Latest On 2021 Salary Cap

Feb. 7: League sources expect the 2021 salary cap to come in between $180MM-$181MM, Adam Schefter of tweets. That is not much higher than the worst-case scenario of $175MM, so there are are plenty of teams that will have a lot of work to do to get below the new cap. That includes clubs like the Saints, Eagles, Steelers, Packers, and Falcons, all of whom are projected to have over $200MM in cap obligations.

Feb. 4: The 2021 salary cap remains expected to drop significantly from its $198.2MM 2020 place, causing extensive fallout. But the cap might not fall to the agreed-upon $175MM floor.

Preliminary NFL-NFLPA cap discussions began last month, per Tom Pelissero of, who adds some team officials expect the cap to come in around $185MM and potentially a bit higher. Others, however, are a bit less bullish, expecting a cap of around $180MM, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk notes.

Union chief DeMaurice Smith indicated a “decent chance” exists the cap will come in somewhere above the $175MM floor, per Albert Breer of (on Twitter). The reduction estimates would move the cap back to the neighborhoods of 2018 ($177.2MM) or ’19 ($188.2MM).

Chiefs CEO Clark Hunt, who is also chairman of the NFL’s financing committee, said the final number may not be known until hours before the start of the 2021 league year on March 17. Considering the NFL’s CBA negotiations prompted multiple postponements to the start of the 2020 league year, it would certainly not be out of step to see these discussions go down to the wire. The NFL did not provide teams with a cap projection this week.

With the COVID-19 pandemic leading to attendance falling from over $17MM to around $1MM, the NFL is set for a rare development. While the cap plateaued in the early 2010s, the number dropping to the degree it might will force teams to make unusual moves to be in compliance. But this has been the expected development for many months; teams have had time to prepare. As of Thursday, however, 11 teams are projected to be more than $10MM over a $175MM cap.

The pandemic interfered with the reality of the cap soaring after the latest round of TV deals. While those contracts and potential mass vaccinations taking place in 2021 may move the cap back to its previous track after this year, the league continues to brace for a historic reduction.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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11 comments on “Latest On 2021 Salary Cap

  1. HubcapDiamondStarHalo

    I guess it would be near impossible to come up with a fair system, but it seems like any contract signed before, say, 2019 should count against the upcoming “pandemic cap” at a discounted rate. Clubs had a pretty reasonable expectation that the cap would remain stable at the lest and more than likely rise; can’t imagine anybody envisioned such an economic disaster coming.

    • DarkSide830

      what they should do is just pump the cap up a bit, but the teams in a good cap situation probably wanted to stick it to the ones over.

      • billneftleberg

        Nobody is sticking it to any team, every team knew about COVID 19 well before the season even started, the Steelers made their choices to try to win it all THIS YEAR, it didn’t work, now they must deal with those decisions. Just like every other team

  2. denny816

    Guess the Pack will be saying goodbye to Aaron Jones and Kevin King and will probably be cutting Preston Smith. Those moves and a renegotiating of Aaron Rodgers contract should get them close to the cap.

  3. billneftleberg

    There should be no adjustments, none. Every team faces the same cap restraints. Teams knew about COVID -19 months before the season started and several decided not to act for competitive reasons. They made their choices, no other teams, are responsible for what those 11 teams did. Now they have to live with the consequences. As they should.

  4. justme

    What will be interesting to see is with the additional regular season game with the roster expand by a couple players..if so will the top 51 that counts against the cap change as well…if so that may complicate some teams cap further if lets say it was 52 or 53 counted against the cap

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