Now that we are getting closer to the end of the 2023 season we are starting to get more feedback as to what the 2024 NFL salary cap will be. Since Covid, projecting the cap has been a bit more difficult than usual due to the unknowns regarding how much was borrowed from future years to prevent a salary bloodbath in 2021. My expectation was that the salary cap has continued to be deflated due to the Covid impacts (without Covid, for example, the cap should have been $228-$229M this year without any new TV money) but that there would be a catch up period that would start in 2024, which would also coincide with the new TV money kicking in and push the cap significantly up.
Per multiple sources within the NFL that does not appear to be the case and many are working with a salary cap limit for next year of about $242 million and so I will be adjusting the numbers accordingly on OTC. The NFL meetings this week may give more clarity on the range of possible cap limits but there is enough of a consensus at the moment for me to drop the numbers now and then adjust up if there is an indication that they will be higher.
In the grand scheme of things the limit being $242 million, $255 million or anything in between is really meaningless for about 85% of the league. Cap space is all relative and manipulating contracts in the year they are signed to have low cap figures is pretty easy, so losing out on $13 million in projected cap room is nothing to really panic about if you are writing about a team’s prospects for the offseason. In general the “buying power” is not really going to change because of it. For the handful of teams that are projected to be way over the salary cap (the Saints, Chargers, Bills, and Dolphins being the main ones) this does make things harder because they were already in a pinch and will need to go deeper on the restructures and cuts, reduce futures signings and hold off on draft pick signings just to be cap compliant.
If new information becomes available next week we will adjust the estimates again but this is the reason why you are seeing a change in cap room for next year appear out of the blue.