Whenever I write about Pro Football Talk, you can probably bet that it has something to do with the salary cap. In this case, that would be a safe bet.
Earlier this offseason, the football website quoted a source as saying that he anticipated the 2014 cap to be significantly higher than the originally projected $126.3 million. It obviously came in higher at $133 million.
That same source said he expected the cap to go up to as much as $150 million by 2016, with the cap reaching $140 million next season. Mike Florio has a new source saying it will be even higher than that.
According to an article he penned yesterday morning, one of Florio’s sources—a different source—“with knowledge of the process” told him that the cap could see a rise of $12 million, up to $145 million for next season. It rose $10 million this year from the 2012 figure of $123 million.
The same source claimed that it could go up to $160 million by 2016, an increase of $10 million more than previously reported projections, and $15 million more than the projection from the same source for the 2015 figure.
These stark increases seem to coincide with lucrative new television contracts kicking in, which were believed to cause a spike in the salary cap a few years ago that never happened. Instead, the cap remained fairly flat for those years, and appeared set to do so again for 2014 when the speculated figure was just $3.3 million more than the season prior.
Instead, we now appear set to experience significance peaks at least for the next few cycles as new money flows into the system from new television revenue sources, which means new money for everybody, both teams and players.
With the cap ceiling rising, so too will the cap floor installed not long ago, which requires that teams utilize at least 89 percent of their allotted cap space over four-year periods, seemingly leaving behind the era of tight-fisted owners.
I wonder, though, given these dramatic spikes, if we could see a lowering of the floor by a small degree within the next few years, as it is bad for owners who prefer not to spend if they don’t believe that they have a playoff-contending team.
The alleged increases are, of course, great news for teams with cap issues, which the Pittsburgh Steelers have been perennially since the new Collective Bargaining Agreement was reached a few years ago.
It is also great for teams with franchise quarterbacks who are paid like franchise quarterbacks, as it makes those $20+ million a season contracts feel less like an anchor around the neck. Just in time, perhaps, for a new extension for Ben Roethlisberger? Unless that cap space is needed for this season, however, it may be best to wait until next season to reap the benefits of the cap savings on a low first year contract.