NFL, NFLPA agree to increase salary cap to at least $180 million

In this photo illustration a hundred us dollar banknotes
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Last year, as part of the negotiations that allowed pro football to proceed in a pandemic, the NFL and NFL Players Association agreed that the 2021 salary cap would be no lower than $175 million. They have now agreed it will be a little higher than that.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the league has advised all teams that the NFL and NFLPA have agreed to bump the minimum salary cap per team to $180 million.

“This is not the final Salary Cap for the 2021 League year, which will be set following review of final 2020 revenue figures and other audit and accounting adjustments,” the memo explains. “This agreement simply increases the minimum 2021 Salary Cap by $5 million per club, from $175 million to $180 million.”

The memo provides no indication as to when the salary cap will be set. The uncertainty makes it hard for teams to create budgets, negotiate contracts, and target potential free agents.

Some around the league expect the final number to be $180 million. The increase of the minimum to $180 million could now make that higher.

42 responses to “NFL, NFLPA agree to increase salary cap to at least $180 million

  1. Who will explain to the players that everyone can’t make more money, if there is less to spend on the team?

  2. “The increase of the minimum to $180 million could now make that higher.” I’m thinking logic is not your strong suit. all increasing the minimum does is increase the minimum. if they didn’t increase the minimum from $175M there was nothing from preventing them from raising it above $180M. all increasing the minimum does is…increase the minimum.

  3. The owners of these sports teams really don’t want the public to know how much money they really make!!!!

  4. Hmmmm…..

    $180 million and 53 players on the active roster. That’s $3.4 million/player.

    Obviously some people are grossly overpaid and others grossly underpaid.

    Kinda sounds like society in general, wouldn’t you say?

  5. When I eat my $5 hotdog, my $7 pretzel and down it with a $12 beer, I feel for the owners. The players are the ones taking the life altering hits to their bodies and sustaining permanent injuries ( yes these may heal now but hurt and ache when they age) and the fans spend tons of their income to support their teams with overpriced food, tickets and memorabilia. Not to mention TV revenue. But the owners have to count all that dough and dole out the players and coaches share. Fortunately you never hear of an owner going bankrupt. We can’t reduce thier profits to help out fans, or players. That’s crazy talk.

  6. As clever as these 32 teams are with their books, the cap could/should be 200M. They didn’t lose that much $$ last year.

  7. Obviously some people are grossly overpaid and others grossly underpaid.

    +++++

    Not necessarily. It just means some NFL players make way more than the average salary, and many more make much less.

    Whether any individual player is overpaid or underpaid depends on their cost relative to production.

  8. Yeah, there are the have and have-nots among players but then there are the owners who make A LOT more than any of the players.

    Forbes said the average net operating income (after paying player salaries and other expenses) per NFL team was $109 million in 2019. Since they said it was about $32 million in 2010, that’s an average annual increase of 15%. Compare that to the average annual increase in the salary cap of less than 5% during the same period, sure seems like somebody’s pockets are getting fatter quick and it’s not the players.

  9. smoothrobinva says:
    February 18, 2021 at 9:45 am
    The owners of these sports teams really don’t want the public to know how much money they really make!!!!

    Well they are private businesses so why would they? It’s no different than any other private business.

  10. The owners of these sports teams really don’t want the public to know how much money they really make
    =====

    Its made public every year at the Packers shareholder meeting.

  11. It’s weird that the NFL would rather allow a crazy Free agency than to protect teams. You’d assume with vaccinations and an end in sight they’d tap into the bank account to support Atleast another year.. I know with business you need to be frugal but who knows. Maybe they want an NBA type free agency to keep fans more engaged compared to other years — or the logic is that the bad teams with a lot of cap can catch up to the top teams. Either way not a fan to see so many teams having to cut players. Lmk what any of you guys think – curious your see the general tone of everyone

  12. Last year was $198.2 Million. If 180 is the low point, then they should end up at 188.2. 10 million less for ticket sale and concession losses. They got the TV revenue.

  13. No one is forced to attend a game or down a $12 beer. I enjoy watching the NFL on TV, armed only with a DVR so I can fast forward through the commercials. The owners and players can divide their money as they see fit.

  14. 180? Something more in line with teams profits would be in the 350 to 400 million range…..I will bet you, if you opened teams books, you would find minimum profit per team, just from ticket sales alone is about 800-900 million. I know the stadiums were empty last year, but you figure a 70,000 seat stadium with an average per ticket price between 15 and 20 thousand dollars, is a ton of money.

  15. When you consider that the average VALUE per NFL team has increased at an average annual rate of 11% from 2010 to 2020 ($1.023 billion to $3.045 billion) and that average net operating income (after paying player salaries and other expenses) per NFL team has increased at an annual rate of 15% while the players salary cap has only increased less 5%, somebody is REALLY getting fat in the league and it’s not the players.

  16. Just like every year, and even more this year, some of these high priced veterans on the back half of their career are about to get a rude awakening. What you and I, Joe Regular, will never understand, is that when these players go from $10 mil to being offered $5 mil a year, they are outraged.

  17. erikmpeter says:
    February 18, 2021 at 10:36 am
    It’s weird that the NFL would rather allow a crazy Free agency than to protect teams. You’d assume with vaccinations and an end in sight they’d tap into the bank account to support Atleast another year..
    //////////
    None of those owners got to be billionaires by floating profits to another year. You and I will never understand.

  18. Amazing to me that some of you still blame the players and completely ignore the Billionaire owners who hoard the lions share of the profits, risk no bodily injuries, and hijack your cities into building their stadiums. If their greed was just the slightest percentage smaller maybe most of us could afford to take our families to a game.

  19. I still say a 17th game will be added next year.with that brings a brand spanking new TV contract.it might be a 2nd Monday night game( earlier) or Tuesday night football.either should add a great amount of $$$$. I say the cap won’t drop because of this.

  20. Im just a bit over 60 years old. I won’t be eligible to get vaccinated for almost 5 more years. How are stadiums going to be opened. Makes no sense.

  21. Just add up the network TV money + stadium naming rights. Most teams pay no real rent or got a tax break upfront. Some cities give them most of the revenue from non-NFl events even if they don’t own the stadium. As long as taxpayers in cities willing to pay hundreds of millions to billionaires …

  22. conormacleod says:

    None of those owners got to be billionaires by floating profits to another year. You and I will never understand.
    ——–
    Yeah, you’re right. More than half of NFL owners earned their franchises the old fashioned way: Inheritance.

  23. The owners and players negotiated a CBA with revenue sharing down to very specific income streams. The outcome of those calculations will be around 180 million dollars per team for 2021. What’s being discussed is the possibility of increasing the cap for 2021 by borrowing from the future years. The players are of course in favor of that. The owners of cap-strapped teams are also in favor. But negotiating a new cap number for 2021 requires the approval of 3/4 of the owners and it’s not clear at all that many owners support it. Most teams aren’t facing cap hell after all.

  24. Make the salaries a % of a cap instead of a fix number so if you have a cap bit of 29 million dollars you make up 2% of the cap space ( roughly 1.6% of 180
    Million but for signing bonuses etc). And once a decade you can void a contract with no cap hit.

  25. Do you really believe that these teams are bought because of the investment? Its all about vanity. They would all make so much more money just buying an SP500 Index Fund.

    pmars64 says:
    February 18, 2021 at 11:02 am
    When you consider that the average VALUE per NFL team has increased at an average annual rate of 11% from 2010 to 2020 ($1.023 billion to $3.045 billion) and that average net operating income (after paying player salaries and other expenses) per NFL team has increased at an annual rate of 15% while the players salary cap has only increased less 5%, somebody is REALLY getting fat in the league and it’s not the players.

  26. I see the comments here and they show a total lack of how a business operates, or why it exists in the first place.

    Player wages don’t match owner increases in earnings simply because the players collectively don’t have the same risk business owners have.

    Why would waiters at a restaurant see their pay rise at the same rate as the owner of the restaurant if more profits come in? You’re totally ignoring that the owner likely expands on their business with the additional earnings. Maybe they start another restaurant, maybe they increase capacity. Waiters don’t take on the risk of any of that.

  27. Today you are all banging on owners for maximizing profits and tomorrow it will be the greedy players!Should they share with you?Do you share with the neighbor down the street making minimum wage?Hell no you don’t!
    How many of you work for companies that have held municipalities “hostage” for various reasons?Has anyone ever left a employer for a better opportunity?Free agency?Sound familiar?
    Bottom line quit complaining or quit watching.Many of us just enjoy the game for what it is.

  28. why do most of the commenters always go out their way to defend the owners but bash the players when it comes to finances?

  29. docsweeney says:
    February 18, 2021 at 10:06 am
    As clever as these 32 teams are with their books, the cap could/should be 200M. They didn’t lose that much $$ last year.
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Average NFL stadium holds 70,000 fans x minimum of $40 a ticket (excluding “good” or “box” seating)=$2,800,000 x 8 home games =$22,400,000… need me to go into parking and food revenue? No money lost.

  30. From 2010 to 2020, the SP500 index grew by just over 11% annually. This is better than its 50 year average of 8%. So while the value of NFL franchises has increased at about the same rate as the SP500 since 2010, it does better than it has over the longer term. Also, this does not take into account that the net operating income per team has increased 15% annually since 2010. Now, value is driven by income, of course, so it’s interesting that the value has not risen as fast as the income. Not sure why. But, all that said, in the end, it sure looks like the NFL owners are getting great income PLUS increase in value. So, you could argue that the NFL owners could take that net income and invest it in the SP500 to get that return AS WELL AS getting the increase in franchise value. I’m not a finance guy at all, but it sure seems like these owners are REALLY making out…

    lifelongwhodat says:
    February 18, 2021 at 12:10 pm
    Do you really believe that these teams are bought because of the investment? Its all about vanity. They would all make so much more money just buying an SP500 Index Fund.

  31. I’m not sure your analogy works. First, the players risk their bodies every play and, one wrong tackle, etc., and they are finished in the NFL and, in the NFL, nearly all player contracts are voided as soon as a player is cut, even for injury. That’s huge risk that waiters (and owners) don’t have. NFL players careers are WAY shorter than waiters, in general. Of course, many waiters don’t last long, but it’s a transient profession to begin with and there’s a good chance they can make as much or more doing something else. Most NFL players cannot make nearly the same amount doing something other than playing pro football. Finally, NFL players make it possible for the NFL product to be as entertaining as it is. That’s why lousy football by inferior players doesn’t sell. Waiters contribute something to the success of a restaurant but they are by no means the very product of the restaurant. Cooks and chefs play a bigger role than waiters.

    I think it’s laughable to think that the owners take on more risk. Not with the guaranteed TV contracts and other revenue that comes in. Without the excellence of their players, the owners couldn’t make what they do. The risk is shouldered more by the players. Sure, the owners share that risk because they pay the players, but that risk is really minimized because they can void player contracts at virtually any time. Players can be and are replaced all the time so losing a player who provides real value is not nearly as risky as the player who is replaced especially if it is because of injury or age.

    obesewantcannoli says:
    February 18, 2021 at 12:10 pm
    I see the comments here and they show a total lack of how a business operates, or why it exists in the first place.

    Player wages don’t match owner increases in earnings simply because the players collectively don’t have the same risk business owners have.

    Why would waiters at a restaurant see their pay rise at the same rate as the owner of the restaurant if more profits come in? You’re totally ignoring that the owner likely expands on their business with the additional earnings. Maybe they start another restaurant, maybe they increase capacity. Waiters don’t take on the risk of any of that.

  32. Moonshine Mullins says:
    February 18, 2021 at 10:52 am

    And Ben Roethlisberger wants 41 million of that 180 million, Steelers are fading fast

    ___________________________________________

    Uhh… what?

    That is his current cap hit based on his existing contract, yes. He has spoken publicly about the need to adjust that if he’s going to keep playing.

    His cap hit is going to be a minimum of $22 million, even if he retires. That’s dead money from previous seasons. With an extension, it’s possible to get his cap hit for 2021 down to around $23 million if he plays. Certainly they would shoot for that.

    Personally, I’d like to see a 2-3 year extension to spread out the cap hits as much as possible. The cap should be much higher starting in 2022 with the new TV deals coming in. Roethlisberger is obviously no longer an elite quarterback, but he’s still capable of playing at an above average level. If he has a good 2021, I see no reason why he can’t be back in 2022 as well.

    To again address your nonsensical take, there’s been absolutely nothing to suggest that Roethlisberger wants to eat up that much of the cap space in this potentially low cap season.

  33. erikmpeter says:
    February 18, 2021 at 10:36 am

    It’s weird that the NFL would rather allow a crazy Free agency than to protect teams.

    Paying labor comes straight out of profit margins. A bunch of old bosses is not going to approve anything that reduces profits if they can avoid doing so.

  34. How much the teams earn is not a secret. Plenty of owners our there with loans. Numerous teams have been purchased. Teams have accountants. Loose lips theory. The packers publish it’s financial statements. Not too difficult to use those numbers to estimate for other to teams after adjusting for differences. The big deal is how the players and owners, both quite well off, convinced the public to contribute to them getting richer. Absent public subsidies, real cap probably about $40 million per year less.

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