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Cap could hit $160 million in 2016

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When the salary cap jumped from $123 million to $133 million last week, some suggested it could move to $140 million in 2015 and $150 million in 2016.

Think higher.

One source with knowledge of the process (but not the same source who was on the money — pun lame but intended — when providing info about the 2014 cap) tells PFT that the cap could spike to $145 million in 2015 and a whopping $160 million in 2016.

A large jump wouldn’t be a major surprise.  While the new TV deals kick in this year (including the recent Thursday night CBS simulcast), the revenue increase won’t hit the cap until next year.

That raises an intriguing question:  Why did the cap go up by $320 million based on 2013 revenues?  With a 50-50 split in revenue between the owners and players, the increase reflects $640 million in new money.

The full truth as to the bump, annually negotiated by the NFL and NFLPA, never will be known.  The teams, however, didn’t anticipate it.  Last October, owners were told that the cap would increase by only $3.3 million, to $126.3 million.  More recently, the number was pegged increasing by $128.3 million.

As one source explained it to PFT, that’s the number most if not all owners used when establishing their budgets for the upcoming free-agency period.  It means that most if not all General Managers will have to persuade their owners to increase the budget in light of the increased cap room.

In Dallas, that would be an interesting conversation.

Moving forward, teams may want to make multiple budgets, because the information the teams are getting from the NFL has been suggesting much lower growth.  For now, it’ll be interesting to see whether many/any teams alter their budgets in light of the unexpected spike in the cap.

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52 Responses to “Cap could hit $160 million in 2016”
  1. tvjules says: Mar 7, 2014 8:33 AM

    Excellent — just in time for Andrew Luck’s new contract.
    Go Colts!

  2. mckaymatt says: Mar 7, 2014 8:33 AM

    hmm what lockout?

  3. realdealsteel says: Mar 7, 2014 8:34 AM

    Doesn’t matter how high the cap goes.
    Because we still have foolish spending teams like the Cowboys, Redskins (just to name two) that will blow the extra money as the cap increases and still be hard pressed to be under the cap.

    There is an old saying about , ” A Fool and his money…”

  4. dccowboy says: Mar 7, 2014 8:34 AM

    It wouldn’t be an ‘interesting’ conversation. It would be a fairly short one.

  5. ravioles says: Mar 7, 2014 8:38 AM

    Looks like Flacco’s contract will be middle of the road in a few years.

  6. thebirdsareback says: Mar 7, 2014 8:40 AM

    Yeah you ravens fans just wait until 2016 when joe flaccid contacts Buries you ratbirds! Blah blah blah, that Flacco contact is looking more and more genius by the year. Ozzie anticipates all of this. That’s why he’s a genius and we win SuperBowls.

  7. thebirdsareback says: Mar 7, 2014 8:41 AM

    Autocorrect smh

  8. ✦ Pittsburgh is the City of Champions ✦ says: Mar 7, 2014 8:43 AM

    Go Steelers!

  9. datdude84 says: Mar 7, 2014 8:47 AM

    Where are all the couch gms that spew nonsense on here? This was expected but even 160 mill I’m sure wasn’t as high as some thought it woulr grow to. I’m sure jerry jones and the redskins can only make a mess out of this. I hear jerry offered martin gramatica a 10 year 120 mill contract when he read this.

  10. jimbo75025 says: Mar 7, 2014 8:48 AM

    So who will be the first $40 million per year QB?

  11. mdpickles says: Mar 7, 2014 8:51 AM

    New TV contract kicks in, then why do ticket prices continue to skyrocket?

  12. deansquires says: Mar 7, 2014 8:52 AM

    This sucks. We’ll all be complaining about our cable bill in 2016 and not understand why our rates got jacked up.

  13. hawkstradamus says: Mar 7, 2014 8:55 AM

    Welcome to the Seahawks era sports fans! We all can look forward to many years of the Leigon of Boom reigning supreme. With this kind of cap space we might even be able to exicute a draft day trade for Revis, scary.

  14. baddegg says: Mar 7, 2014 8:56 AM

    Why is everyone talking about the Redskins spending like Vinnie Cerrato is still running player personel? Do you guys still think the Back Street Boys are an up and coming band? Can you at least talk about football news like it’s 2014? It’s really getting old and it hasn’t been accurate for years now.

  15. shaggytoodle says: Mar 7, 2014 8:57 AM

    Dolla’ Dolla’ bills Y’all

  16. overweightman says: Mar 7, 2014 8:59 AM

    Kaepernick contract not looking too ridiculous now…

  17. mikewhorio says: Mar 7, 2014 9:10 AM

    So basically what you’re telling me is there will be an owner lockout by 2017.

  18. collegeref says: Mar 7, 2014 9:19 AM

    it’d be the same as a conversation in Cincy

  19. thestrategyexpert says: Mar 7, 2014 9:23 AM

    At what point do teams struggle to hit the salary floor because they don’t want to spend the money? Sounds like a whole new system is needed to me.

  20. joe6606 says: Mar 7, 2014 9:27 AM

    I have posted this before: the real mystery is why was the cap stagnant after signign the new cba? Nothing has changed between then and now to explain the sudden flood of money

  21. flacco8 says: Mar 7, 2014 9:28 AM

    I think its pretty obvious why the NFL unexpectedly increased the cap this year…

    Which two teams were in the most cap trouble heading into the offseason? That’s right….the Steelers and Cowboys!!

    The two ‘America teams’ that have the good ol’ boy connection with the league office…this was obviously a play to help those two teams, especially after Ol’ Rog had to slap the Cowboys with that cap penalty last year, this was the makeup call for that

  22. spoilerfutbol says: Mar 7, 2014 9:42 AM

    YES! now the teams can waste 40M in a mediocre QB

  23. billsin20xx says: Mar 7, 2014 9:43 AM

    If the TV profits are soaring like this but they are worried about filling stadiums, maybe it’s time to think about reducing ticket prices in order to keep the people from coming.
    I know, it’ll never happen…

  24. meetthegrouch says: Mar 7, 2014 9:55 AM

    Ratings are at an all time high, not increasing the cap would lead to some of these teams having to disband. It makes sense. You will still have several teams that are no where near the cap, and will never be competitive.

  25. 23rdusernameused says: Mar 7, 2014 10:00 AM

    cowboys and steelers will still be over cap!

  26. hawkstradamus says: Mar 7, 2014 10:06 AM

    Tv blackouts should go away. Stadiums ( publicly funded in most cities) should hold at least 120k spectators and ticket prices should be no more than $50/game. Instead we get tax payers funding luxury boxes so corporations can have tax write offs, waiting lists for good teams and $1000 weekends for a family of five.

  27. coachkilla6 says: Mar 7, 2014 10:21 AM

    Looks like my NFL Sunday Ticket price is about to jump another 10%.

  28. shlort says: Mar 7, 2014 10:28 AM

    I thought the cap was tied to team revenues. If that is the case, whoever is talking about it needs to slow it down a bit. The NFL is currently on a mission to restructure the fan base, and if that does not work out for them, the revenues will definately go down. After these new TV contracts expire, will the dollars be there for even larger contracts? Or will the market dictate a lower amount due to sliding ratings? Then what? Chop the cap down from 160 million to 100 million? When the bubble bursts, the NFL is in trouble.

  29. bert1913 says: Mar 7, 2014 10:34 AM

    the nfl knows that once you pay an elite qb elite qb money, there is not much money left to build a team with quality depth. plus all the billions they’re making from tv it’s only fair to give the players more money

  30. seatownballers says: Mar 7, 2014 10:53 AM

    Every qb will get 20 million a year by then

  31. lezbehonestppl says: Mar 7, 2014 10:53 AM

    Although most of the expected increase comes from those tv deals, but don’t forget to factor in inflation as well.

  32. keylimelight says: Mar 7, 2014 11:04 AM

    The franchises have been enjoying the huge influx of cheap labor ever since they put the rookie wage scale in place. (It was a good idea to keep from paying a college star big money if he turned out to be a bust.)

    Owners (and players) are beginning to see that in order to have a stable team–especially with the advent of $100 million dollar QBs–you gotta be able to keep the draftees that have proven ability to play without sacrificing other pieces of the team.

    Veteran players couldn’t compete with cheap, young players. The increase in the cap is necessary in order to stabilize the league.

  33. Steeley McBeam says: Mar 7, 2014 11:05 AM

    The NFL makes ridiculous revenues as do franchise QBs. With QB contracts continuing to rise, so does the money needed to pay other players. Teams without franchise QBs have more money to spend on other positions.

    To me, the cap is so relative that the only people benefitting are the players, not the teams. The cap rises the same for everyone.

  34. crownofthehelmet says: Mar 7, 2014 11:13 AM

    It wouldn’t matter if the cap was $100 billion – $30M for Flacco will always be dumb.

  35. granadafan says: Mar 7, 2014 11:23 AM

    Ah, must be nice to not have to pay taxes and then demanding/ threatening that the actual taxpayers pay for a multibillionaire’s lavish work palace.

  36. jtbsteeler says: Mar 7, 2014 11:38 AM

    Haha. Go Steelers

  37. trollaikman8 says: Mar 7, 2014 11:47 AM

    Just in, the Cowboys and Redskins are already projected to be $10M over the 2016 cap.

  38. morm3993 says: Mar 7, 2014 11:53 AM

    Could the low expectations have been purposefully circulated, and not denied, for the reason of tamping down salary/contract expectations during last season and in the early part of the off season?

    It wouldn’t even be collusion, just agreed mutual interest to keep expectations low and sign players based on the expected cap situation.

  39. ez4u2sa says: Mar 7, 2014 12:13 PM

    At this rate, there won’t be a player in the entire league who is not grossly overpaid.

  40. nonamechangecom says: Mar 7, 2014 12:14 PM

    The Redskins and Cowboys success are part of the reason behind this being able to happen. Don’t forget, like any franchise operation, the top performers dictate the direction of the business. Oh, and this is part of the reason why the REDSKINS name, will never change. nonamechange

  41. sah0620 says: Mar 7, 2014 12:22 PM

    Johnny Manziel aka the Next Ryan Leaf is probably dreaming of $30 mil/year for his first free agency.

  42. stoolerz says: Mar 7, 2014 12:24 PM

    I honestly don’t see it continue to increase. I think fans are becoming disenchanted with the NFL and the direction it is going. People are becoming tired of the lawsuits, political correctness and greed. The NFL used to be an escape from reality, now its become reality tv.

  43. conormacleod says: Mar 7, 2014 12:39 PM

    Not a single comment about how Roger Goodell is ruining the NFL. Weird.

  44. rcali says: Mar 7, 2014 12:56 PM

    Not far down the road…..all NFL games Pay Per View. We’re half way there with the Sunday Ticket.

  45. clashpoint says: Mar 7, 2014 12:59 PM

    As a Steelers fan I’m pretty damn happy to see this. Also probably happy are the fans of any team with owners that actually pay players what they are worth, rather than hogging even more cash for their billionaire selves.

    Those fans who might feel sad are the ones of teams who always cheapskate the cap and thus never have the talent to compete for the Super Bowl. Remember that when the financials of the Panthers were leaked, we saw that their owner made as much money as all his players COMBINED.

    The cheapskate teams make big bank and will never compete. I don’t watch football to see some fat old man sit in a chair. I watch football to see players play games.

  46. ravioles says: Mar 7, 2014 1:26 PM

    “Why is everyone talking about the Redskins spending like Vinnie Cerrato is still running player personel? ”

    Maybe because Dan Snyder has substituted Vinnie for Bruce Allen to play the role of his puppet.

  47. docsweeney says: Mar 7, 2014 1:57 PM

    Here’s where a really clever team/GM/capologist could clean up: Knowing the cap will grow this large in a few years, sign with more backloaded contracts, find ways to restructure deals with more dead money on backends, etc. Keep your team cash solvent by planning ahead.

  48. weepingjebus says: Mar 7, 2014 3:07 PM

    Just in time for the Steelers to restructure Polamalu into $15 million a year in 2016.

  49. sportsfan18 says: Mar 7, 2014 4:06 PM

    I know it won’t stop for a while yet, but it’s beyond obscene now… so many can’t afford to go to games…

    Can’t afford to get things for their children etc…

    One commenter above said every QB would get $20 million by then and it makes sense (no, not the back ups etc…).

    But with only 16 regular season games, those that currently make MORE than $16 million are making MORE than $1 million PER game.

    $20 million divided by 16 games is $1,250,000 PER game.

    If a QB leads the offense to say 65 plays in that game, he’s getting $19, 230 per play.

    IF the team has 60% pass plays to 40% run plays then that means the team will attempt 39 pass plays that game.

    Handing the ball off to a RB isn’t nearly as difficult as a passing play for a QB obviously.

    So, the QB would earn $32,051 for each pass attempt!

    One last step to go. If the QB completes 63% of his passes, he will have completed 25 passes (rounded up).

    So for each completed pass, the QB would earn $50,000.

    To earn well OVER $1 million PER game is something…

  50. gbmickey says: Mar 7, 2014 4:12 PM

    I will believe it when I see it. I would love to know where this info came from. This years cap number no one had a clue about until a couple days before it happened let alone a couple years from now.

  51. dukeearl says: Mar 7, 2014 9:47 PM

    Fairly normal, those that knew… didn’t talk.. those that talked…didn’t know.

  52. kirbylaw says: Mar 8, 2014 10:03 AM

    Is it possible that the looming NLFPA election has influenced the hike in salary cap? If the new deal truly is as bad for players as advertised (I do not claim to know for certain), perhaps the NFL enjoins working with the current NFLPA leadership enough to make decisions designed to make a bad deal suddenly much better?

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