It’s time for one of our periodic salary-cap checks for all four NFC South teams. But let’s take this one a little further than usual.
Let’s look at where each team stands in relation to the cap for three years.
Atlanta Falcons: They’re $2.183 million under this year’s salary cap and they still have to sign their draft picks. But the Falcons will get $4.5 million in cap relief after June 1 when Tyson Clabo’s hit gets divided over two years. The Falcons already have $101.6 million in cap space committed for 2014 when the cap is expected to be slightly more than $120 million. That means the Falcons have some room to work with as they attempt to sign quarterback Matt Ryan to a contract extension. The good news is the Falcons have plenty of flexibility going forward because they only have $59 million committed toward the 2015 cap.
Carolina Panthers: At the moment, the Panthers are $5.28 million under the cap. That gives them room to sign their draft picks and enough room to sign some players if injuries come during the season. But the Panthers, who had to work hard to get under this year’s cap, are going to face similar obstacles going forward. They already have $125 million committed toward the 2014 cap. Perhaps more importantly, they have $109 million committed toward the 2015 cap. Carolina has only 21 players under contract through 2015 and quarterback Cam Newton isn’t one of them. General manager Dave Gettleman still has a long way to go to get out of the cap nightmare predecessor Marty Hurney left behind.
New Orleans Saints: They’re $3.1 million under this year’s cap after restructuring a bunch of contracts. But the downside to the restructures is that the Saints have pushed a lot of cap room into future years. They have $140.5 million (second only to Dallas at $145 million) already committed to the 2014 cap. The Saints only have 23 players under contract through 2015 and they already have $113 million in cap space committed toward that year.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: They still are $19.2 million under this year’s cap. It’s likely a good chunk of that will be carried over to next year. That’s a good thing because the Bucs already have $117.9 million committed to 2014 and they might have to sign quarterback Josh Freeman to a big contract extension. The Bucs have $99.7 million in cap space committed to 2015.