HomeFootball DirtCap's historic rise to $255m: A tale of 6 winners and 2...

Cap’s historic rise to $255m: A tale of 6 winners and 2 losers

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The NFL salary cap is on the rise. This is not surprising as it happens annually. However, the 2024 NFL salary cap is increasing by over 13 percent, which is unprecedented. With a surge in revenue, teams will have more funds to allocate towards player contracts than ever before. Initial estimates placed the 2024 cap at around $242 million, but it has now shot up to $255.4 million. This significant jump means that free agency will likely be even more competitive. The salary cap increment is detailed in a league memo shared by Jourdan Rodrigue on February 23, 2024.

This spending boom would seem like a bubble if the NFL was not constantly expanding. Teams will have a considerable amount of money to spend, with the belief that large salaries will appear proportionally smaller as the cap continues to grow. Despite the inflated cap for 2024, the league’s business operations will remain unchanged. It will greatly benefit players entering the free-agent market in 2024, except perhaps for running backs who may still be undervalued.

Players entering free agency in 2024 are poised to see a significant boost in their contract value. Record-breaking contracts that were anticipated against a $242 million cap will now become standard. For instance, Nick Bosa, the highest-paid edge rusher in the league, earns $34 million annually. Players like Brian Burns and Josh Allen could surpass Bosa, and players like Tee Higgins and Jaylon Johnson now have the leverage to command higher salaries in their respective positions.

Teams that invested in established stars in the past are now reaping the benefits of lower relative costs under the 2024 salary cap. Players like Christian Kirk, Joel Bitonio, and Joe Thuney, who signed significant contracts a few years ago, are now positioned below upcoming free agents in terms of annual salary.

A highlight of the impact of the salary cap increase can be seen in the case of Chris Jones. After taking a risk on himself and delivering stellar performances, Jones is now poised to secure the biggest contract of his career, potentially surpassing Aaron Donald’s record-breaking deal.

With the franchise tag costs trailing behind the generous spending in free agency, more players could opt for holdouts to secure better deals. The rising salaries in 2024 could set the stage for even higher franchise tag costs in 2025, potentially leading to more teams pursuing long-term deals.

Several teams, such as the Bears, Packers, Seahawks, 49ers, and Steelers, faced challenges with the initial salary cap estimates but managed to adjust their spending to comply with the actual 2024 cap limit. The Saints, however, remain significantly over budget despite efforts to restructure contracts and may face difficulties in acquiring marquee free agents due to their financial constraints.

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