At some point prior to the start of the NFL's new league year on March 9, the owners and the NFL Players Association will mutually agree upon a value for the 2016 salary cap. Shortly thereafter, much of the discussion will turn to how much cap space each of the 32 franchises has at its disposal for this year.
There's a tendency to assume that more cap space -- and in turn the flexibility to spend aggressively -- is better than less space. But there's also a reality rooted in having a ton of cap space: It often means a team either has a roster with several holes (after all, good players are most commonly paid commensurate with their abilities) or a significant number of players on rookie contracts who are soon to be due for raises. There's no magic number of cap space a team wants to have; rather, NFL franchises hope to maintain a healthy cap by having a roster full of talent with flexibility to fine tune (add to it, extend players, trade for players, etc.) as needed.
For the sake of laying out which teams have the resources to spend big this offseason, let's overview the five teams currently projected to have the most rollover space for the 2016 season and assign a primary need. A few notes: These numbers will assume a salary-cap projection of $153 million and do not factor in restricted free-agent tenders, which will be handed out prior to the league year.
These numbers also account for rollover space, as the NFL allows teams to push unused cap space from one year forward to the next. Of course, these numbers are also subject to change at any moment by a team either extending a current player or parting ways with one that creates more space.