NFL: Tough Free Agency Ahead After Low Cap Increase

The 2021 salary cap will be $180 million, the NFL announced to its teams via a memo on Thursday.

It’s a relatively meagre increase on last year’s figure of $175 million. However, it is subject to a final financial review, and could be increased.

The final salary cap for 2020 was set at $198.2 million, and it was the seventh consecutive cap increase. The cap increased by $10 million from 2019 to 2020.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a drop was not unexpected. Although that’s no consolation to the teams who are already in a predicament. 


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The Chicago Bears, L.A Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles and the New Orleans Saints all face complicated free agencies. 

As well as that, the current class of free agents certainly won’t receive the big offers they may have anticipated. 

Defensive lineman J.J. Watt is already a free agent after his release from the Houston Texans. QB Dak Prescott, WRs Chris Godwin, Kenny Golladay and Allen Robinson II, safety Justin Simmons and pass rusher Shaquil Barrett are also set to hit the market.

“As you know, one aspect of the agreements negotiated last summer with the NFLPA to address operations during the pandemic provides that the 2021 Salary Cap will be no less than $175 million,” read the NFL memo.


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“Following discussions with the union that addressed both actual 2020 revenues and projected attendance for the 2021 season, we have agreed to increase the minimum Salary cap for the 2021 League Year to $180 million.

“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.”

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