The good, the bad and the ugly of the Salary Cap

The good, the bad and the ugly of the Salary Cap
Reading Time: 3 minutes.

We’re flying towards free agency; teams are squatting up on who they want while desperately calculating if they can afford them. Everyone’s got around $200m to spend this year, some have plenty left to spend, some have already spent it – here’s a run down of who’s in a good position, a bad position and those who’s cap situation is just downright ugly.

The Good

Basically – who’s rolling in it!

Miami $89m

The Dolphins traded away some key pieces throughout the 2019 season trading away Laremy Tunsil and Minkah Fitzpatrick, who both went on to make their first pro bowls, for first round picks. They have holes all over the roster but have plenty to work with to fill those holes, not only a league highest $93m to play with in free agency but fifteen (yes FIFTEEN) draft picks, including three (yes THREE) 1st rounders!

This is undoubtedly a huge off-season for the ‘Fins and they’re far from playoff quality – but have more than the means to attain enough talent to aim them in the right direction.

Las Vegas $51m

The newly relocated Raiders will be looking to make a fast start in Sin City and will be boosted with the 12th most free cap space to play with. Throw in two 1st round draft picks alongside having many key positions already filled (both lines, offensive backfield, tight end…).

John Gruden and co. will be looking to use their cap space and picks on filling holes in their linebacker corp, defensive backfield and receiver room – fortunately for them the draft is stacked with corners and receivers!

The Bad

Going to have some issues, but still some wiggle room to play with.

Dallas $76m

How can the Cowboys be in a bad cap situation with the 5th most cap room available? It’s more than the previously mentioned Raiders I hear you say!

The Cowboys are in a bad situation as they have three big names hitting the market; QB Dak Prescott, WR Amari Cooper and CB Byron Jones.It’s predicted the Cowboys will prioritise Prescott and Cooper and Jones will be the odd one out, what they do with the $30m-ish remaining will have to be quite thrifty.

Outside of those three the cowboys have twenty nine other players that could be leaving this offseason including 11 sack man Robert Quinn and Cowboys legends Sean Lee and Jason Witten. 

Jacksonville -$3.4m

The Jags will be forced to make some savings this off season, they’re already over the cap and that’s without the $10m needed to sign their rookies. Star defensive end Yannick Ngakoue is a free agent after 4 straight seasons of 8+ sacks and is a favorite for the Jags franchise tag putting more pressure on their already negative cap situation.

If the Duval natives aren’t mad enough at their team playing 25% of their home games 4250 miles away in London, the Jags may be forced to cut one of their big name stars to get their cap books back in the black. The Mayor of Sacksonville himself, Calais Campbell, would save the Jags $15m if cut or his D-Line mate Marcell Dareous could save $20m. The silver lining beyond these huge grey clouds is that the Jags have two first round picks, they’ll need to put them to good use by the looks of it!

The Ugly

Goes without saying; these guys are going to have to make some tough decisions.

New Orleans $9m

It’s not too surprising the Saints are short on cap space; they’ve been competitive for some time winning the NFC South the past three years – only THAT busted pass interference call away from making last years superbowl. So easy, just reload and get ready to win the NFC South again in 2020? Not so fast…

The Saints predicted $191m spend this year includes NO Quarterbacks: NO Drew Brees, NO Teddy Bridgewater and not even “do it all” Taysom Hill. It’s widely speculated Brees will resign and it makes sense for the Saints to keep him; his 74.3% completion rate last year is 2nd in history only to his 74.4% year in 2018 (minimum 224 attempts).

As well as no one signed up to play behind center, Safety Von Bell Linebacker A.J. Klein and CB Eli Apple are also on the list of New Orlean’s free agents, the Saints will have to make room somewhere and will most likely have to sacrifice some pieces they’d much rather keep.

Vikings -$11m

Sat rock bottom of the salary cap space list (see the excellent https://overthecap.com/salary-cap-space/ for the entire list) is the Minnesota Vikings. Again not too surprising as they did win a playoff game this year – if you spend a lot of money you’re meant to be good and the Vikings have made the playoffs three out of the past five seasons.

Tied for first in the league with 6 interceptions safety Anthony Harris is due to hit the open market alongside corners Trae Waynes and Mackenzie Alexandra – potentially leaving the Vikings very short in their defensive back field.

Favorite to be a cap causality is defensive end Everson Griffin, with 8 sacks last year he shouldn’t be on the market for long. Wantaway receiver Stefon Diggs may still want to be traded away creating some cap room but whether teams can match the SKOL’s value is yet to be seen.

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