Bonus Proration For Opt-Outs Will Not Count Against 2020 Cap

An important development on the salary cap front. Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reports that signing bonus proration for players who opt out will not count against a team’s 2020 cap (Twitter link). Previously, it was believed that only unearned salary and bonuses would be removed from the cap.

So as Pelissero observes, teams with big-money players who opt out will have considerably more cap room to work with in 2020 than they thought. For instance, Broncos right tackle Ja’Wuan James announced yesterday that he will opt out of the 2020 season, and his $10MM salary was set to toll until 2021. But now, his $3MM signing bonus proration will also toll, leaving Denver with $13MM in additional cap space.

Of course, the Broncos will almost certainly want James back in 2021, just as the Jets will want C.J. Mosley back. And, since the 2021 salary cap is going to drop considerably, teams are unlikely to spend their newfound money and will simply look to roll it over into next season. That is especially true since we’re now in August and there are very few free agents worth signing to expensive deals.

Players have until 4pm ET/3pm CT on Thursday to opt out.

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