NFL Free Agency 2013: Starting Cap Space For All 32 NFL Teams
NFL Free Agency 2013: Starting Cap Space For All 32 NFL Teams
Free Agency starts Tuesday at 4pm Eastern and teams will begin chasing down the players they hope will help lead them to a championship. It is one of the most exciting periods the NFL off-season has to offer and the entire football world will be taking notice.
Over the next several days, teams will offer contracts to the NFL players that are no longer under contract. It is an opportunity for organizations to improve the quality of their roster while giving the players a chance to collect a big payday. For the most part, it is a win-win for NFL teams, fans and players, but it does not come without a price, or rather, a price limit.
The NFL wants to keep teams from being able to stack the deck by spending whatever it took to land all of the top players. The way they manage that is through the implication of a Salary Cap, a limitation on how much each team can spend on their payroll. By placing a cap on team spending, the NFL is able to promote parity throughout the league, assuring that only the most shrewd of front offices would be able to build the dominant dynasty-type teams.
This year the salary cap is set at $123 Million, a slight raise from the $120.6 of 2012. All NFL teams need to keep their payroll under that amount or face penalties and tax. For some teams, this cap is no problem, for others, it handcuffs their ability to get out and woo the free agent talent.
The following pages show the cap space of each team. The numbers are the starting cash for each team. The amount they currently have may have changed depending on signings, releases or trades. If you have a current number that you would like to share, please feel free to use the comment section below, or reach out to us on Twitter using the hashtag #RML, for Rant My Life.
32. Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are in a battle with the league over alleged cap violations and are hoping to recoup some of their cash. They have also cut several players and are doing everything they can to clear space and get under the cap. At $19 million over the cap, the Cowboys are more than $10 million deeper in debt than the closest team to them. It seems like Jerry Jones would realize he needs to focus on the business side of things and let football guys handle the football affairs, but it is doubtful his ego would ever allow that to happen.
31. Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers are a more manageable $8 million over the cap and they have been dumping contracts, including the Panthers all time interception leader, Chris Gamble. They may be able to clear the space they need to get under the cap, but questions surround their ability to clear enough to get Cam Newton a playmaker on the free agent market.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers have made a couple of signings that will alter this number, including signing restricted free agent Jonathan Dwyer to a one year, $1.323 million contract. It is the ideal contract for Pittsburgh, who saw decent production from Dwyer in 2012 and are up against the wall for cash this year.
29. New Orleans Saints
New Orleans Saints come in just over $5 million above the cap but should have no problem getting under the limit. Still, the Saints have not released anyone and despite having 11 Free Agents, they have only made a couple of minor deals.
28. Washington Redskins
Washington came up huge in last season’s free agency and draft. In the draft they maneuvered their way into the second pick, securing Robert Griffin III and they uncovered hidden gold in the sixth round with the selection of Alfred Morris. Their free agent score was Pierre Garson who was plagued by injuries throughout the 2012 season. The Washington Redskins may not be able to replicate last season’s magic, but they are not in that bad of shape either.
27. Arizona Cardinals
Rumors are floating around about the Arizona Cardinals calling quarterback Kevin Kolb to the table to restructure the huge contract he was gifted when he came to the desert. Cap space could easily be situated with the right deal.
26. Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders are said to be negotiating with Carson Palmer to restructure his contract and clear cap space. Less than a million over the cap, the Raiders could have easily gotten under the limit, but if they are hoping to secure an impact player, they will need to be creative.
25. St Louis Rams
Entering the second year under Jeff Fisher, the St Louis Rams will look very different next season. They have already parted ways with Steven Jackson and are not expected to try to retain wide receivers Danny Amendola and Brandon Gibson. All three players are listed on the Top 50 free agents of 2013.
24. San Francisco 49ers
The first of our teams starting off under the cap, the San Francisco 49ers have already brought in a difference maker on offense by trading a sixth round pick for Anquan Boldin. San Francisco still has 14 picks coming in this year’s NFL Draft, so it is doubtful they make much noise in Free Agency.
23. New York Giants
The New York Giants failed to make the playoffs last season and have made major changes to the defensive line that is the staple of this team. They released Chris Canty and may not pursue Osi Umenyiora. They also surprised everyone by cutting Ahmad Bradshaw. They signed Cullen Jenkins and are hoping they will get a chance to retain tight end Martellus Bennett. Their biggest concern right now is wide out Victor Cruz, a restricted free agent they have placed a first round tender on. The Giants do not have the money to get into a bidding war with another team and hope the first round pick will scare teams off.
22. Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons were among the first to start dumping contracts, adding to the amount they were under the cap. Releasing players like Michael Turner and John Abraham shows the Falcons are transforming on the go, shifting away from some of their older stars and looking to add younger talent. Despite this, the Falcons are extremely excited to be welcoming back tight end Tony Gonzalez for his 17th NFL season.
21. San Diego Chargers
The San Diego Chargers enter the season with a completely new look in the front office and coaching staff and they have been busy already signing some of their free agent talent. The biggest surprise right now is that they have yet to make an offer to offensive guard Louis Vasquez.
20. Houston Texans
The Houston Texans made it to the Divisional Round of the playoffs for the second season in a row and could focus on bringing safety Glover Quinn back next season. If not, then it is possible they get into the chase for one of the top wide receivers. They organization has come out and stated they are sticking with quarterback Matt Schaub, but with an aging Andre Johnson as their only receiving threat, Schaub is simply being set up for failure.
19. New York Jets
The New York Jets have issues all over the field and have cut several big names to clear additional cap space. With a new general manager in place, the Jets are pulling out all the stops, including shopping Darrelle Revis for the best possible deal. They have not received the right package for Revis as of yet, but the fact that they are looking to get rid of their best player to increase the talent on the team, shows that they are serious about getting it turned around.
18. Detroit Lions
For the second year in a row, the Detroit Lions have been unable to come to terms with defensive end, Cliff Avril. This means Avril will hit the free market this afternoon as the hottest defensive lineman on the market. They are said to be pushing for help in their secondary and are highly interested in Reggie Bush.
17. Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens were intent on getting Anquan Boldin to take a $2 million pay cut this season, something Boldin was not willing to do. In the end he gets a new team, and the Ravens get a sixth round pick while dumping around $7 million against the cap. They will need to focus on bringing back Dannell Ellerbe, Paul Kruger, Ed Reed or any combination of the three
16. Chicago Bears
With nearly $12 million in cap space the question on everyone’s mind is will the Chicago Bears pay to keep Brian Urlacher in the center of their defense, or will they let him go without a fight. The team also needs to address the tight end situation, which should be fairly easy to do given the amount of quality starting tight ends in the free agent pool.
15. Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings were in need of a wide receiver before the trade that sent their leading receiver to the Seattle Seahawks. After taking a package of draft picks for Percy Harvin the Vikings need becomes desperate and they could get involved in a bidding war for one of the top wide outs.
14. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks will use a portion of this money to reach a lucrative deal with Percy Harvin. There may not be much left and they will still need cash to sign their rookie selections, although they no longer need to worry about their first and seventh round picks.
13. Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos could be the dark horse in free agency that no one is talking about just yet. They have been rumored to be interested in Rashard Mendenhal and if Wes Welker is still available, they could make a run at the extremely dangerous slot receiver. They have already released DJ Williams and Elvis Dumervil has requested his release, giving the Broncos a big break against the cap. They will have plenty of money to chase whoever they want. They finished 2012 with the best record in the AFC and with the depth of talent on the free agent market, Denver is in position to make themselves the outright favorite for 2013.
12. Kansas City Chiefs
A portion of this cap space has already been set aside for left tackle Brandon Albert, quarterback Alex Smith, wideout Dwayne Bowe, cornerback Dunta Robinson and the richest punter in all the land, Dustin Colquitt. Looking at this list it is clear to see new head coach Andy Reid is not fooling around. The Chiefs also have the number one overall pick in the upcoming draft. Long story short, the league needs to pay close attention to the Kansas City Chiefs, they may be hard to handle in the near future.
11. Green Bay Packers
One of the Green Bay Packers first moves was to release former Defensive Player of the Year, Charles Woodson, freeing him from his $10 million salary he had coming in 2013. The Packers are expected to extend quarterback Aaron Rodgers and need to address the running back position.
10. Tennessee Titans
The Tennessee Titans have all but said goodbye to tight end Jared Cook, and his absence adds to a laundry list of needs to long to list here. They have already made several re-signings, but still have holes all across the depth chart. The depth in this year’s free agency could turn out to be a blessing for the struggling Titans, who could answer several concerns over the next couple of days.
9. Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills have cut into this number with their franchise tag and other small transactions. On the other side of the coin, the Bills have parted ways with several players, and rumors are swirling about the impending release of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and his large contract. Buffalo will need to focus on a wide receiver and tight end, but if they let Fitzpatrick go, they will be in a tough spot at the quarterback position. They will wither be going with Tarvarvis Jackson, or be selecting a quarterback with the 8th pick in the NFL Draft.
8. New England Patriots
This could be the year we see the New England Patriots go out into free agency and spend big money. Tom Brady did not just restructure his contract to give the team more money to spend for no reason. The ultimate competitor, Brady is sick of seeing the confetti fall on other people. In his mind, the Patriots have been the better team every single year and he is willing to do whatever it takes to win another championship. It is uncertain whether the team is going to be able to keep Wes Welker or Brandon Lloyd, but they are rumored to be interested in restricted free agent Victor Cruz.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars are yet another team that has too many needs to list, but with this much cap space, they could make a dent on their issues before the draft rolls around. The Jaguars have an entirely new coaching staff and front office, and the quarterback job is said to be up for grabs. With money to play with and an owner that wants to win, the Jaguars bear keeping an eye on over the next couple of months.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last off-season the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were considered by many to be the winners of free agency. Among other signings, the Bucs landed Vincent Jackson, arguably the best offensive weapon to hit the market. Jackson responded with a terrific season and Tampa Bay made it clear they were a team on the up. Quarterback Josh Freeman may be at the end of his rope though, and 2013 could be his last chance to take his game to the next level.
5. Philadelphia Eagles
For the first time in over a decade and a half, the Philadelphia Eagles will head into free agency without Andy Reid buying the groceries. Reid’s long tenure as the Eagles head coach/supreme ruler came to a disappointing end, but the separation may have been just what both parties needed. With Chip Kelly at the helm, everyone will be watching to see what type of players the new coach goes after. Until we get to see a Kelly designed offense in the NFL the guessing will be non-stop, and dissecting how the players fit is like fitting pieces in a puzzle to see the bigger picture.
4. Indianapolis Colts
The Colts are in prime position to continue to rebuild after moving past the Peyton Manning era. So far the process has been a huge success. They drafted Andrew Luck number one over all and re-signed Reggie Wayne, among other successful signings. It was good enough to get them to the playoffs in their very first year together, and with the cap space available this season, you can expect the Colts to continue to put weapons around Luck. The biggest rumor now pointing at Greg Jennings joining the team.
3. Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins have spent a bit of their cap, assigning the franchise tag to Randy Starks and signing Brian Hartline and Matt Moore to big contracts. They still have plenty to play with and it looks as though a good portion of what is left is going to go to Mike Wallace. The Dolphins are also big on Jared Cook, who is sure to draw a big price tag as well. The Dolphins are in position to build a strong team, but until everything is said and done, it makes sense to reserve judgement on the success of the Dolphins efforts.
2. Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns are in a position they have not been in as far back as memory goes. They have plenty of cap space, a tough defense, a franchise running back already in place, and a quarterback they are going to hang their hat on. This gives the Browns freedom to build around the pieces that are in place, instead of simply filling holes and trying to stop the bleeding. They are rumored to be front runners in the chase for Cliff Avril, and they could jump into the wide receiver lottery as well. Browns fans are finally feeling good about where their team is at, and they have good reason to be excited about the future.
1. Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals have been putting strong pieces in place for the last couple of years and have been rewarded with back-to-back playoff appearances. They have one of the best wide receivers in the game, a solid running back, a dangerous defense and a promising young quarterback. With nearly $55.5 million in cap space the sky is the limit, and it is becoming clear that there is a power shift taking place in the AFC North.