The NFL and NFL Players Association agreed on Wednesday on a salary cap of $ 182.5 million per team for 2021, a long-awaited 8% decrease from last season.
The league informed the teams of the official cap number on Wednesday morning in a memo received from ESPN. The handover will force the teams to make difficult duty roster decisions in the coming days and weeks.
The caps had risen every year since 2011 in conjunction with increasing league revenue, but a 92% drop in attendance during the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in lower revenue in 2020. The NFL and NFLPA were on the past Sommer agreed that the no cap would be less than $ 175 million; Last month they announced to teams that it would be at least $ 180 million. In 2020 it was $ 198.2 million.
As in previous years, the final number is the result of negotiations between the league and the union about projected revenues and other factors. A source told ESPN’s Dan Graziano that without these negotiated forecasts, the league’s 2020 revenue would have dictated a cap of about $ 160 million this season.
The teams must comply with the upper limit by 4:00 p.m. next Wednesday. ET when the new league year begins. Planning has been going on for a year, but teams are expected to fire an unusually high number of players into the free agent market, either to get under the limit or to make room to meet other roster needs. The cap is also likely to depress the growth of high-end deals in the market.
The pain is expected to be temporary as visitor numbers increase in 2021. More importantly, the NFL is working to land new broadcasting deals that are expected to increase revenue well beyond pre-pandemic levels.