With free agency just a few days away I thought it made sense to see just what teams need to replace and how far their cap space might get them this year. There are a number of teams with excessive amounts of cap room to spend while others may have a difficult time finding ways to keep their rosters together. So for each team we will look at how many snaps they currently need to replace based on free agent status, either unrestricted or street, and just how much space they have to make that happen.
The Potential Big Movers
The Browns currently are slated to lose just 3,481 snaps to free agency and have over $100 million to fill those holes. At $29,769 in cap dollars per snap they have the potential to add far more than anyone else in the NFL. The next closest team to the Browns has less than $16,000 per snap to spend. So if the Browns are avoiding free agency this year it is a strategic move to avoid throwing their potential future contracts out of whack by showing a disposition to overpay talent to help their team.
The Titans have $15,309 to spend per snap to replace the 4,000 snaps they might lose this year. Tennessee should be a dark horse team this year as they have never been active chasing any notable free agents but with the current status of their roster this is the perfect time to jump in. Since they have stayed on the sidelines for awhile that can also give them an advantage in negotiations to sneak up on other teams targeting similar players.
The 49ers actually have the 7th most snaps to replace this year, but with $90 million in cap room they have the funds to do it. Will they go and use it or continue to be almost completely risk averse in free agency is anyones guess. Given the holes on the roster they will probably be competing in the second tier.
The Broncos are the other team along with the Titans that could stand to benefit greatly in free agency. This is already a solid team and with just 2,985 snaps to replace and over $42 million in cap room they can make one more big run with this group. Though they are tough negotiators in Denver they have never been afraid of free agency in the past.
Not Much Room, But Enough to Add Talent
The Steelers are currently just under $19 million in cap room but with just 2,538 snaps to replace they are actually in the middle of the pack in effective cap dollars. While this is not a team that is usually a big player in free agency they could sign one impact type player is someone falls through the cracks and drops a tier in expected value.
The Chiefs are near the bottom of the NFL in cap room, but they have already done their housecleaning and have just 1,000 or so snaps to replace. They will gain some added cap room when they officially decline Nick Foles option as well, so while it may not seem like much cap space now they could probably add one quality player to the mix if they want.
The Texans, with about $6,200 per snap to spend should be able to get a bit more mileage out of their $23 million in cap room than the number would suggest. Their problem is the position they need the most, quarterback, probably doesn’t exist unless they can get a shot at Tony Romo.
Teams In Trouble
The Cowboys right now are in a nightmarish position. They have the 3rd most snaps to possibly lose to free agency- 6,540- and the least cap space in the NFL to fill that with. They have just $501 per snap to spend on players and they have a lot of them potentially leaving with 21 free agents. They will gain some room with Tony Romo and can do some extensions and/or restructures to gain some added space but they are going to have to be creative.
Arizona stands to lose nearly 8,300 snaps in free agency and are just one of two teams with more than 6,600 snaps to replace. They only have $17 million to use with Chandler Jones clogging up a big portion of their cap. At $2,053 per snap to spend it may mean some last minute restructures as soon as free agency begins if they want to give it one more shot with this group.
Last years big spenders, the Giants, likely wont be doing much this year. They have to replace nearly $6,000 snaps and have just $13 million in cap room to do it. Expect to see a number of their 18 free agents leave the team and the organization focusing on the draft to fill some holes.
The Bills actually have, on a percentage basis, more snaps than the Cardinals to replace, and not much more money to do it at just $2,218 per snap. They could gain a lot more cap room if they release Tyrod Taylor, but that would push them to over 9,000 snaps to replace and leave them with no quarterback. This would look to be a project that could be a year or two to fix unless they hit a major home run in the draft.
Here is the full list
|Team||FA Snaps||% of Snaps||Players||Cap Space||$/Snap|
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.