On Thursday, league sources reported that the NFL will raise its salary cap to about $130 million for the 2014 season, an approximately five percent increase from the $123 million salary cap last season.
This increase is more than most teams were expecting, and some must be ecstatic because they were in a real bind. The New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys were all over the $126.3 million mark at the beginning of the offseason. Yes, I deliberately listed the Cowboys last. I know it’s petty, but I have loathed the Cowboys for so long and it’s fun to slight them whenever I can in whatever little way I can.
Technically, teams do not need to be under the salary cap until Mar. 11, but some have already begun cutting players to help create cap space. The Saints have already cut Will Smith, Roman Harper and Jabari Greer, and the Lions released Louis Delmas and Nate Burleson last week.
How does the salary cap increase affect the New England Patriots? It helps them of course, just as it does every other team, even if some teams are helped a little bit more.
I previously wrote that the Patriots need to try and keep Aqib Talib but not with a long-term deal, and that they need to work on their receiving corps. This increased salary cap certainly provides the Patriots and other teams more flexibility, and I hope the Patriots use the extra cap space to address some key needs like cornerback, pass rusher, tight end (maybe talk Tony Gonzalez out of retirement), offensive line and defensive tackle.
For all of the reasons I’ve written before, I still do not believe the Patriots need to re-sign Julian Edelman, who became a free agent this offseason. I am still of the mindset the Patriots need to acquire bigger receivers who can stretch the field — I still love the idea of Riley Cooper or Hakeem Nicks joining the Patriots.
Even though this increased salary cap helps the Patriots, I don’t like it. There were different things the Patriots could do to get under the salary cap and still take care of needs. The Patriots were not really in a bind with the salary cap. They would have been okay without this increase. It’s almost as if other teams (like the Cowboys) are being rewarded for their financial stupidity. I knew the Patriots weren’t going to be in big trouble and I wanted to see the Cowboys squirm. Now that won’t happen.
Oh well, at least the Patriots will finish with a better record than the Cowboys in 2014 and make it deeper into the playoffs — if the Cowboys even make the playoffs.