2020 NFL salary-cap space for all 32 teams: Who's set to spend big?

The Chiefs and 49ers have some tough decisions to make (1:14)

Adam Schefter examines the difficulties that the Chiefs and 49ers have to think about while staying within the salary-cap limits. (1:14)

NFL free agency kicks off next week, and the 2020 salary-cap space for all 32 teams is close to being locked in. Teams are permitted to start contract negotiations Monday with agents of players who will be free agents. Teams can sign players beginning at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday.

Which teams have the most money to spend? Start with the Miami Dolphins, who spent the last year clearing cap space and loading up on draft picks. The Minnesota Vikings, on the other hand, have the least amount of cap space partially because of Kirk Cousins' fully guaranteed contract.

Our NFL Nation reporters break down available salary-cap space and needs for every team as of 1 p.m. ET Thursday.

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NO | NYG | NYJ | LV | PHI | PIT | SF

Miami Dolphins

Overall cap space: $88,520,426

Offense: $59,122,879

Defense: $66,056,703

Special teams: $1,342,800

Analysis: The Dolphins lead the NFL in salary-cap space and they're now in position to be "aggressive," as general manager Chris Grier promised in the fall. They essentially took 2019 off from free agency in hopes to clean up their salary cap, and now they're back in a strong spot. Miami won't spend all of its cash in one offseason, and the draft will be a big priority, but expect several starting-level free-agent signings for the Dolphins in March. -- Cameron Wolfe

Indianapolis Colts

Overall cap space: $85,534,255

Offense: $92,421,516

Defense: $60,084,163

Special teams: $3,435,000

Analysis: The Colts are projected to have the second-most cap space behind Miami's $88 million. As has been the case in the past, there's no guarantee general manager Chris Ballard plans to be a free spender in free agency. "We're going to stay the course of how we believe in team building," Ballard said. "Things don't always go the way you want them to go, but we have a philosophy of how we're going to build it. We want to be able to acquire young players and develop our own and develop them as Colts. Not saying that we won't enter into free agency because we have, but it won't be our main source of player acquisition." Receiver, tight end, pass-rusher, cornerback and possibly quarterback are positions the Colts could pursue. -- Mike Wells

Buffalo Bills

Overall cap space: $82,293,974

Offense: $75,526,102

Defense: $60,451,055

Special teams: $5,126,500

Analysis: The 2020 season figures to be the culmination of GM Brandon Beane and coach Sean McDermott's efforts over the past three seasons. Their roster shaping, efficient spending and smart drafting have given the Bills north of $80 million to play with, even after going 10-6 in 2019. But this money isn't for any sort of free-agency spending spree; both men insist the team will focus primarily on re-signing their own -- a list that includes Dion Dawkins, Matt Milano and Tre'Davious White among others. With so many key players on either rookie or below-market-value deals, Buffalo is financially sound as it pushes toward Super Bowl contention. -- Marcel Louis-Jacques

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Overall cap space: $81,112,764

Offense: $78,357,750

Defense: $42,912,471

Special teams: $3,951,443

Analysis: Bucs GM Jason Licht said: "Last year it was hearing that we didn't have any cap room and we were in cap hell. But now we have a lot. So it's a good position to be in, for us to make decisions and try to keep this core together." Retaining linebacker Shaq Barrett, who is expected to be franchised for $16.266 million, is the priority. They'll also try to bring back defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. The biggest question is quarterback. Will they re-sign Jameis Winston or move on? Teddy Bridgewater could command more than $20 million a year. An extension for receiver Chris Godwin also looms as does a decision on tight end O.J. Howard's fifth-year option. -- Jenna Laine

New York Giants

Overall cap space: $79,290,136

Offense: $83,444,509

Defense: $23,227,343

Special teams: $4,480,000

Analysis: The Giants have money to spend this offseason. A good chunk will have to be earmarked for their defense, which currently accounts for 11.5% of their total cap. The Giants' top eight against the salary cap are all offensive players. Second-year defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence ($3 million) is their most expensive defensive player, followed by veteran safety Antoine Bethea ($2.875 million). Clearly there's a need for an influx of talent on defense. Expect investment in the defense in free agency. -- Jordan Raanan

Dallas Cowboys

Overall cap space: $76,943,830

Offense: $81,736,680

Defense: $55,952,007

Special teams: $2,910,000

Analysis: From the looks of it, the Cowboys are in great shape when it comes to the cap. Now factor in deals for quarterback Dak Prescott, which could chew up around $34 million on the exclusive franchise tag, and receiver Amari Cooper and potentially defensive end Robert Quinn, cornerback Byron Jones, receiver Randall Cobb and others. That money can go quick. But the Cowboys can't use the cap as an excuse. They have room to do what they want and can restructure contracts, make cuts or have players take pay cuts to gain more space. But the plan is to follow their recent free-agent philosophy: fill holes with cost-effective players and save the big money for their own players. -- Todd Archer

Denver Broncos

Overall cap space: $69,670,218

Offense: $67,576,556

Defense: $74,953,053

Special teams: $6,005,000

Analysis: All of these numbers include quarterback Joe Flacco's $23.65 million cap charge for the coming season -- or a full 35% of the Broncos' salary cap at the moment. That contract is not expected to be there when the Broncos dive into free agency, but even if it is because of Flacco's neck injury, the Broncos have plenty of cap room to try to end a four-year playoff drought. President of football operations/general manager John Elway has said the Broncos will pick up contract options on linebackers Von Miller and Todd Davis, but not guard Ron Leary. By not picking up Leary's option, the Broncos create more than $8 million in cap space. Overall they have the room to be aggressive in the open market, but they will lose about $13.4 million in cap space when the trade for cornerback A.J. Bouye becomes official at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, the start of the league year. -- Jeff Legwold

Washington Redskins

Overall cap space: $62,828,373

Offense: $67,581,235

Defense: $68,815,641

Special teams: $6,097,858

Analysis: More than half of their salary cap on offense is devoted to two players who might not play in Washington this year -- quarterback Alex Smith ($21.4 million) and left tackle Trent Williams ($14.75 million); the latter would count $2 million if released or traded. Also, 40.5% of their offensive cap goes to the line and that's without pending free-agent guards Ereck Flowers and Brandon Scherff. The Redskins would like to keep both and are expected to franchise Scherff at around $16 million. On defense, safety Landon Collins ($14.2 million) and linebacker Ryan Kerrigan ($11.75 million) account for 38% of the defensive money. -- John Keim

Tennessee Titans

Overall cap space: $61,968,702

Offense: $77,787,312

Defense: $75,323,148

Special teams: $9,135,000

Analysis: Logan Woodside is the only quarterback on the Titans' roster. The almost 50-50 balance of offensive and defensive spending will be tilted once the Titans make their move to sign a starting quarterback. Running back Derrick Henry's figure also will factor into the equation. How much money is tied up in their quarterback and running back could factor into the decision to sign a high-priced pass-rusher or retain cornerback Logan Ryan, a free agent-to-be. Tennessee also would like to retain right tackle Jack Conklin, but there might not be enough cash to go around. -- Turron Davenport

Cleveland Browns

Overall cap space: $61,612,177

Offense: $79,672,452

Defense: $80,618,045

Special teams: $2,238,447

Analysis: The Browns have ample cap space to address their biggest holes, which include, most notably, offensive tackle and safety, pending what Cleveland does in the draft. The Browns, however, will also need to exercise caution, with several key players on rookie deals. Big paydays are coming for Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb, defensive end Myles Garrett and, potentially, quarterback Baker Mayfield. -- Jake Trotter

Houston Texans

Overall cap space: $60,358,794

Offense: $85,486,918

Defense: $68,977,860

Special teams: $2,416,666

Analysis: The offense currently takes up the majority of the Texans' salary cap, and that will grow when Houston extends quarterback Deshaun Watson and left tackle Laremy Tunsil. Watson takes up less than 3% of Houston's total cap, but that will change when he becomes one of the highest paid at his position. Defensive end J.J. Watt has the biggest cap hit on defense, but Houston could choose to restructure his deal, which no longer has any guaranteed money remaining. Long-snapper Jon Weeks is the only remaining special-teams specialist unsigned after kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn inked a new deal, but he is expected to be back as well. -- Sarah Barshop

Los Angeles Chargers

Overall cap space: $47,760,051

Offense: $68,615,561

Defense: $84,145,743

Special teams: $1,850,000

Analysis: These numbers do not include the player-for-player trade of left tackle Russell Okung to the Carolina Panthers for guard Trai Turner, which does not become official until 4 p.m. ET when the new league year begins Wednesday. That move will create about $5 million more cap space for the Chargers. By moving on from quarterback Philip Rivers, the Chargers have 5.25% of their current cap space tied to the quarterback position. That gives the Chargers the financial wherewithal to court someone such as Tom Brady in free agency, or draft a rookie quarterback and use that money to replenish other positions of need such as offensive line, defensive tackle and receiver. Chargers GM Tom Telesco also has to begin thinking about a long-term contract for defensive end Joey Bosa, who enters the final year of his rookie deal this season. -- Eric D. Williams

Las Vegas Raiders

Overall cap space: $47,707,148

Offense: $117,322,093

Defense: $52,013,382

Special teams: $585,833

Analysis: While more than half of the Raiders' salary cap goes to the offense, three players on that side of the ball -- quarterback Derek Carr ($21.5 million), right tackle Trent Brown ($21.5 million) and receiver Tyrell Williams ($11.1 million) -- take up more cap space than the entire defense. Yikes. The Raiders want to be players in free agency and need talent on defense, where defensive back Lamarcus Joyner carries the largest cap number at $9.2 million. And since everyone wants to talk about Carr's future, the Raiders would take a relatively low $5 million cap hit by cutting him and, thus, save $16.5 million against the cap to create more room. Just saying. -- Paul Gutierrez

Detroit Lions

Overall cap space: $47,588,379

Offense: $92,096,858

Defense: $70,531,734

Special teams: $5,655,000

Analysis: The Lions are not expected to be big spenders in free agency -- but will have enough money to go after two or three big-time players if they so choose. Their cap situation gives them flexibility to make decisions as they see fit -- although potential contract extensions for receiver Kenny Golladay, offensive tackle Taylor Decker and others could change how much they would want to shell out for free agents. -- Michael Rothstein

New York Jets

Overall cap space: $47,386,437

Offense: $69,128,569

Defense: $88,907,251

Special teams: $2,060,000

Analysis: The $69 million on offense ranks 29th, which calls to mind the old saying, "You get what you pay for." The Jets ranked 32nd in total offense. Nearly 22% of the $69 million is devoted to one player, running back Le'Veon Bell ($15.5 million), a gross misappropriation of resources. Bell has a higher cap charge than the entire offensive line ($12.5 million), which speaks volumes. That should change once the first wave of free agency is over, as the Jets are focused on improving their line. -- Rich Cimini

Seattle Seahawks

Overall cap space: $45,300,856

Offense: $96,275,368

Defense: $55,093,886

Special teams: $5,307,538

Analysis: Russell Wilson ($31 million) and Bobby Wagner ($14.75 million) will combine to take up more than one-fifth of the projected $200 million salary cap for 2020. Despite that, the Seahawks are among teams with the most available cap dollars, and can free up more with veteran cuts such as Ed Dickson ($3.4 million savings). The Seahawks do have 19 UFAs and four RFAs, so they have lots of spots to fill. Already having the NFL's highest-paid player (Wilson) and highest-paid inside linebacker (Wagner) could deter the Seahawks from making Jadeveon Clowney one of the league's richest defenders lest their roster become too top-heavy. -- Brady Henderson

Cincinnati Bengals

Overall cap space: $44,704,357

Offense: $90,836,919

Defense: $66,809,341

Special teams: $6,560,000

Analysis: More than 55% of the Bengals' 2020 cap is allotted to the offense. However, two of the top salaries, quarterback Andy Dalton ($17.7 million) and offensive tackle Cordy Glenn ($9.5 million), could fall off the books this offseason. The Bengals should have space to franchise tag receiver A.J. Green, give running back Joe Mixon an extension and be aggressive in free agency. -- Ben Baby

Philadelphia Eagles

Overall cap space: $40,220,929

Offense: $104,669,161

Defense: $66,569,571

Special teams: $3,566,500

Analysis: More than a third of the money on defense is committed to Fletcher Cox, whose cap number balloons from $11.9 million to $22.8 million this season. 65% of the resources on defense are poured into defensive line -- proof they prioritize building their team from the inside-out. The Eagles illustrate that you don't need to invest big dollars at running back in order to get production. The trio of Miles Sanders, Boston Scott and Elijah Holyfield cost $2.4 million total against the cap. That'll help provide the freedom to beef up other areas of need this offseason, namely in the defensive secondary. -- Tim McManus

Arizona Cardinals

Overall cap space: $39,454,088

Offense: $79,270,739

Defense: $76,213,669

Special teams: $3,573,750

Analysis: There's no surprise that nearly half of the Cardinals' salary cap has been allocated to their offense since they committed to improving that side of the ball after the 2018 season. Only five players -- quarterback Kyler Murray, running back David Johnson, receiver Larry Fitzgerald, tackle D.J. Humphries and guard Justin Pugh -- account for 72.5% of the offense's total salary-cap allocation. The Cardinals will enter free agency with close to $40 million in cap space, giving them some flexibility to add a high-dollar free agent at positions of need. -- Josh Weinfuss

Baltimore Ravens

Overall cap space: $37,779,191

Offense: $65,447,663

Defense: $81,701,529

Special teams: $9,590,000

Analysis: One quarter of the Ravens' salary cap is devoted to the secondary, including a NFL-high $35.8 million to cornerbacks. The biggest cap hit on offense is left tackle Ronnie Stanley ($12.8 million), who is the only offensive player who ranks among the team's six highest cap figures. The Ravens get the benefit of having a quarterback on a rookie deal in Lamar Jackson. His $2.5 million cap hit ranks 31st among quarterbacks. Look for Baltimore to invest at linebacker and wide receiver this offseason. The Ravens rank in the bottom six in cap allocations at those positions. -- Jamison Hensley

New England Patriots

Overall cap space: $35,110,496

Offense: $69,269,276

Defense: $79,412,617

Special teams: $6,535,020

Analysis: This doesn't account for Tom Brady, who is the big story of the offseason across the NFL. If Brady isn't back in New England, the team will absorb a dead cap charge of $13.5 million for him. If he is back, the dead cap charge reduces to $6.75 million. So any discussion of the Patriots' cap situation starts there, as Brady is the first domino to fall. The club has other big free agents such as safety Devin McCourty, who are next in line. -- Mike Reiss

Carolina Panthers

Overall cap space: $33,554,878

Offense: $73,860,153

Defense: $79,110,996

Special teams: $9,224,000

Analysis: The Panthers are about $10 million below the league average in cap space, and in a rebuilding mode they need much more to overhaul the roster under first-year coach Matt Rhule. They are expected to clear another $9.8 million by not exercising the option on defensive tackle Dontari Poe. They could add more room by redoing the deal of defensive tackle Kawann Short, scheduled to count $19.4 million this season. And then there's quarterback Cam Newton, rehabbing from Lisfranc surgery. They could clear another $19.1 million by trading or releasing him if this is a complete rebuild. -- David Newton

Chicago Bears

Overall cap space: $23,810,569

Offense: $85,361,156

Defense: $97,585,370

Special teams: $2,510,000

Analysis: The Bears opened up additional cap space by recently releasing veteran receiver Taylor Gabriel and cornerback Prince Amukamara, but Chicago ranks in the lower portion of the league in terms of overall cap space. The majority of Chicago's salary cap is allocated to its defense, where linebacker Khalil Mack carries a cap number of $26.6 million. Leonard Floyd's fifth-year option is scheduled to count $13.222 million against the cap, but the Bears would prefer to reduce that number. On offense, receiver Allen Robinson has the largest cap number at $15 million. -- Jeff Dickerson

Jacksonville Jaguars

Overall cap space: $21,312,477

Offense: $93,986,197

Defense: $82,163,801

Special teams: $5,897,906

Analysis: The Jaguars will clear an additional $11.5 million when the A.J. Bouye trade to Denver becomes official on Wednesday and they'll gain an additional $5.25 million by cutting receiver Marqise Lee (a move that's expected over the next week). That leaves the Jaguars with plenty of space if they want to go after a big-money free agent (tight end Austin Hooper, for example) and/or to accommodate defensive end Yannick Ngakoue on the franchise tag (approximately $19 million). There are reports that the team is shopping quarterback Nick Foles ($22.125 million) and defensive end Calais Campbell ($17.5 million), who have the two highest cap figures in 2020, but keeping Campbell makes more sense because of the uncertainty surrounding Ngakoue. -- Michael DiRocco

Green Bay Packers

Overall cap space: $20,109,960

Offense: $106,458,619

Defense: $74,925,326

Special teams: $5,393,723

Analysis: The Packers will pick up an additional $8 million in cap space when they release tight end Jimmy Graham, who is entering the final year of a three-year, $30 million deal that turned out to be a mistake. They won't have the kind of space to replicate the free-agent spending spree they made last offseason but still should be able to add a player or two while also re-signing some of their own, which they already started with kicker Mason Crosby. -- Rob Demovsky

San Francisco 49ers

Overall cap space: $14,204,195

Offense: $99,262,308

Defense: $91,998,316

Special teams: $6,851,018

Analysis: For the first time under coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch, the 49ers are tight against the cap and have some difficult maneuvering to do to keep the NFC champions together. The good news is they have many young players -- tight end George Kittle, defensive tackle DeForest Buckner and defensive end Arik Armstead -- who are worth giving big contracts. The bad news is they won't be able to keep everyone. There are still some ways the Niners can create cap room and they likely will. But don't be surprised to see them depart, at least briefly, from their preferred method of front-loading contracts as a way to make the pieces fit. -- Nick Wagoner

Los Angeles Rams

Overall cap space: $14,096,436

Offense: $113,286,946

Defense: $76,614,758

Special teams: $5,706,444

Analysis: More than 17% of the Rams' 2020 salary cap will be allocated to quarterback Jared Goff, who will account for more than $36 million (highest salary-cap number in the NFL). A restructuring of Goff's contract remains in play and could provide some relief given the Rams are scheduled to allocate a league-high $108.75 million in cap charges to their five highest-paid players. The Rams' cap situation could prevent them from returning several key starters who are unrestricted free agents, including left tackle Andrew Whitworth, defensive lineman Michael Brockers, pass-rusher Dante Fowler, linebacker Cory Littleton and kicker Greg Zuerlein. -- Lindsey Thiry

Kansas City Chiefs

Overall cap space: $13,215,224

Offense: $112,514,698

Defense: $84,143,670

Special teams: $6,815,000

Analysis: The Chiefs can fit the franchise tag for defensive tackle Chris Jones under their cap and have about $1 million to spare. From there, they'll have to trim by restructuring contracts or releasing or trading players. The most obvious candidate is receiver Sammy Watkins. GM Brett Veach indicated recently the Chiefs likely would be unable to keep Watkins under his current deal, which costs the team $21 million against the cap. Once that's resolved, the Chiefs can begin to move on to other plans. -- Adam Teicher

New Orleans Saints

Overall cap space: $5,776,129

Offense: $82,347,501

Defense: $83,529,208

Special teams: $8,500,000

Analysis: This is going to be a tight squeeze, as always, for the Saints since they still have to pay free-agent quarterbacks Drew Brees and Taysom Hill among others. And they're going to need to save room for megadeals in the near future with running back Alvin Kamara (a possible contract holdout this summer), right tackle Ryan Ramczyk and cornerback Marshon Lattimore. But the Saints should be able to find a way through their usual creative bookkeeping, pushing cap costs to future years. They have several players that could be released or restructured for cap purposes. And the cap should keep growing once a new CBA gets finalized. -- Mike Triplett

Atlanta Falcons

Overall cap space: $3,982,178

Offense: $122,193,431

Defense: $71,585,600

Special teams: $3,060,000

Analysis: Though the Falcons have very little space now, GM Thomas Dimitroff insists the team is not in "salary-cap hell'' as perceived. The Falcons already restructured the deals of quarterback Matt Ryan and defensive tackle Grady Jarrett for more wiggle room. But with the contracts of the Falcons' top eight eating up $118,459,868 in cap space, expect more restructuring or releases in order to free up space to pursue pass-rush help. -- Vaughn McClure

Pittsburgh Steelers

Overall cap space: $1,781,333

Offense: $100,852,517

Defense: $97,778,915

Special teams: $5,750,000

Analysis: Nearly half of the Steelers' salary cap is tied up in the offense, including $33.5 million in Ben Roethlisberger's contract -- accounting for 16.39% of the total cap. The next-largest salary on the team is defensive end Stephon Tuitt at $14.9 million, or 7.31% of Pittsburgh's cap. With so little cap space, the Steelers will be faced with difficult decisions on some veterans such as guard Ramon Foster, tight end Vance McDonald and linebacker Mark Barron if they want to retain and/or extend top defensive talent such as linebackers Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt along with signing their draft class. -- Brooke Pryor

Minnesota Vikings

Overall cap space: $1,504,204

Offense: $105,598,697

Defense: $90,269,813

Special teams: $603,644

Analysis: Kirk Cousins' $31 million cap hit accounts for nearly 16% of the Vikings' total cap. It's in Minnesota's best interest to work out an extension with Cousins that would reduce his number and create space so the Vikings can re-sign their own free agents (safety Anthony Harris and cornerbacks Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander will all have considerable price tags) or go after others, such as finding offensive line help on the open market. -- Courtney Cronin