Earlier this week, we heard that NFL executives had been informed by the league office that 2016’s salary cap for teams is expected to be in the range of $147MM-155MM, an increase over this year’s $143.28MM figure. Today, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reduces the gap on that estimate, tweeting that the league’s estimate projected a cap between $150MM and $153.4MM.
As Albert Breer of the NFL Network observes, the projection teams get in December typically comes in a little lower than the final figure, so we can probably assume that the cap will eventually land around $153MM. Breer passes along the projected franchise-tag amounts for a hypothetical cap of $153MM, which predictably come in just slightly below the figures provided by Joel Corry of CBSSports.com last month — Corry was projecting a $154MM cap.
While teams can start making tentative plans based on the latest cap estimates, agents and players may prefer to wait things out. According to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link), many players and their agents would rather see where the cap lands before signing new contracts, out of concern that those new deals will quickly become outdated, with the cap on the rise. Cole identifies Buccaneers running back Doug Martin and Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins as two players exercising patience, even though their clubs wouldn’t mind getting something done prior to free agency.
As Over the Cap’s team-by-team cap projections for 2016 show, there are currently two clubs – the Dolphins and Saints – whose salary commitments put them over the cap for ’16 already. OTC’s figures are based on a $150MM estimate, but since Miami and New Orleans each have more than $154MM in salary on their books, they’d still be a little over the cap even if it lands on the high end of the league’s projections.