With the franchise tag deadline having passed I wanted to take a quick look at the teams that will either be busy working on extensions this summer or have a lot invested in this season as they face potential free agent losses in 2022. What I did was look at the snaps played in 2020 by players on the roster (the snaps could have come from another team if a player was signed, traded for, etc…) and determine how many snaps could be lost to unrestricted free agency in 2022. Here is the breakdown of the list as well as how much cap space the team is estimated to have next year (does not include all draft signings from 2021, but does include a rough carryover estimate).
The teams that I think are important to focus a bit more on are those around the 10,000 snap mark. That list includes the Texans, Colts, Chiefs, Buccaneers, Vikings, Football Team, Broncos, and Seahawks. Other than Houston, who I don’t think anyone has a handle on how they are approaching building a team, I think most of the others could all fit in the win now mode. Some like the Chiefs are better set up for the future because of the QB but most probably need to maximize their opportunities this year as some could head in a very different direction in 2022 if things do not go well. Given cap considerations the Vikings, Bucs, and Bills would be the three teams to keep the closest eye on this year while the others have easier decisions to make.
On the light side you have the Rams who basically are a WYSIWYG roster for the next two years. That can be a good thing if things go well with Stafford. New Orleans number is a little misleading because they do not have a QB under contract next year and their starter, whomever it may be, did not really play in 2020.
You probably like your position if you are the Browns and Chargers while the Lions are in a rebuild but at least wont be forced into signings next year. The Chargers have a salary cap war chest for next year too. Green Bay is the most interesting of the light teams only because they have some heavy hitters, notably Davante Adams as a free agent. They also have no cap room at all.
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.