According to reports, the 2021 salary cap is not anticipated to rise far above the currently floor, which was raised to $180 million. The general expectations has indicated that the number will likely fall somewhere around $182-3 million, which would be about a $15 million drop from the mark of the salary cap from last season.
There isn’t much that can happen that would change the number. But if there is anything that would help bump that number up some, it would be locking in new and lucrative media contracts with the league’s broadcasting partners, and subsequently kicking in the 17-game schedule, which the NFL has the authority to do at any time.
There appears to be some good news on that front. While there were some conflicting reports as to whether or not the NFL and Disney had worked out a new deal, Sports Business Journal, via Pro Football Talk, is reporting that the league’s biggest partners are just about on the books.
Mike Florio quotes John Ourand as saying that new deals with CBS and NBC are “virtually done”, which sounds good. Each deal is expected to come in at roughly $2 billion annually. A deal with FOX is reaching final stages as well, it sounds like, though the network is said to be balking a bit at a similar price tag, but not enough of a pushback that it could jeopardize a deal.
The thing is, Florio writes that while these deals are nearing completion, it’s not believed that they will have “a major impact, if any, on the 2021 salary cap”. Obviously that’s not what fans want to hear, especially the fans of teams who are in a salary cap crunch, which would include the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Stability for the NFL, however, is good for everybody involved, and the league is looking to lock in decade-long contracts, paired with the most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement. It’s difficult at this point to foresee any kind of significant labor strife in the near future.
While these new deals might not significantly affect the 2021 salary cap number, they could help the future caps. It has been indicated that if this year’s cap number were to truly reflect the economic impact of the pandemic, then it would actually be around $160 million.
In a sense, the $180 million number is already a compromise that would have still further buyback in future years. getting as much of a head start on the future now could help to get the cap headed back in the right direction as soon as 2022, which is good for everybody.