Salary Cap

NFL Restructures: Saints, Ward, McGovern

With the league’s recent release of the new salary cap numbers and the rapid approach of free agency and the draft, NFL teams are working to clear up cap space to help add significant talent to their rosters for the 2024 NFL season. The Saints made a number of moves recently to reflect this pattern.

New Orleans agreed to a restructured deal with defensive end Carl Granderson, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. The team converted a $9MM roster bonus that Granderson was due into a signing bonus spread over a five-year period. The move reduced his cap hit in 2024 from $12.45MM to $5.25MM, freeing up $7.2MM of cap space.

The team applied the same tactic to interior offensive lineman Cesar Ruiz‘s contract, per Pelissero, converting his $8MM roster bonus into a signing bonus and adding a void year to the end of his deal. The result saw Ruiz’s cap number drop from $10.85MM to $4.45MM, freeing up $6.4MM more of cap space.

One more time, the Saints got another player to sign a restructured deal this week. This time, star pass rusher Cameron Jordan agreed to convert $11.79MM of his 2024 base salary into a signing bonus, according to Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.Football. Jordan’s base salary was reduced to $1.21MM, and the team cleared $9.43MM of cap space as a result.

Granderson, Ruiz, and Jordan join quarterback Derek Carr, defensive tackle Nathan Shepherd, and center Erik McCoy as Saints who have signed restructured deals to help clear cap space recently.

Here are a couple of other restructured deals from around the league:

  • The Browns got in on the party, agreeing to a restructured deal with cornerback Denzel Ward, per Pelissero. Cleveland converted $14.2MM of Ward’s base salary into a signing bonus and added a void year to the end of his contract. Ward’s 2024 salary is now $1.13MM as a result, and the move cleared $11.36MM of cap space for the upcoming league year.
  • Finally, the Bills were the other team this week to work towards more cap space. Offensive guard Connor McGovern agreed to a reworked deal that would convert $4.68MM of his 2024 base salary into a signing bonus and add two void years to the end of his contract, according to Pelissero. The restructure clears up $3.74MM of cap space for Buffalo.

Teams Expect 2024 Salary Cap To Check In Around $240MM

Over the course of the 2011 CBA, the NFL salary cap did not jump by more than $12MM in a single year. The 2020s look likely to produce another climb by at least $15MM.

The cap checked in at $224.8MM this year, marking an increase from 2022 ($208.2MM). While unresolved issues are holding up a projection for the 2024 cap,’s Albert Breer notes teams’ internal projections have placed the 2024 salary ceiling between $235-$240MM. Though, Breer adds the actual number is likely to come in a bit higher, potentially closer to $245MM.

Following the 2021 cap reduction that stemmed from the fanless or fan-limited 2020 season, the cap jumped by a record $26MM to the above-referenced 2022 number. A climb to approximately $240MM, the second-highest year-to-year increase since the cap was implemented in 1994, would be in line with the growth under the current CBA. The 2020 agreement has brought multiple additional revenue drivers.

The NFL expanded the playoffs to 14 teams in 2020, ending a 30-season run of 12-team brackets. In 2021, the league broke a 42-year string (strike years excluded) of 16-game regular seasons. The expanded playoffs and 17-game regular season has helped, with each factoring into the new round of TV deals that became final in March 2021. Those contracts run through 2033. The YouTube TV seven-year “NFL Sunday Ticket” agreement, worth more than $2 billion, will impact future salary caps as well.

Last year’s round of internal team projections represented an accurate number for the 2023 cap, so the 2024 range should be viewed as relevant here. OverTheCap’s prediction has also moved down to $242MM. No official projection will arrive until January, per’s Adam Schefter, who adds a league memo sent to teams recently indicated the NFL and NFLPA are still working on unresolved matters.

Here is how the salary cap has climbed over the past two CBAs:

  • 2011: $120.4MM
  • 2012: $120.6MM
  • 2013: $123.6MM
  • 2014: $133MM
  • 2015: $143.3MM
  • 2016: $155.3MM
  • 2017: $167MM
  • 2018: $177.2MM
  • 2019: $188.2MM
  • 2020: $198.2MM
  • 2021: $182.5MM
  • 2022: $208.2MM
  • 2023: $224.8MM

NFC Restructures: Armstead, Lawrence, Okereke

As if they needed to, the 49ers made moves yesterday to increase their already NFL-leading unused salary cap space up to $42.29MM in 2023 ( This time, San Francisco addressed the contract of defensive tackle Arik Armstead, according to Field Yates of ESPN.

The 49ers came to an agreement with Armstead, who’s currently playing on a five-year, $85MM contract, to convert $14.72MM of his 2023 base salary into a signing bonus while adding an additional void year to the end of his current deal. The moved resulted in $11.78MM becoming available in cap space for the 2023 season.

We mentioned yesterday that the additional cap space for the 49ers could have multiple uses that benefit the team. The obvious immediate benefit is that San Francisco should have plenty of flexibility around the trade deadline to make any necessary additions.

If second-year quarterback Brock Purdy decides to continue adding to his flawless regular season record and the team deems that no additions are necessary, the 49ers will be able to roll over unused cap space into 2024, when they’re projected to be $40MM over the salary cap. They’ll likely still make additions or adjustments in the offseason that will make it a closer call but having over $42MM of cap space to play with is insanely valuable.

Here are a couple of other restructures from another 2022 NFC playoff squad:

  • Shortly after rewarding defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence with a four-year, $87.5MM contract extension, the Giants have restructured his new deal for a bit of maneuverability in the team’s cap space, according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN. Lawrence’s 2023 base salary of $2.25MM was reduced down to $1.08MM with the difference of $1.17MM being converted into a signing bonus. This is a standard move at the start of the year to help create a bit of flexibility in the team’s salary cap.
  • New York also adjusted the contract of new linebacker Bobby Okereke, according to Raanan. Okereke’s 2023 base salary of $1.9MM was also reduced to $1.08MM with the $820K-difference being converted into a signing bonus. Along with Lawrence’s above restructure, the team was reportedly able to clear up about $1.55MM of cap space for 2023.

NFL Restructures: 49ers, Humphrey, Barrett, Teller

The NFL has an offseason rule called the Top 51 rule. The Top 51 rule dictates that, from the start of the new NFL league year until the beginning of the regular season, only the top 51 contracts (in terms of salary cap hit) count against a team’s salary cap. With the 2023 regular season starting tomorrow, the Top 51 rule expired at 4pm today.

This means that each team in the NFL was forced to add two more contracts to their salary cap totals. If a team was flirting with the ceiling of the salary cap, the addition of two more contracts may push them above the limit. While that may not have been the case for all of the following teams, these front offices decided to take advantage of the timing to clear up some cap space, according to ESPN’s Field Yates:

  • The 49ers did double-duty, restructuring the contracts of tight end George Kittle and offensive tackle Trent Williams. For Kittle, the team converted $10.57MM of his 2023 base salary into a signing bonus while adding an additional void year to the end of the deal, clearing up $8.46MM of cap space. For Williams, San Francisco converted $18.24MM of the left tackle’s 2023 base salary into a signing bonus, also adding a single void year to the end of the deal. Williams’ adjustment cleared $14.59MM of cap space. The $23.04MM of cap space cleared in the restructures likely had less to do with the Top 51 rule and much more to do with star pass rusher Nick Bosa‘s record-setting extension.
  • The Ravens used the opportunity to adjust star cornerback Marlon Humphrey‘s contract. Baltimore converted $9.42MM of Humphrey’s 2023 base salary into a signing bonus and added a single void year to the end of the deal. The adjustment created $7.54MM of cap space for the Ravens.
  • The Seahawks decided to create space by restructuring safety Jamal Adams‘ contract. Seattle converted $9.92MM of Adams’ 2023 base salary into a signing bonus, creating $6.61MM of cap space for the team.
  • The Buccaneers also targeted the contract of a defensive veteran, adjusting the numbers of pass rusher Shaquil Barrett. For Barrett, Tampa Bay converted $13.09MM of his 2023 base salary into a signing bonus while adding an additional void year to the end of the contract. The restructure clears up $10.47MM of cap space for the Buccaneers.
  • The Titans also addressed the contract of a pass rusher, restructuring Harold Landry‘s current deal. Tennessee converted $11MM of Landry’s 2023 base salary into a signing bonus, clearing up $8.25MM of cap space for the team.
  • The Broncos continue to miss the contributions of wide receiver Tim Patrick, who will once again miss the entire season, but Denver still found some value for him in a contract restructure. The team converted $6MM of Patrick’s 2023 base salary into a signing bonus to clear up $3MM of cap space.
  • The Browns created some cap space by restructuring the deal of veteran offensive guard Wyatt Teller. Cleveland converted $11.42MM of Teller’s 2023 base salary into a signing bonus while adding an additional void year to the end his deal in order to create $9.14MM of cap space for the team.

Chargers Rumors: Ekeler, Johnston, Salary Cap

Within a limited salary cap, as other positions begin to see an increase in the average value of their contracts, the space in the salary cap for those increases has to come from somewhere. As positions like quarterback and defensive tackle are reaching new highs, it seems that the value of running backs is slowly diminishing.

Chargers running back Austin Ekeler went on The Rich Eisen Show this week to voice his opinion on the situation. Ekeler is entering a contract year and was interested in renewing his deal for more time in Los Angeles. When it became clear that the Chargers weren’t willing to meet his demands on a new deal, they allowed him to seek a trade. Unfortunately for Ekeler, it soon became apparent that no one was willing to meet his demands, sending him back to the negotiating table. Without extending his time with the team, Los Angeles did show a bit of their appreciation for Ekeler, reworking his contract in a way that allows him to make more money in 2023 through incentives.

Ekeler understandably left the situation frustrated with the development of the running back market. His view is that running backs carry the ball and impact the game more and that they’re not getting compensated in a corresponding fashion. While he certainly has a point, being concerned that top running backs are getting nearly the money they should be able to, the overall market of the position is being dragged down by the success of its younger players. Due to the recent successes seen by running backs on rookie contracts, several teams feel much more comfortable going to the draft for their primary rushers, making them less inclined to pay out large contracts to veterans, regardless of their caliber.

As a result, Ekeler sees backup wide receivers making more money than him, despite their lesser impact on the team’s success. It’s an unfortunate development that, this offseason, has resulted in contract disputes from four of the league’s top-eight running backs in yards from scrimmage last year.

Here are a few other rumors coming out of Los Angeles this summer:

  • The Chargers used a first-round pick on wide receiver Quentin Johnston this year, and there is not an expectation that he will be coming off the bench much as a rookie, according to Daniel Popper of The Athletic. Despite Josh Palmer stepping up in a big way during his sophomore season while position leaders Keenan Allen and Mike Williams each missed some time with injury, Popper expects Johnston to jump Palmer for the WR3 role at some point this year. Johnston has some development to undergo still before claiming the spot, but Palmer’s absence in the spring (due to injury) certainly helps Johnston’s case. Popper expects the position battle to take place in training camp, and he expects Johnston to eventually win out.
  • Additionally, Popper addressed the team’s reluctance to spend on free agency this offseason despite having a little more the $12MM in open cap space for 2023. It’s a popular opinion that the Chargers are already looking ahead towards the 2024 season. Next year, four players will have cap hits over $30MM, and that’s not including quarterback Justin Herbert who, if forced to play out his fifth-year option, would hold a $29.50MM cap hit in 2024. Instead of spending their money this summer on contracts that may have an impact into next year, Los Angeles may be angling to take advantage of rollover cap space. According to Popper, “teams are allowed to roll over any unused cap space from one season to the next.” $12MM of rollover could do a lot towards what could end up being a pricey 2024 season. In contrast, the highest cap hit the team is dealing with in 2023 comes in at $17MM.

Jets Rumors: Restructures, Williams, McDonald, Johnson

The Jets were recently able to create an impressive $12.7MM of cap space by reworking defensive end Carl Lawson‘s contract. The team may not be done there, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, as there are a few more veterans with lofty salaries in 2023.

After reducing Lawson’s cap hit for the year, five Jets have cap hits over $10MM for the upcoming season: linebacker C.J. Mosley ($21.48MM), left tackle Duane Brown ($11.28MM), wide receiver Corey Davis ($11.17MM), left guard Laken Tomlinson ($10.88MM), and safety Jordan Whitehead ($10.23MM).

Mosley, Brown, and Davis make the most sense for potential further restructures, not just because they have the highest cap hits, but also because they all have salaries over $9MM next season. Mosley has the highest base salary for 2023 at $17MM, while Davis is at $10.5MM and Brown is at $9MM. The bigger base salary gives them a larger amount that they are able to convert into a signing bonus in order to reduce salary cap numbers.

Here are a few more rumors concerning Gang Green:

  • Another player with a high salary and cap hit, as his fifth-year option gives him an amount for both of $9.59MM, Quinnen Williams has been the source of much stress for New York. While head coach Robert Saleh is fairly unconcerned about the situation, expecting a deal to get done, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN, the drama was only exacerbated with Williams made an adjustment to his Twitter bio earlier this week, writing, “Defensive tackle for ……………….” Many around the league are worried the situation could devolve into one resembling that of Jamal Adams, who general manager Joe Douglas had planned to make a “Jet for life” before trading him to Seattle weeks later.
  • The Jets used a first-round pick on Iowa State outside linebacker Will McDonald back in April. It puzzled some as it looked like the continuation of a number of early draft investments New York has made at pass rusher. Some wondered if they maybe planned to use McDonald as more of a complete linebacker, but according to Cimini, the Jets plan to use McDonald at defensive end. Considered to be arguably the draft’s best pass rushing prospect, McDonald will compete with recent high draft pick Jermaine Johnson and John Franklin-Myers for snaps across from Carl Lawson.
  • It was a bit of a shock last month when New York released running back Ty Johnson with a non-football injury designation just over a month after re-signing him. Johnson took to Instagram today to provide some emotional insight on the situation. According to Johnson, after tearing a pectoral muscle in a workout away from the team, Johnson was told by the Jets’ team doctor to undergo surgery. When he returned to the facility after the procedure, he was told he no longer had a spot on the roster. The Jets return a hopefully fully healthy Breece Hall, Michael Carter, and Zonovan Knight and added Pitt running back Israel Abanikanda in the fourth round of the draft.
  • New York signed former Packer Billy Turner earlier this month to help solidify their depth at offensive tackle. Thanks to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2, we’ve got a few more details on the deal. The one-year contract has a base salary of only $1.35MM with $1MM of it guaranteed. Turner can more than double that amount if he ends up active and playing next year. He’ll receive a per game active roster bonus of $17,647 for a potential season total of $300K. The deal also includes a playing time incentive that will pay him $1.5MM if he plays 75 percent or more of the team’s offensive snaps.
  • Cimini was able to provide us with details on defensive tackle Al Woods‘s recent signing, as well. The one-year deal worth $2.25MM has a base salary of $1.24MM ($500K of it guaranteed) with a $500K signing bonus. Woods will also receive a per game active roster bonus, his worth $30K for a potential season total of $510K.

NFL Restructures: Saints, Corbett, Grant, Eagles

The Saints restructured two contracts yesterday in an effort towards salary cap compliance, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. Both linebacker Demario Davis and tight end Taysom Hill have agreed to the new arrangements to lower their cap hit next season.

Davis is under contract through the 2025 season, Hill through 2026. Davis had another stellar season for the Saints in 2022. Since joining the team in 2018, he’s missed one game and been a first- or second-team All-Pro in every season but his first in New Orleans. The team converted $7.09MM of base salary for the 34-year-old’s 2023 season into a signing bonus, clearing $5.67MM in cap space off of his contract. He now holds a cap hit next year of $7.61MM with a base salary of $1.17MM.

Hill had another productive year as a Swiss-army weapon for New Orleans. The quarterback/tight end continued to show a much larger impact rushing than receiving but steeply declined in his passing numbers this year. The team converted $8.82MM of base salary for the 32-year-old’s 2023 season into a signing bonus, clearing $7.06MM in cap space off of his contract. He now holds a cap hit next year of $6.87MM with a base salary of $1.08MM.

The team still has several avenues it can explore to create cap space. Defensive end Cameron Jordan ($25.7MM), cornerback Marshon Lattimore ($22.4MM), guard Andrus Peat ($18.3MM), running back Alvin Kamara ($16MM), and quarterback Jameis Winston ($15.6MM) all hold cap hits over $15MM that could likely be restructured.

Here are few other recent moves as teams strive towards cap compliance:

  • After signing a three-year, $26.25MM contract a year ago, guard Austin Corbett has agreed to a restructured deal with the Panthers, according to Panthers staff writer Darin Gantt. Corbett contributed to a much-improved offensive line this season, starting all 17 games before suffering a torn ACL in the team’s last game of the year. The 28-year-old is working towards a return spending every day at the facility in recovery. Yates of ESPN reports that the team converted $7.72MM, consisting of his base salary and a $1MM roster bonus, into a signing bonus, freeing up $5.79MM in cap space. Corbert now holds a 2023 salary of $1.08MM and a cap hit of $5.16MM.
  • Yates’s above report on Corbett also mentioned the Browns recent restructuring of wide receiver and return-specialist Jakeem Grant. Grant missed the 2022 season with a torn Achilles tendon after signing a three-year, $10MM contract in the offseason. The renegotiated deal for Grant reportedly reduces his cap hit by $1.77MM.
  • Eagles center Jason Kelce is currently headed towards free agency or, potentially, retirement. Still, since Philadelphia has a habit of building voidable years into contracts in an effort to lessen the salary cap burden of deals, the team found it necessary to decrease that financial burden that Kelce’s expiring contract has on their future. According to yet another report by Yates, the Eagles paid Kelce a $3MM bonus yesterday, consisting of his $2.75MM 2023 roster bonus and $250,000 2023 offseason bonus, to reduce his 2023 cap hit. The move reportedly cleared up around $2.4MM of cap space for Philadelphia next season.

2023 NFL Cap Space, By Team

Earlier this week, the NFL revealed its 2023 salary cap. Teams can now budget for their offseasons, knowing a $224.8MM ceiling is in place. This year’s nonexclusive franchise and transition tag numbers also emerged, giving teams more clarity on those fronts as well. With that in mind, here is where every team stands in terms of cap space:

  1. Chicago Bears: $90.91MM
  2. Atlanta Falcons: $56.42MM
  3. New York Giants: $44.28MM
  4. Houston Texans: $37.56MM
  5. Cincinnati Bengals: $35.55MM
  6. New England Patriots: $32.71MM
  7. Seattle Seahawks: $31.04MM
  8. Baltimore Ravens: $26.87MM
  9. Las Vegas Raiders: $19.78MM
  10. Arizona Cardinals: $14.47MM
  11. Kansas City Chiefs: $13.96MM
  12. Detroit Lions: $13.83MM
  13. Indianapolis Colts: $12.59MM
  14. Denver Broncos: $9.07MM
  15. San Francisco 49ers: $8.28MM
  16. Washington Commanders: $8.24MM
  17. Philadelphia Eagles: $4.24MM
  18. Pittsburgh Steelers: $1.03MM
  19. New York Jets: $1.31MM over the cap
  20. Dallas Cowboys: $7.18MM over
  21. Carolina Panthers: $8.94MM over
  22. Los Angeles Rams: $14.19MM over
  23. Cleveland Browns: $14.64MM over
  24. Miami Dolphins: $16.45MM over
  25. Green Bay Packers: $16.48MM over
  26. Buffalo Bills: $17.88MM over
  27. Los Angeles Chargers: $20.38MM over
  28. Jacksonville Jaguars: $22.35MM over
  29. Minnesota Vikings: $23.43MM over
  30. Tennessee Titans: $23.67MM over
  31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: $55.03MM over
  32. New Orleans Saints: $60.47MM over

These figures (courtesy of OverTheCap) will change dramatically in the coming weeks, but this is where each team stands ahead of Super Bowl LVII. After that point, cap-casualty cuts can begin taking place. Restructures, extensions and trades will commence as well, with the Saints of recent years doing well to prove there are a few roads to cap compliance.

While New Orleans is in its usual February place, the team actually was further over the 2021 and ’22 caps at this point on the NFL calendar. Using void years to load up its roster during Tom Brady‘s three-year stay, Tampa Bay has seen much of that bill come due. If Brady does not re-sign a procedural deal, which would allow for the Buccaneers to spread out his dead money, the team will be hit with a $35.1MM dead-cap charge this year.

The Browns led the league by a wide margin in cap carryover from 2022, Field Yates of tweets. Cleveland carried over $27.6MM in cap space. The Browns paced the league in cap space throughout the 2022 season, bracing for the Deshaun Watson contract’s spike. As of now, Watson’s cap figure will balloon from $9.4MM to $54.9MM. No NFL player has ever played a season on a cap number higher than $45MM.

The Panthers, Broncos, Bears and Raiders rounded out the top five in carryover dollars, ranging from $10.8MM to $6.7MM. Chicago ate considerable dead money via the Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn trades. The rebuilding team is still paying most of Quinn’s salary, doing so in order to secure a better draft pick from the Eagles. The Bears will have quite the opportunity to bolster their roster in Ryan Poles‘ second year in charge, leading the league by a massive margin and holding the No. 1 overall pick. The Falcons still have $12MM-plus in Deion Jones dead money on their 2023 payroll, but the team is rid of Matt Ryan‘s record-setting dead-cap hit ($40MM).

Baltimore will have a major decision to make in the coming weeks. GM Eric DeCosta said he has not decided if the team will place the exclusive or nonexclusive tag on Lamar Jackson. Even the nonexclusive number — $32.42MM — will dramatically change the Ravens’ budget ahead of free agency. The exclusive tag, which prevents other teams from submitting an offer sheet to Jackson, is expected to come in just north of $45MM.

NFL Sets 2023 Franchise/Transition Tag Figures

The 2023 salary cap coming in at $224.8MM will lead to teams knowing what it will cost to use the franchise or transition tags this year. Those decisions are coming soon, and the numbers emerged Monday.

These figures are similar to what we heard six weeks ago, but the official totals (via’s Tom Pelissero, on Twitter) are listed below:

Franchise tag:

  • Quarterback: $32.42MM
  • Running back: $10.1MM
  • Wide receiver: $19.74MM
  • Tight end: $11.36MM
  • Offensive linemen: $18.24MM
  • Defensive end: $19.73MM
  • Defensive tackle: $18.94MM
  • Linebacker: $20.93MM
  • Cornerback: $18.14MM
  • Safety: $14.46MM
  • Kicker/punter: $5.39MM

Transition tag:

  • Quarterback: $29.5MM
  • Running back: $8.43MM
  • Wide receiver: $17.99MM
  • Tight end: $9.72MM
  • Offensive linemen: $16.66MM
  • Defensive end: $17.45MM
  • Defensive tackle: $16.1MM
  • Linebacker: $17.48MM
  • Cornerback: $15.79MM
  • Safety: $11.87MM
  • Kicker/punter: $4.87MM

These are the nonexclusive franchise tag figures. The nonexclusive tag, which comprises the bulk of the tags utilized throughout the tag’s 30-year history, is determined by a formula that includes the cap figures and the nonexclusive franchise salaries at the player’s position for the previous five years. This will not be the tag figure for every player at these positions, however. If the Bengals want to tag Jessie Bates for a second time, his price will be higher than the 2023 safety tag. Due to being tagged in 2022, Bates would check in at 120% of his 2022 tag salary. That would produce a 2023 salary of $15.48MM. This will apply to the Chiefs and Orlando Brown Jr. as well.

The seldom-used transition tag either averages the 10 highest salaries at a player’s position in the previous league year or checks in at 120% of the player’s previous salary, whichever is greater. Whereas the nonexclusive franchise tag would award two first-round picks to a team that loses a tagged performer, teams do not receive any compensation if they lose a transition-tagged player via offer sheet.

This year’s franchise and transition tag windows open at 3pm CT on Feb. 21; they close at 3pm CT, March 7. Teams, then, have until July 15 to work out extensions for tagged players. If no extensions are reached, no additional talks can commence until the 2023 season ends. That player must play the season on the tag salary — or a renegotiated lower price, as was the case with Yannick Ngakoue in 2020 — for that team or a team that acquires the player via trade.

In addition to Bates and Brown, a number of first-time candidates will be on this year’s tag radar. Lamar Jackson, Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs, Evan Engram and Daron Payne are among the possible franchise tag recipients. Because of the low running back price, the Raiders and Giants will certainly consider cuffing their Pro Bowlers via the tag. Jones’ free agent status complicates the Giants’ plans, however. Jackson is a candidate for the exclusive tag, which could hit the Ravens with a historic $45MM-plus number.

NFL Sets 2023 Salary Cap At $224.8MM

In December, the NFL provided teams with its usual projection of the upcoming salary cap ceiling. Today, the final figure has been revealed. The 2023 cap will be set at $224.8MM, the league announced on Monday (Twitter link via NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero).

That represents another all-time record in terms of what teams are allowed to spend this upcoming campaign, though that comes as no surprise given the league’s rebound from the recent financial constraints brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. This new number is also historic because it marks a rise of $16.6MM, the largest single-season jump of the salary cap era.

During the winter owners’ meetings, it was believed the 2023 figure would come in above the $220MM mark. That led to many teams and analysts using projected totals between $222.5MM and $225MM, so today’s announcement falls in line with what was expected. As of last offseason’s announcement for the final cap figure, it was widely expected that 2023 would be the year in which the ceiling would begin rising at an unprecedented rate.

The two chief factors in that, of course, are the revenues generated by the league’s 17th regular season game being implemented, and the new money coming in from the latest round of TV and streaming rights deals. Those long-term agreements have the league set up for sustained revenue growth, which should result in the expectation of similar spikes for years to come.

The 2022 offseason demonstrated how quickly positional markets can fluctuate. Wide receivers in particular saw a massive boost in value, with 14 wideouts now on contracts averaging at least $20MM per season. Quarterbacks, meanwhile, should be expected to continue their upward trajectory with the likes of Lamar JacksonJoe Burrow, Jalen Hurts and Justin Herbert all eligible for long-term, big-ticket contracts.

As teams now prepare for free agency with more certainty regarding where they stand financially, here is a quick look back at how the cap has changed in recent years:

  • 2015: $143.28MM
  • 2016: $155.27MM
  • 2017: $167MM
  • 2018: $177.2MM
  • 2019: $188.2MM
  • 2020: $198.2MM
  • 2021: $182.5MM
  • 2022: $208.2MM