NFC South 2014 salary-cap check

The New Orleans Saints have been able to be fairly active in free agency due to a series of contract restructures. But that will come with a heavy price in the future.

I just got a look at how much all NFL teams have committed toward the 2014 salary cap and the picture isn’t pretty for the Saints. They already have $139 million committed to next year’s cap. That’s the second-highest total in the league (Dallas leads at $146 million).

Next year’s cap is expected to remain less than $125 million and the Saints’ commitment will only grow once they sign this year’s draft picks.

The Carolina Panthers, who once had nearly $140 million committed to the 2014 cap, gradually have been shaving cap space for the future. After releasing cornerback Chris Gamble and making some other moves, the Panthers currently have $125 million committed toward next year’s cap. That number will drop by $5.9 million next spring when the contract for offensive tackle Jordan Gross voids.

The other two NFC South teams are in decent cap shape for 2014. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are at $98.5 million. They’re expected to use some of that room to sign receiver Mike Williams to a contract extension this offseason, but they still will have plenty of room to sign Josh Freeman to a long-term extension if the quarterback has a solid 2013 season.

Speaking of quarterbacks and long-term extensions, the Atlanta Falcons are well positioned to absorb the long-term contract they want to get done with Matt Ryan this offseason. The Falcons currently have $98 million committed toward the 2014 cap.