INDIANAPOLIS -- The NFL salary cap for next season is now expected to sit near $130 million, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Thursday. That's a five percent bump from last year's $123 million total and up more than $3 million from earlier projections, which set the 2014 cap at $126.3 million.
The news is particularly important for those teams that currently find themselves a little cash-strapped headed into free agency. The Chargers, Lions, Steelers, Saints and Cowboys all began the offseason over that $126.3 million line; all but the Cowboys and Steelers should now be clear of that projected line.
There still will be cuts ahead of the open of free agency on March 11. Right now, the NFL is in the franchise tag window -- teams have until March 3 to hit their impending free agents with either the franchise or transition tag. A higher cap would not impact those financial decisions at all, though it could impact the price tag on free agents, both restricted and unrestricted. The anticipated salary cap move is of little consequence to the draft prospects taking the field here this week for the league's scouting combine. Because of the rookie wage scale put into place after the lockout in 2011, the days of top picks commanding outrageous guaranteed-money contracts are over. The 2013 No. 1 overall pick, Kansas City's Eric Fisher, signed a four-year deal worth a fully guaranteed $22.19 million. By comparison, the No. 1 pick in 2010, St. Louis' Sam Bradford, inked a contract of $78 million over six years with $50 million guaranteed.