17th game to the regular season in 2021.
The league is reportedly in negotiations right now and there has been talk that agreements with some networks could be in place at some point in the coming weeks.
Every dollar will help teams who are expected to face a major challenge adjusting to the salary cap falling for the first time in decades due to revenue losses from the pandemic. It was at $198 million in 2020 and had risen around $10 million a year for most of the past decade.
Even if the cap ends up at or around $185 million per year, there’s going to be a cap crunch this offseason that will likely result in some notable cap casualties. Beyond that, it could make for a tough free-agent market.
We’ll have more regarding the salary cap as the news is available.