We've reached that weird time of the NFL calendar when two teams are preparing for the game of their lives and the rest are laying down plans in hopes of playing in it next season. While the Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams are focused on Super Bowl LVI, the remaining 30 teams are absorbed in developing an approach to free agency, the draft and other means of player and personnel acquisition.
Offseason ambitions must be molded to available assets. Salary-cap space and the number of draft choices are the primary resources. So what follows is a first glance at each team's offseason capital, ranked by a basic formula that combines current cap space and the position of each draft selection.
The NFL hasn't completed its annual audit of the full draft list, so we estimated Rounds 1-7 based on current order and reported trades, and cross-referenced it with the compilation at Prosportstransactions.com. We added the known draft picks a handful of teams received from the NFL for developing minority job candidates, per the updated Rooney Rule, as well as the excellent compensatory pick estimations from Nick Korte of Over The Cap.
ESPN sports data scientist Brian Burke merged our estimated draft order with historical data to derive an approximate value (AV) for each team's draft class. We weighed the ranking of that value 1.5 times that of current cap-space rankings and arrived at the final order below. Cap space will change daily in the coming weeks, and the league's official limit has not yet been determined, but the information below from ESPN's Roster Management System is based on a $208.2 million ceiling per team.
Draft capital AV sum: 139.6
First-round pick: No. 1
Current cap space: $61.9 million