Salary Cap

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

Exclusive QB Franchise Tag Projected To Eclipse $45MM

When the Cowboys placed the exclusive franchise tag on Dak Prescott in 2020, it cost them $31.4MM. If/when the Ravens proceed down this path with Lamar Jackson next year, it will be considerably more expensive.

Although teams have not received projections on next year’s cap yet, the NFL’s 2023 salary ceiling is on track to come in north of $220MM. That will bump the exclusive quarterback tag north of $45MM. Noting a handful of teams are using a $225MM projection for next year’s cap, CBS Sports’ Joel Corry pegs the exclusive QB tag at $45.25MM. No player has ever gone through a season attached to a cap number north of $45MM. Jackson and the Browns’ Deshaun Watson — as of now set to count $54.9MM on Cleveland’s 2023 payroll — would be poised to be the first.

Here are the projected non-exclusive franchise tag amounts for 2023, according to Corry:

  • Quarterback: $32.45MM
  • Running back: $10.1MM
  • Wide receiver: $19.76MM
  • Tight end: $11.36MM
  • Offensive line: $18.26MM
  • Defensive end: $19.74MM
  • Defensive tackle: $18.95MM
  • Linebacker: $20.95MM
  • Cornerback: $18.16MM
  • Safety: $14.47MM
  • Kicker/punter: $5.39MM

An exclusive tag prevents other teams from negotiating with the tagged player. Were the Ravens to place the non-exclusive tag on Jackson, other teams could come in with offer sheets and attempt to pry the former MVP away. Of course, it would cost the signing team two first-rounders if the Ravens passed on matching a Jackson offer sheet after a five-day period.

While the non-exclusive quarterback tag is set to rise past $30MM, the other number that jumps out here is the running back price. That will be a viable fallback option for teams like the Giants (Saquon Barkley) and Raiders (Josh Jacobs). While Barkley is playing out his fifth-year option, the Raiders passed on an $8MM Jacobs 2023 salary. The NFL’s rushing leader, Jacobs will certainly enter 2023 as a tag candidate. The Giants had negotiated with Barkley during their bye week this year, but the sides were not believed to be close on terms. With the team hoping to keep the former No. 2 overall pick, it seems likely — even with Daniel Jones unsigned as well — this low-cost tag will be utilized.

These prices also do not apply to Jessie Bates, Orlando Brown Jr., Dalton Schultz and Mike Gesicki. Should any of these players be tagged again, their tag figures would be 120% of their 2022 salaries. Players who are not attached to rookie contracts could also be tied to higher tag figures in 2023. Both Allen Robinson and A.J. Green collected more on the tag than their wideout peers in recent years, due to 120% of their previous year’s salary being worth more than the tag price. This scenario would be in play again if teams were keen on keeping certain vets off the market.

2023 Salary Cap To Rise Past $220MM?

Following the pandemic-induced salary cap reduction in 2021, the NFL’s salary ceiling climbed to $208MM this year. More growth is expected, though issues leave its precise spike to be determined.

When owners and other execs gather next week in Dallas for the latest set of meetings, they could receive an estimate of next year’s cap. Such a figure is usually provided at this point, and’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero note a “normal calculation of projected revenues” would produce a cap figure well north of $220MM. But no cap projection has yet been made, per

In the narrow window between the CBA going out for ratification and the COVID-19 virus becoming 2020’s defining story, cap spikes surpassing those of the 2010s were expected to emerge in the early years of this CBA. Bumps from the latest round of TV deals were set to trigger those. While the pandemic altered this path, the league’s new TV contracts are set to kick in next year. The NFL agreed to its latest round of TV accords before this year’s cap figure was determined, and the 2023 cap was believed to be when the windfall from those contracts would begin to be reflected on team budgets.

The CBS, FOX, NBC, ESPN and Amazon TV pacts, which begin next season and run through 2033, were agreed to in March 2021. But the league has not yet finalized a Sunday Ticket provider; that is a factor as well. The media kicker in the 2020 CBA could increase players’ revenue from 48% to 48.8%, which notes is a potential nine-figure bump for the players. The Sunday Ticket component affects the revenue projection, thus holding up cap finality.

Various NFL teams, however, are using $222.5MM and $225MM projections, CBS Sports’ Joel Corry tweets. OverTheCap is using $225MM as its 2023 projection. This would not match the change from 2020-21, when the cap vaulted from $182.5MM to $208MM after empty stadiums and reduced-capacity crowds in 2020 brought an unusual period for the league’s finances. But going up to even $222.5MM would represent a bigger bump than anything the 2011 CBA brought. Under the previous CBA, the biggest single-year cap move happened in 2016, when it rose from $143.3MM to $155.3MM.

Regardless of where it lands, another cap record is coming, with more growth in store for 2024 and beyond. That will do well to help teams retain players and enable more position-record salaries.

Jimmy Garoppolo Rumors: Salary Cap, Release Request, Trade Chances

The offseason drama around 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo finally came to fruition in the form of a restructured contract this Monday. This certainly doesn’t end the speculation over Garoppolo’s future, but, for the time being, it appears he can get comfortable for another season in San Francisco.

In terms of the effects of the restructured deal, Garoppolo’s renegotiated contract will carry a cap hit of $13.99MM, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. This will clear $12.96MM of cap space for the 49ers, who desperately need it as they sat “at the bottom of the NFL in cap space” before the move.

Here are a few more rumors surrounding all of the Garoppolo drama from this offseason:

  • We live in a day and age where it’s become quite common for star players and role players alike to make demands of their teams. It’s no surprise, though, that Garoppolo never felt the need to “ruffle feathers.” When asked about whether or not he ever requested a trade or release, according to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports, Garoppolo told the media, “That just wasn’t the way I wanted to go. There was a thought of that at one point, trust me, there was, but that came and went.” He continued, “Things just kept falling into place. I’m one of those people that, you know, I don’t want to ruffle feathers too much here and there. I want to go with the flow.”
  • In his first press conference since the news broke, Garoppolo seemed to confirm something we had heard awhile back. Back in early-May, general manager John Lynch told reporters that Garoppolo’s surgery brought trade discussions “to a screeching halt.” Lynch had thought the team was really close in discussions with a couple of teams before Garoppolo’s surgery. In Garoppolo’s recent press conference, he explained that he attempted rehabilitation first, according to Armando Salguero of When the rehabilitation just wasn’t getting the job done, the shoulder surgery became non-elective. Garoppolo got the surgery and the timing of the procedure doused any sparks Lynch had managed to create in trade conversations.

Restructure Details: Stanley, Hill, Smith-Schuster, Vannett

As teams around the NFL attempt to navigate the salary cap while putting together the rosters with which they will open the season, a couple of players have agreed to rework their current contracts in order to give their teams a bit more breathing room. Here are a few notable examples:

  • Ronnie Stanley, LT (Ravens): Baltimore addressed a major stressor today by converting $8.47MM of star left tackle Stanley’s salary this year into a signing bonus, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. The move resulted in the creation of $6.35MM of cap space for the 2022 season. This is a win-win for both sides. The Ravens gave Stanley a five-year, $112.8MM contract extension mid-season in 2020 that made him the highest paid offensive lineman in the NFL at the time. Since signing the contract, Stanley has played in two total games. With this compromise, Stanley still gets money from the contract while giving the Ravens a bit of relief on what stood to be the 20th largest cap hit in the NFL this season. After initially holding a cap hit of $18.55MM, Stanley will now represent a much easier to swallow $12.2MM of the Ravens’ cap space this year.
  • Troy Hill, CB (Rams): Los Angeles will make its cap struggles a bit easier by exercising a pre-existing option in Hill’s contract that will lower his 2022 cap hit by about $2MM, according to Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic. Hill returned to his long-time home in Los Angeles sporting a one-year-old contract from the Browns. The Rams decided to trade for their former cornerback a year after losing out on him to a two-year, $9MM deal from Cleveland. The option will lower Hill’s 2022 cap hit from $4.5MM to only $2.5MM.
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR (Chiefs): Smith-Schuster decided in his second stint with free agency to join a new franchise, signing with the Chiefs on a one-year, $3.76MM contract. The deal was already extremely incentive-laden, but Kansas City decided to give the former-Steelers’ receiver an opportunity at a bit higher of a bonus total in a cost-efficient, cap-savvy move. According to Yates, the Chiefs agreed to an amended contract that will increase Smith-Schuster’s per-game active roster bonus from $30K to $60K. This will increase his potential season total in such bonuses from $510K to $1.02MM. What’s interesting is that, of the additional $510K, only $150K will be attributed to this year’s salary cap. Since Smith-Schuster only appeared in five games last season, only five games-worth of the additional $30K per game will count against the 2022 salary cap. The remaining $360K will be applied to the 2023 salary cap.
  • Nick Vannett, TE (Saints): New Orleans brought in a solid run-blocking tight end in Vannett last offseason on a three-year, $8MM deal. Unfortunately, the Saints were only able to get seven games of action out of Vannett last year in a season that saw him miss the first 10 weeks of the season. Perhaps a reaction to the absences last year, the Saints were able to convince Vannett to sign a reworked deal that would lower his 2022 base salary from $2.6MM to $1.04MM, according to a tweet from Yates. The lowered payout will result in about $1.55MM of cap space for New Orleans.

NFC Notes: Poles, Eagles, Garoppolo

It has been a slow offseason for the Bears with plenty of losses and misses, but new general manager Ryan Poles isn’t panicking. According to Courtney Cronin of ESPN, Poles is preaching patience to the franchise. Patience is something of which Chicago-fans have likely run plum out, but, with the current state of the Bears’ roster, it’s a wise path to take.

We’ve seen other rebuilding franchises take wild stabs through trades and free agency, making expensive, headline-grabbing moves that leave them little room to work with when addressing other roster holes. The Rams won a Super Bowl making flashy moves, but did so when those moves were the difference between winning or losing a Super Bowl. Teams like the Bears and Jaguars currently have too many holes on their roster for one offseason-worth of moves to elevate them to a Super Bowl-level.

Poles won’t let moving star pass-rusher Khalil Mack or losing defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi to a failed physical or watching the Bills match the offer sheet on guard Ryan Bates force him into desperately grasping at whatever other players are available. He’ll continue to stick to his plan and his assessments. He’ll wait for an appropriate time, like the Draft or the post-June 1 period, to utilize the team’s accumulated cap space. Poles may just have the patience and demeanor to lead Chicago out of the NFC North basement.

Here are a few other notes from around the NFC, starting in the city of brotherly love:

  • The Athletic’s Sheil Kapadia enlisted the help of salary cap and contract expert Jason Fitzgerald, who operates, to help her analyze confusing offseason moves from each franchise. When they got to the Eagles, Fitzgerald had some interesting things to say. Fitzgerald asserted that Philadelphia is doing something no other NFL team is. The Eagles have been employing void years in contracts to push salary cap charges to future years. Essentially, if a player holds a $10MM cap charge, the team will eventually pay the $10MM cap charge. By using the void years, the team can take part of that $10MM and move it to later years. Say they take $5MM of that cap hit and move it to the following year. They’ll still be applying that $5MM to their cap space, but, after the league raises the salary cap (as they do every year), that $5MM will represent a smaller percentage of the total cap space in the following year than it would in the current year. The Eagles’ manipulation of the constantly inflating salary cap is nothing short of genius and soon other teams will likely catch on and follow their lead.
  • Earlier this month, Mike Sando of The Athletic went over some of the moves each franchise made this offseason. His take on the 49ers was centered on their handling of the future of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Garoppolo’s shoulder rehabilitation, combined with a 2022 base salary of $24.6MM, made it hard for San Francisco to move the former starting quarterback. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Garoppolo and the 49ers mutually agreed to have him rehabilitate his shoulder off-site, away from the team, so, at this point, second-year quarterback Trey Lance has effectively taken over as the team’s first-string passer. Sando asserts that the best solution would be a compromise wherein Garoppolo would stay for the time-being on a guaranteed deal with some “dummy years” added onto it, either until San Francisco knows for a fact that they can move forward with Lance or until they know they can get a better value out of moving Garoppolo than they’re getting right now. This would provide the opportunity for the 49ers to reinsert Garoppolo back into the starting job they know he can handle if it turns out that Lance can’t.

Patriots Rework Deatrich Wise’s Deal

The Patriots have converted $2.85MM of defensive lineman Deatrich Wise’s base salary into a signing bonus (Twitter link via Field Yates of The adjustment will carve out $1.9MM in additional salary cap room for the Patriots. 

[RELATED: Patriots Trade For D. Parker]

The move will allow the Pats to absorb the salary of wide receiver DeVante Parker, who came from the Dolphins — along with a 2022 fifth-round pick — in exchange for a 2023 third-round choice. Parker’s deal calls for a $5.65MM base salary in 2022 and $5.7MM in 2013, though there’s zero guarantees remaining on his deal. For the Pats, it’s a thrifty WR upgrade after missing out on more ambitious targets like Odell Beckham Jr.

Wise Jr., 28, has blossomed into a quality edge player who can also moonlight at defensive tackle. Last year, the 2017 fourth-round pick was rewarded with a four-year, $22MM deal. This revision probably won’t impact his bottom line much, but it will give the Patriots the flexibility they need in 2022.

Before the move, the Patriots were near the bottom of the league in available cap space. They’re still in the cap cellar, but they’ll likely restructure other veterans in the coming weeks to clear up the books.

Wise finished 41 tackles, three sacks, and one forced fumble last year while starting in nine of his 16 games played.

Dolphins, CB Byron Jones Rework Contract

The Dolphins are working to keep one the league’s most respected cornerback tandems together in Miami while retaining a bit of spending ability under the salary cap. According to Field Yates of ESPN, cornerback Byron Jones agreed to a reworked contract today to help create some cap space. 

The Dolphins converted $13.26MM of the base salary due to Jones in 2022 into a signing bonus. Along with clearing $750,000 of cap space by reworking the contract of safety Clayton Fejedelem, Miami was able to create $11.35MM of cap space. With the release of offensive lineman Jesse Davis and wide receiver Allen Hurns yesterday, the Dolphins have cleared $17.55MM of cap space in the course of two days.

The new available spending money makes the recent additions of tackle Terron Armstead and wide receiver Tyreek Hill (who was extended after his trade from Kansas City) a bit easier to stomach. Jones was able to joke about helping the team acquire such talent, tweeting out clown-faced emojis meant, in his words, to depict “(him) restructuring (his) contract just to have Tyreek Hill burn (him) everyday in practice.”

The Dolphins’ focus will now likely shift to the other side of the secondary with cornerback Xavien Howard. Howard is reportedly seeking an increase in salary and a reworked deal could kill two birds with one stone: getting Howard a new and improved deal while creating a bit more cap space for Miami.

NFL Announces 2019 Draftees’ Fifth-Year Option Values

The NFL’s second offseason under its new fifth-year option format now includes dollar figures. Here is how the 2019 first-round picks’ 2023 base salaries on the fifth-year option look, should teams decide to exercise those respective options by May 2.

After first-rounders’ options were guaranteed for injury only from 2011-20, the 2020 CBA protected future draft classes by fully guaranteeing the options. It implemented a tiered system based on Pro Bowl invites and participation level. Players chosen in the 2019 first round who have been to two Pro Bowls will see their options come in at this year’s respective franchise tag prices.

  • Quarterback: $29.703MM
  • Running back: $9.57MM
  • Wide receiver: $18.419MM
  • Tight end: $10.931MM
  • Offensive linemen: $16.662MM
  • Defensive end: $17.859MM
  • Defensive tackle: $17.396MM
  • Linebacker: $18.702MM
  • Cornerback: $17.287MM
  • Safety: $12.911MM
  • Kicker/punter: $5.229MM

Players chosen in the 2019 first round who have been to one Pro Bowl will see their options come in at this year’s respective transition tag prices.

  • Quarterback: $27.186MM
  • Running back: $8.034MM
  • Wide receiver: $16.782MM
  • Tight end: $9.392MM
  • Offensive linemen: $15.348MM
  • Defensive end: $16.012MM
  • Defensive tackle: $14.716MM
  • Linebacker: $15.783MM
  • Cornerback: $15.167MM
  • Safety: $10.817MM
  • Kicker/punter: $4.701MM

Players who have participated on 50% of their team’s offensive or defensive plays over the course of their first three seasons represent Tier 3 of this new-age setup. Here are those prices:

  • Quarterback: $22.384MM
  • Running back: $5.73MM
  • Wide receiver: $13.413MM
  • Tight end: $6.85MM
  • Offensive linemen: $13.202MM
  • Defensive end: $12.407MM
  • Defensive tackle: $10.753MM
  • Linebacker: $11.706MM
  • Cornerback: $11.983MM
  • Safety: $7.901MM
  • Kicker/punter: $3.856MM

Lastly, the players to have not met that participation rate reside on the lowest rung of this option hierarchy.

  • Quarterback: $19.646MM
  • Running back: $5.196MM
  • Wide receiver: $12.425MM
  • Tight end: $6.191MM
  • Offensive linemen: $12.604MM
  • Defensive end: $11.5MM
  • Defensive tackle: $9.594MM
  • Linebacker: $10.892MM
  • Cornerback: $11.215MM
  • Safety: $7.268MM
  • Kicker/punter: $3.607MM