HomeFootball DirtNFL Establishes 2024 Salary Cap at $255.4 Million

NFL Establishes 2024 Salary Cap at $255.4 Million

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Initial salary cap projections pointed to a potential $20MM increase, and a recent report revealed the 2024 NFL spending ceiling could check in higher than expected. Both turned out to be conservative estimates.

The NFL announced Friday the cap will settle at $255.4MM, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reports. That represents a record-setting single-year increase. The 2023 cap came in at $224.8MM, marking a 13.6% spike. This provides teams with more flexibility this year and players with increased opportunities.

[RELATED: 2024 Franchise/Transition Tag Numbers]

Friday’s number shatters the previous single-year record for a cap increase. The previous instance occurred in 2022, when the league’s salary ceiling rose by more than $26MM. That came, however, after only the second-ever cap decrease. After the COVID-19 pandemic — which brought fanless venues or significantly reduced capacities — led to the cap dropping by $16MM from 2021 to ’22, it ballooned by $26MM before returning on its course. Even as the cap had been rising since that one-year reduction, this represents an unexpected boom.

Teams were indeed working with models that settled the 2024 cap between $242-$245MM, ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano notes, making Friday’s final number a significant development as teams make their final preparations for free agency. This will help teams afford some costs they may have previously determined unfeasible while boosting the values of this year’s top free agents. It also introduces another complication for teams negotiating landmark extensions with top talent.

Prior to the pandemic becoming a reality, the CBA negotiations — complete with the expected finalizations of new TV deals soon after — did paint a picture of unprecedented cap growth. A February 2020 report hinted at a monster cap increase by the mid-2020s. While nothing on the $300MM radar has emerged, the 2020 CBA is bringing cap growth that far outpaces the 2011 agreement, which had settled in at approximately $10MM-per-year climbs once growth was restored around the mid-2010s.

The 2021 television deals and YouTube TV’s $2 billion NFL Sunday Ticket agreement, along with gambling partnerships and full repayment of COVID-19-related deferrals, collectively produced this spike. While it was rumored the league sought a more gradual rise, NFL-NFLPA negotiations produced this whopping number.

Prior to the 2020 CBA, the highest single-year cap increase occurred in 2006. That year’s CBA brought an approximately $17MM climb — to $102MM — from 2005. But the 2011 CBA leveled off growth for a stretch, leading to the cap residing between $116MM and $124MM for a five-year period (2008-13). We are in a different era now. The 2014 offseason increased the cap by $10MM from that previous years-long range; we are now more than $120MM beyond that number.

Here are the NFL’s salary caps over the past two CBAs:

  • 2011: $120.4MM
  • 2012: $120.6MM
  • 2013: $123.6MM
  • 2014: $133MM
  • 2015: $143.3MM
  • 2016: $155.3MM
  • 2017: $167MM
  • 2018: $177.2MM
  • 2019: $188.2MM
  • 2020: $198.2MM
  • 2021: $182.5MM
  • 2022: $208.2MM
  • 2023: $224.8MM
  • 2024: $255.4MM

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