Half of league spent above the cap in 2017

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Far more important than the annual salary cap is the actual cash spent each year, by every team. Last year, with the cap at $167 million, half of the teams spent more than the cap, and another half of the teams were under it.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, teams collectively spent $5.274 billion in 2017, an average of 98.69-percent of the total cap. The highest spenders were the Lions, at $204.46 million, or 122.4 percent of the cap.

At the other end were the Cowboys, who spent only $115.65 million. That’s only 69.26 percent of the cap.

The difference between cash and cap comes from prorated bonuses paid out in past year (for those currently spending under the cap in cash spending) or prorated bonuses paid out in the current year (for those currently spending over it).

Here’s the full list of cash spent in 2017:

1. Lions, $204.46 million (122.4 percent).

2. Panthers, $198.76 million (119.02 percent).

3. Packers, $183.23 million (109.72 percent).

4. Jaguars, $181.44 million (108.65 percent).

5. Dolphins, $179.43 million (107.44 percent).

6. Bears, $179.23 million (107.32 percent).

7. Browns, $177.1 million (106.05 percent).

8. 49ers, $174.57 million (104.53 percent).

9. Falcons, $173.88 million (104.12 percent).

10. Washington, $173.78 million (104.06 percent).

11. Raiders, $173.29 million (103.76 percent).

12. Vikings, $172.86 million (103.51 percent).

13. Eagles, $170.64 million (102.18 percent).

14. Patriots, $168.97 million (101.18 percent).

15. Seahawks, $168.61 million (100.96 percent).

16. Cardinals, $167.86 million (100.51 percent).

17. Steelers, $165.07 million (98.85 percent).

18. Titans, $164.24 million (98.35 percent).

19. Giants, $162.64 million (97.39 percent).

20. Bengals, $160.81 million (96.29 percent).

21. Chargers, $160.58 million (96.15 percent).

22. Rams, $159.2 million (95.33 percent).

23. Buccaneers, $156.87 million (93.93 percent).

24. Saints, $155.93 million (93.37 percent).

25. Broncos, $152.55 million (91.35 percent).

26. Bills, $150.59 million (90.15 percent).

27. Ravens, $149.28 million (89.39 percent).

28. Texans, $144.04 million (86.25 percent).

29. Colts, $143.41 million (85.88 percent).

30. Jets, $143.08 million (85.68 percent).

31. Chiefs, $141.99 million (85.02 percent).

32. Cowboys, $115.657 million (69.26 percent).

21 responses to “Half of league spent above the cap in 2017

  1. “half of the teams spent more than the cap, and another half of the teams were under it.” What about the other half…three halves make a whole!

  2. Jerrah must be socking away some cash before selling the Cowboys.

    Can someone tell me why the lie about the Patriots being cheap persists?

  3. Dear Patriot fans claiming that the cap-strapped Eagles cannot possibly sustain their current winning ways: please note that the Eagles are not even close to being among the league’s worst offenders, and…oh dear…there they are, only one notch higher above the cap limit than your own precious team.

  4. “Dear Patriot fans claiming that the cap-strapped Eagles cannot possibly sustain their current winning ways”

    Haven’t seen many Patriots fans making that claim. I’ve seen fans of other NFCE teams doing so, I’ve seen a couple of the fake Pats fans here doing so, but not the real Pats fans.

    If you’re not aware, there are several people who pretend to be fans of other teams, not just the Pats, that constantly make very obnoxious posts as a Pats or other fan to create resentment against a team they don’t like. Sad and pathetic but that’s life if social media these days.

  5. Another interesting fact is that the teams that overspent….there’s a lot that haven’t been successful. The success or lack of is spread out across the list but there doesn’t seem to be a high correlation between those that overspent to their success on the field.

  6. Why is there a cap if you can go over it? The 16 teams that went over. what is their punishment?


    This is CASH spent….Signing bonuses can be spread out over the life of the contract which lowers the cap charge relative to the cash spent.

    Cash spent and Cap charges are two different things.

  7. Good Grief!, once again the hapless, helpless Lions lead the pack in a way nobody ever wants to. They could double the cap for the Lions only and they still couldn’t put together a strong team. Anyone who laments their team only need to look to the Lions to immediately feel better about your state NFL Team.

  8. I am not even sure what this means. I can see exceeding the cap, but do not understand how you could spend less? Why would you spend less? What are you saving for? Unless you spend less because of past prorated deals you are compensating for. This may explain why the Cowboys are the 32nd ranked team.

  9. doug ablitt says:
    February 26, 2018 at 3:04 pm
    something obvious

    Teams spending above or near the cap were competitive, those below sucked


    That was a joke, right?

  10. This doesn’t take into account dead money. The Ravens have mortgaged the future for so long and this doesn’t begin to tell the story. 18M under the cap? I don’t think so, Ozzie.

  11. I can’t believe the number of non football fans on here that don’t understand the difference between cash and cap!

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