The salary cap, like it or not, is not going anywhere. With the intention of giving all teams a level playing field in free agency, roster construction, and the ability to retain/acquire talent, it has become an ideology synonymous with American professional sports. I mean, it’s kinda bullshit, but still… it’s good in theory.
For the 2021 season, the NFL salary cap saw a significant hit as a result of the financial ramifications of COVID-19 on revenue. The NFL made $16 billion (with a “b”) in 2019, which dropped to $12 billion in 2020. This revenue decrease led to the 2021 salary cap being set at $182.5 million, down from the $198.2 million that it was the year before. Each team having $16 million less to play with is a tight squeeze.
As the NFL prepares for full stadiums this coming season, partnered with a new mammoth of a media deal, the league announced that they have set a ceiling for where the 2022 salary cap will land.
If the salary cap is indeed set at $208.2 million for the 2022 season, it would mark a jump of $25.7 million.
That’s a lot of cheddar. It has been expected throughout this offseason that the salary cap would be increasing going into next season — a sentiment that already left its imprint on free agency. Free agents, such as Steelers wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster, returned to their teams on one-year deals, setting themselves up to hit free agency again next offseason when teams around the league will have more financial freedom.
If the number does come in at $208.2 million, there are a few teams currently projected for massive amounts of cap space. According to Spotrac, the teams with the most cap space for 2022 would be:
1. Indianapolis Colts: $81.07 million
2. Pittsburgh Steelers: $76.85 million
3. New York Jets: $67.88 million
4. Miami Dolphins: $63.74 million
5. Washington Football Team: $60.75 million
Some teams are going to have an incredible amount of money to spend to improve their team, which should create a wild free agency frenzy. And we are here for it.