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

Questions about this article? Reach Jason Fitzgerald on Twitter at @jason_otc