As expected, cap comes in at $120.6 million

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Unexpectedly, the salary cap figure for 2012 was finalized a day early.  It’s the only thing “early” about the process this year.

As expected, the number will be $120.6 million.  (Jay Glazer of FOX reported that number Saturday night.)

Teams must be in compliance with that number by Tuesday at 4:00 p.m.  In the offseason, only the cap numbers of the 51 highest-paid players on the team are included in the calculation.

It’s only a slight increase from last season’s limit of $120.375 million.  The cap is expected to spike in 2014, when the new TV money kicks in.

For now, teams will have to contend with something that they previously haven’t had to confront during the free-agency era:  a flat cap.