An Offseason Guide to OTC: Cap Space

This is the time of year where I get multiple questions via email, twitter, facebook, and so on about various items related to free agency and the salary cap. Many of the answers are right on the website so I thought it might be a good idea to put up small posts each day detailing some of the features on OTC and where to find them and why you should bookmark them. Today we’ll start with salary cap space.

You can find the OTC Salary Cap Space page by clicking here or by clicking on the “cap space” link on the upper red menu bar at the top of every page. The Salary Cap space page provides an estimate of the cap room for each team. Right now we are using a $168 million estimate for the NFL salary cap limit in 2017 until a final limit is set, which will usually occur in late February.

It’s important to know that these numbers are a snapshot in time and can change from time to time as I update numbers for per game bonuses or incentives that have been reported. As details become known about new contracts we will update accordingly but often there is a delay in a reported contract extension and the numbers of the contract being reported so there can sometimes be a delay. You can imagine how hectic it can be to update during free agency with so many transactions in such a short period of time. We do try to process releases once they become official on the NFL transaction wire.

There are 6 columns on the cap space page, most of which are self explanatory. The first column is the name of the team and the second is our estimate for the team’s cap room. The third column represents the number of players we have listed for each team. In the offseason just 51 players count on the salary cap so teams with under 51 will see their cap space drop as they sign new players.

The team salary cap column is the team’s adjusted cap number. The adjusted cap number is the limit that each team can spend on the cap. It is the base salary cap plus any carryover and other adjustments that are made to the teams cap. These will include some placeholders for contracts that will become official once the cap is set.  The active cap spending column is the amount that a team is currently spending in cap dollars on their roster while the dead money column is the amount of cap room that is spent on players who had a prior contract terminated and in most cases is no longer on the roster.

You can navigate year by year by clicking the tabs above the chart to see future salary cap estimates.

One of the other questions that I get deals with how OTC’s cap estimates line up with other estimates online. Often our data is used to populate other websites generally without permission. Due to that we are often more up to date with contract information until the numbers are copied and uploaded elsewhere. Information from published reports often had details from various sources within the NFL. In many cases that data is going to be more accurate than OTC’s so feel free to let me know about it and I’ll try to look into it.

Bookmark the OTC Salary Cap Page

  • McGeorge

    I know the Jets can get under the cap, but they don’t look well run.
    Does Maccagnan think the team is well run? Do they even have a cap person, and does Maccagnan listen to them?

    • Jim

      I think the Jets cap situation looks a lot worse on paper than it is in actuality. They can unload > $60m in cap space by cutting R. Clady, D. Revis, N. Mangold, M. Gilchrist, B. Skrine, B. Giamcombini, N. Folk, E. Henderson, and trading S. Richardson and B. Marshall OR E. Decker (I think one is gone, but not both).

      It’s not likely that all of these moves will happen, and some guys may restructure instead, but I’d be VERY surprised if more than 2 of the 10 guys above are on the roster next year at their current salary. I would also be surprised if more than 4 of these guys are on the team at all by the time of the draft in April.

      That in mind, they can actually be a big player in FA if they want (O-line market
      looks bad, but the CB/S market is decent with a number of guys who would
      be upgrades that are age 26 and under).

      • McGeorge

        I know the Jets can get under the cap bu cutting players. I still don’t think Maccagnan has managed the cap or free agents very well. I wonder what he’ll do if Tyrod Taylor is cut.

        • Jim

          I’m not sure what your criterion is, but he’s been the GM for 2 years, they’ve missed the playoffs for 2 years, so in some sense, you’d have to say “no” he hasn’t managed the cap well, but that doesn’t necessarily put him in unique company. There’s probably 16 teams who have missed the playoffs for both the last two years and most of those don’t have a franchise QB. Is it the GM’s fault so many teams have not had the opportunity to get a franchise QB?

          The spending spree of March, 2015 have yielded poor results from the secondary (Gilchrist/Cro/Revis/Skrine). Is that Maccagnan’s fault specifically? Is it Bowles? Is the actual players? You would have to say that Carpenter, Marshall pickups were pretty good, Fitzpatrick paid off in 2015, did not in 2016. Harris was a wiser re-signing than it first appeared, same with B. Powell. Again though, is that more to the GM’s credit, or the coach, or the player?

          Weighing all of these, overall I’d say he’s probably about as average as you can be, but there are many factors that are completely hidden from view.

          • McGeorge

            Why do you assume my criteria is? Why not ask me rather than building a straw man and knocking it down.

            He inherited a lot of cap space and used it poorly. Some of the blame is on Bowels too. But it’s Macc bringing in the players. I like the Brandon Marshall Trade, and was OK with over paying Revis because they were forced to spend so much cap money by teh CBA. I don’t like his other moves.
            He was lucky that Leonard Williams fell to him. Other than that, he hasn’t drafted well. He throws away draft picks in trades. The Hackenberg pick was pretty bad. Trading up for Petty was a waste.

            I’d put Macc performance below average, which is enough in my book to fire him after 3 years (after the 2017 season) unless he has a fantastic 2017 draft and Hackenberg shows he can be almost average as a starter.