Salary cap and franchise numbers set

Hey there. Just checking in on a relatively quiet (just jinxed it) Sunday afternoon to pass along the specifics on some important numbers we've been discussing generally for the past few months.

Two days from the start of its new business year, the NFL has set its 2012 salary cap at $120.6 million. We weren't expecting it to rise much above last year's total, and in the end it went up only $225,000. That's one reason the salary cap has become an issue for some teams, including the Detroit Lions, for the first time in years.

Franchise tags were also established, so we now know that the Chicago Bears are on the hook for exactly $7.742 million in cash and cap space after franchising tailback Matt Forte. The Lions, meanwhile, will owe defensive end Cliff Avril $10.605 million in cash and cap if they can't work out a long-term deal with him.

Barring Sunday evening news, I'll be back with you Monday morning. Oh, and happy Spring Forward day.