NFL Projects ~$200MM Salary Cap For 2020

NFL revenue continues to rise and, in turn, the salary cap continues to climb. On Tuesday, the league office informed club officials that the salary cap is projected fall somewhere between $196.8MM and $201.2MM in 2020 (Twitter link via’s Tom Pelissero). This year, the cap is at $188.2MM, so that marks a significant jump in potential pay for players league-wide.

The expected increase marks a ~40% jump from five years ago in the 2015 season, when the cap was set at $143.3MM. It’s the seventh straight year in which cap is projected to climb more than $10MM per team, year over year. Since 2011, the cap has increased roughly 65 percent and $76 million per club.

The final cap number will likely set by the NFL and NFLPA in late February or early March, just before free agency gets underway. What we know is this – projected player costs, including benefits, will total more than $7.7 billion in 2020.

The NFLPA is undoubtedly happy about the jump, but the players’ union is expected to seek a larger share of the pie in the next collective bargaining agreement. The 2020 season marks the final year of the current labor contract.

For many teams, the cap increase will provide a bit of extra breathing room for the offseason. However, six clubs will still have to trim payroll between now and the new league year, as Field Yates of tweets. The Jaguars ($208MM), Falcons ($206MM), Bears ($205MM), Vikings ($203MM), Saints ($202MM), and Chiefs ($201MM) are all past the $200M mark for 2020, as of this writing.

View Comments (9)
newest oldest

9 comments on “NFL Projects ~$200MM Salary Cap For 2020

  1. compassrose

    With this big of an increase would be interesting to see if we could get Clowney to stay here. Not sure what he is looking for next year but man has he helped the D. He seems to disappear at times but with a full off season of Wagner in his ear he could come around. Ansah might be a nice addition too but he has to stay on the field more. Maybe a year after his surgery will be better. He needs to get Ziggy with it.

  2. crosseyedlemon

    That $205MM payroll is just one more reason you can forget about the Bears trading for Cam Newton’s $20MM per year salary.

  3. JJB0811

    ‘The expected increase marks a ~40% jump from five years ago in the 2015 season, when the cap was set at $143.3MM. It’s the seventh straight year in which cap is projected to climb more than $10MM per team, year over year. Since 2011, the cap has increased roughly 65 percent and $76 million per club.’

    Yet all I read or hear is how bad the players got screwed on the last CBA.

    • crosseyedlemon

      I won’t go as far as to say someone who is a millionaire is getting screwed but the CBA does favor the owners. The average NFL career is in the 45-50 game range. During that time the owners get a discount on the market value of players by having them under 4 year rookie contracts with a 5th year option. So a player actually has to beat the odds on longevity before he can negotiate a new deal.
      As far as the cap salary escalations go, only the QBs and one or two other stars on the roster actually reap the benefits of that.

      • JJB0811

        How is that average calculated? Agreed, lower drafted & undrafted FA’s wash out. Is that due to injury or performance?

        Same as in business. Some are workers, some get into management. Others at a GM level, and then a few are executives. There’s a salary curve in all professions is the point.

        But only in the NFL does the salary rise 40% in 5 years. Nothing is perfect, but to say the players were screwed is simply wrong.

        • However you calculate it, the full salary cap is spent every year. I don’t think the owners care how the money spreads out between rookies and vets. The players do: the players association routinely favours vets.

      • bradthebluefish

        Well said crosseyedlemon. I’m hoping the rookie deals are reduced to 3 years with a 4th year option.

  4. 3Tavgreg

    If NFLPA is smart, they would trade the extra 2games year the owners want, for fully guaranteed contracts.

    • compassrose

      The NFL owners are smart they will never give into guaranteed contracts. Look at what the Yankees just did with Cole 9 years $322 mill all 100% guaranteed. Only a couple ways that isn’t all paid die retire or jail.

      Pitchers are very delicate imagine giving a QB that and you get what happened in DC. They are on the hook for all that dough while Smith is on a fishing boat collecting a check every year. He has a small amount guaranteed but not the whole contract.

      It doesn’t make sense for the owners to do that. Cole will probably break even on that contract because his first five or so years will make up for the back end.

      Another one is a position player Cano was given a huge contractb by Seattle. He earned the contract the first half of it but now isn’t worth it. Seattle was smart to eat some of the money combine it with another player and get some really good prospects back. Will be much harder for an NFL team to do that.

      The big thing the players need is a pension but upside down. Younger players that didn’t play that long but seriously injured get more than the guys who made millions. They also need to have something like the Veterans Hospital. Have a few Drs and they will fly them in for whatever to get checked out. I guess not for everything but injury related stuff. They will have specialists in each field and the players come with no out of pocket expense.

      The NFL should also donate tons of money to the Veterans fund but that is andifferent story. Most of the owners won’t miss a few mill from their fat paychecks every year. Also when a player gets his second contract the apparel money goes to fund medical too.

      There needs to be some kind of ceiling on this. A fifth year long snapper shouldn’t lose the few dollars he makes but guys that sign multi million dollar contracts could.

      The one thing wrong with the last CBA is the players were looking short term and not long. I think they have learned but we will see.

Leave a Reply