If you thought that player contracts had reached their peak in recent years and had finished leveling out, you'd be wrong. On Thursday afternoon, it was reported that the projected NFL salary cap would rise to $133 million for next season. Not only will this likely limit player movement as it affords franchises more cap flexibilty than expected, but it also is expected to rise exponentially betweeen 2014 and 2016.
Based on the market, Joe Flacco bout to be underpaid in a year or so. pic.twitter.com/Doohm749bw
— DJ RedHerring Dunson (@CerebralSportex) February 28, 2014
This will also benefit teams such as the Dallas Cowboys and Carolina Panthers who are millions of dollars over the cap, but it also raises the four-year cap floor franchises must reach. A neat provision in the CBA which sought to prevent teams from colluding to keep player salaries lower while the salary cap rose to match the annual growth of the league's defined gross revenue divided by 32 teams, requires teams to spend at least 88.8 percent of the salary cap during a four-year period between 2013 and 2016 (and again between 2017 to 2020). If they haven't spent that average during the four-year period, they'll be penalized for violating the cap.
Presumably, the average NFL salary should rise to match growing revenues. It'll be interesting to see whether general managers begin backing more Brinks trucks into quarterback driveways or if they commence spreading the wealth to skill position players on the defensive end that have been left out of the rising contract market since the latest collective bargaining agreement was negotiated. Under Article 13, Section 6(b)(v) of the CBA, teams are allowed to carryover unused salary cap room which can be nothing but a positive for the Oakland Raiders who have approximately $68 million in cap space available to overspend in free agency.