The NFL has officially set a new salary cap minimum for the upcoming 2021 league year. The floor is now $180 million.
NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported Thursday morning that the NFL has notified teams of the new salary cap minimum, which will be $180 million for the new league year. Being that the league suffered losses in revenue this past season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ultimate figure could be higher than some initially expected. The current floor is an increase from a previous $175 million floor.
A memo to teams, per Kevin Patra of NFL.com, reads “This is not the final Salary Cap for the 2021 League Year, which will be set following review of final 2020 revenue figures and other audit and accounting adjustments. This agreement simply increases the minimum 2021 Salary Cap by $5 million per club, from $175 million to $180 million.
“We will promptly advise all clubs as soon as the Salary Cap is set.”
While it’s not the final cap number, the floor will at least provide teams with an idea of the type of moves they could make moving forward.
At the moment, the former possesses a little bit more than $8 million in cap space while the latter owns a whopping $75.5 million. Of course, the Giants employ six different players set to have cap hits over $10 million in 2021 — James Bradberry, Nate Solder, Kevin Zeitler, Golden Tate, Blake Martinez, and Saquon Barkley — while the Jets employ just one in that cap range — Jamison Crowder.
Regardless of what the final cap figure is, this is an issue Giants general manager Dave Gettleman will need to resolve, especially when you take into consideration how he prefers to keep around $10 million for in-season emergencies.
Three of the six aforementioned Giants players with expensive cap hits could potentially be cap casualties prior to the 2021 season. By cutting Solder, Zeitler, and Tate, the Giants would be saving $6 million, $12 million, and $6.2 million, respectively — a total of $24.2 million.
The casualties may not stop there though; the Giants could also consider releasing tight end Levine Toilolo, center Spencer Pulley, and linebacker David Mayo.
While the Jets aren’t nearly as desperate for space, cutting Crowder would save the team over $10 million in cap space, given the $1 million dead cap tied to his contract.
Defensive lineman Henry Anderson ($9.5 million cap hit, $1.3 million dead cap) and guard Alex Lewis ($6.9 million cap hit, $1.7 million dead cap) are additional players the organization may consider parting ways with for financial reasons.
But regardless of the moves either team eventually makes, we now have some sort of basis of what the financial situation may look like for each NFL ballclub heading into the new league year. The cap may be higher than some originally expected — obviously a beneficial scenario for teams looking to appropriately spend this offseason.