In case you haven’t noticed, the start of the 2021 NFL league year is now exactly six weeks away. In short, by March 17 is when all 32 NFL teams need to be salary cap compliant and then the free agent signing period will officially begin at the same time. One of the huge mysteries as we sit here six weeks out revolves around what the league-wide salary cap number will be. Wednesday night, however, a reputable report surfaced that claims that the 2021 league-wide salary cap number will ultimately be well above the agreed to possible floor of $175 million.
According to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network Wednesday night, the NFL and NFLPA have already initiated preliminary negotiations on the 2021 salary cap number, which some believe will end up higher than expected. Specifically, Pelissero reports that some team officials believe and hope that the 2021 cap number will ultimately land closer to $185 million per club — if not a little higher.
As many of you know who frequent this sire quite often, it has long been my belief that the 2021 salary cap number will come in higher than the agreed to floor amount of $175 million and in fact, maybe even closer to the 2020 amount of $198.2 million. That fact that Pelissero reported Wednesday night that $185 million might ultimately be the possible low watermark is reason to have a lot of optimism and especially if you’re a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Even if the final number winds up being $185 million for 2021, that’s a huge boost when it comes to the Steelers, who I currently have as a roughly $31 million over an amount of $175 million. The league wide number ultimately coming in $185 million would effectively be like the Steelers receiving a $10 million cap credit, in all honesty. Should the number ultimately come in higher that $185 million, such news might be worthy of Steelers fans holding a parade in Pittsburgh. Okay, that’s a bit strong, but I think you see the gravity of such possible news.
so, when will we for sure find out what the agreed to 2021 salary cap number is? That’s a great question I wish I had an answer for. According to Pelissero Wednesday night, teams may find out the actual number for 2021 just days before the free-agent negotiating period begins on March 15, with the NFL and NFLPA taking all the time possible to assess the climate and budget for the impact of at least one new media deal, which reportedly must be finalized before the league makes the expected move to a 17-game regular season in 2021.
Personally, I find it hard to believe that teams won’t have at least some sort of general idea as to what the actual 2021 salary cap number will ultimately be set at with one week to go before the start of the new league year. Why? Because several teams such as the Steelers could possibly have a lot of work to do when it comes to possible contract restructures and extensions for several players depending on how much cap space needs to be created. Teams need at least one week notice, one would think.
In a few more days we should get to hear from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell as he usually holds his annual State of the League press conference a few days before the Super Bowl takes place. Hopefully when he does meet the media in the coming days, he’s hammered with questions about the league’s salary cap and revenue lost in 2020 due to the pandemic.
In closing, this Wednesday report by Pelissero is well worth your time to read as it certainly is big and positive news when it comes to the offseason outlook for the Steelers.