Salary-cap information generally is kept top secret, but the NFL Players Association took the rare step of making some of it public Wednesday.
Presumably in an attempt to show how much cap room remains unused, the NFLPA publicly put out numbers on how much each team is under the cap.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the second-most room in the NFL at $26.384 million under the cap. That number could grow if the Bucs release or restructure the contract of Eric Wright, who currently is costing the team $7.75 million in cap space. This probably will lead to some of the old claims that the Bucs are “cheap." But I think the more significant thing here is that they’re set up nicely to perhaps make a trade for cornerback Darrelle Revis. Part of that equation would involve giving Revis a long-term deal as the highest-paid cornerback in the league. The Bucs, who like to front load contracts, are in a position to make a Revis deal work.
The Carolina Panthers, who had to do a lot of work to get under the cap at the start of free agency, now are $6.187 under the cap (largely due to the restructuring of Jordan Gross’ contract). That figure doesn’t include the deal signed by receiver Domenik Hixon on Wednesday. But Hixon’s deal is probably for the veteran minimum and won’t take up much cap space. The Panthers, who haven’t made any major moves in free agency, have a little bit of wiggle room now and could make perhaps one or two moves of note.
The New Orleans Saints are at $2.05 million under the cap. That means they’re pretty much done with free agency. If they want to make any significant moves, they’ll have to restructure contracts. But the problem there is they already have restructured most of the veteran contracts that would make sense to restructure.
The Atlanta Falcons were listed at $2.4 million under the cap. That was before news broke Thursday morning that the team is releasing right tackle Tyson Clabo. The move will free up $900,000 in the short term. But Clabo will be designated as a June 1 release. After June 1, the cap savings will be about $4.5 million. The Falcons also hope to work a long-term extension with quarterback Matt Ryan sometime this offseason. Depending on the structure of the deal, an extension could create some cap room for the Falcons this year.