#### Just Win Baby

##### Footballguy

Lots of talk about cap space now that we are into the offseason for most teams, so wanted to take a look at functional cap space.

To start, here is what OverTheCap shows as the available cap space for each team:

The number in parentheses above is the number of players under contract for 2021. For teams with 51 or more players under contract, available cap space is based on the top 51 cap hits. However, for teams with fewer than 51 players under contract, it is necessary to add a minimum salary player in each vacant roster spot up to 51 player contracts, to make the comparison valid. The minimum 2021 NFL salary for players with zero accredited seasons is $660K, so that is the figure used for these vacant roster spots. This is called effective space, shown here:

For some reason, the NFL chooses to track the top 51 contracts for cap purposes in the offseason, but the in season roster size is 53, and all 53 contracts count against the cap in season. Due to this discrepancy, it is necessary to account for two more player contracts in order to talk about cap space relating to the final roster. So at minimum, it is necessary to add a minimum of $1.32M to each team's cap obligations, even if the last two players on the roster are UDFAs.

Those figures above also do not yet account for the PPE. Players who meet the criteria for PPE have their salaries increased as follows:

Every team has a collection of 2021 draft picks. OTC shows these 2021 cap hits for the draft picks of each team:

In some cases, teams have enough players under contract that there aren't enough empty roster spaces for all draft picks to make it without pushing some other players out of the top 53, so it isn't as simple as subtracting these totals from the cap space we started with at the top of the post, since there will be some number of positions offset.

Assuming that every player that is bumped by a draft pick is a veteran with 1 accredited season and playing at the minimum salary, that is a credit of $780K per displaced veteran. This isn't perfect, since teams may keep some of these cheaper players and drop some more expensive players, especially given the dire cap situations for some teams. But it is a reasonable proxy for this exercise. Here are the credits created based on these assumptions:

The current practice squad rules for 2021 allow teams to have 12 practice squad players. In 2020, the NFL increased that to 16 due to COVID, but I will assume that 2021 stays at 12.

Depending on how many accrued seasons a PS player has, he earns either $9,200 or $14K per week. I'm going to assume every team has a full practice squad of players without enough accrued games/seasons to qualify for the higher salary (i.e., all at $9,200 per week). So some teams could spend more if they choose to have veteran PS players.

The new CBA allows 2 PS players to be activated every week, and those players get paid at NFL minimum salary level. I will conservatively assume each team reserves enough cap room to activate 2 players for all 16 games. That means effectively 2 of the 12 PS player slots will cost $630,376 each (16/17ths of NFL 2021 minimum salary of $660K plus $9,200 for the bye week).

Accounting for all of that results in a total cost of $2,824,753 for the practice squad for each team.

Each team will need to reserve some cap space for 2021 in season injury replacements. It would be pretty foolish for a team to reserve less than $2M, and it would typically be a bit higher. I'm going to assume $3M.

Accounting for everything above provides the following rough estimate of functional cap space per team at this point in time:

Now consider that most teams probably want to resign some of their own internal free agents before they even get to external free agency, and it provides some perspective on how much teams will be able to improve by signing external free agents. It's going to be very interesting to see how teams handle this. I suspect some veterans may be forced into earlier retirement than they really want due to the squeeze.

Thoughts?

**Available Cap Space**To start, here is what OverTheCap shows as the available cap space for each team:

- Jaguars (62) - $73,369,558

- Jets (46) - $70,688,706

- Colts (62) - $65,785,217

- Patriots (51) - $58,999,418

- Washington (49) - $43,525,860

- Bengals (40) - $42,082,347

- Dolphins (42) - $32,026,715

- Buccaneers (31) - $30,379,564

- Chargers (38) - $29,103,947

- Ravens (41) - $26,218,951

- Cardinals (33) - $24,814,420

- Browns (47) - $24,631,423

- Cowboys (47) - $22,968,005

- 49ers (37) - $22,625,995

- Broncos (49) - $18,957,991

- Seahawks (34) - $17,578,752

- Panthers (44) - $13,925,770

- Lions (42) - $11,693,910

- Giants (46) - $7,516,150

- Bills (42) - $2,160,069

- Bears (35) - ($89,572)

- Titans (53) - ($4,938,558)

- Raiders (39) - ($7,622,096)

- Vikings (48) - ($9,105,171)

- Chiefs (36) - ($13,627,129)

- Texans (55) - ($17,886,275)

- Steelers (35) - ($21,009,219)

- Rams (45) - ($22,053,472)

- Packers (42) - ($22,220,619)

- Falcons (31) - ($24,394,641)

- Eagles (54) - ($51,663,371)

- Saints (45) - ($95,050,739)

**Effective Cap Space**The number in parentheses above is the number of players under contract for 2021. For teams with 51 or more players under contract, available cap space is based on the top 51 cap hits. However, for teams with fewer than 51 players under contract, it is necessary to add a minimum salary player in each vacant roster spot up to 51 player contracts, to make the comparison valid. The minimum 2021 NFL salary for players with zero accredited seasons is $660K, so that is the figure used for these vacant roster spots. This is called effective space, shown here:

- Jaguars (62) - $73,369,558

- Jets (46) - $67,388,706

- Colts (62) - $65,785,217

- Patriots (51) - $58,999,418

- Washington (49) - $42,205,860

- Bengals (40) - $34,822,347

- Dolphins (42) - $26,086,715

- Browns (47) - $21,991,423

- Chargers (38) - $20,523,947

- Cowboys (47) - $20,328,005

- Ravens (41) - $19,618,951

- Broncos (49) - $17,637,991

- Buccaneers (31) - $17,179,564

- 49ers (37) - $13,385,995

- Cardinals (33) - $12,934,420

- Panthers (44) - $9,305,770

- Seahawks (34) - $6,358,752

- Lions (42) - $5,753,910

- Giants (46) - $4,216,150

- Bills (42) - ($3,779,931)

- Titans (53) - ($4,938,558)

- Bears (35) - ($10,649,572)

- Vikings (48) - ($11,085,171)

- Raiders (39) - ($15,542,096)

- Texans (55) - ($17,886,275)

- Chiefs (36) - ($23,527,129)

- Rams (45) - ($26,013,472)

- Packers (42) - ($28,160,619)

- Steelers (35) - ($31,569,219)

- Falcons (31) - ($37,594,641)

- Eagles (54) - ($51,663,371)

- Saints (45) - ($99,010,739)

**Top 51 vs. 53 man roster**For some reason, the NFL chooses to track the top 51 contracts for cap purposes in the offseason, but the in season roster size is 53, and all 53 contracts count against the cap in season. Due to this discrepancy, it is necessary to account for two more player contracts in order to talk about cap space relating to the final roster. So at minimum, it is necessary to add a minimum of $1.32M to each team's cap obligations, even if the last two players on the roster are UDFAs.

**Proven Performance Escalator (PPE)**Those figures above also do not yet account for the PPE. Players who meet the criteria for PPE have their salaries increased as follows:

- Level One - salary increased to the amount of the original round RFA tender, projected to be $2.24M for 2021

- Level Two - salary increased to the amount of the original round RFA tender (above) + $250K, projected to be $2.49M for 2021

- Level Three - salary increased to the amount of the second round RFA tender, projected to be $3.422M for 2021

- Fred Warner 49ers PPE Level Three

- Bilal Nichols Bears PPE Level One

- James Daniels Bears PPE Level One

- Jessie Bates III Bengals PPE Level Two

- Sam Hubbard Bengals PPE Level One

- Taron Johnson Bills PPE Level One

- Courtland Sutton Broncos PPE Level One

- DaeSean Hamilton Broncos PPE Level One

- Josey Jewell Broncos PPE Level One

- Nick Chubb Browns PPE Level Three

- Ronnie Harrison Browns PPE Level One

- Wyatt Teller Browns PPE Level One

- Alex Cappa Buccaneers PPE Level One

- Carlton Davis Buccaneers PPE Level Two

- Jordan Whitehead Buccaneers PPE Level Two

- Christian Kirk Cardinals PPE Level Two

- Mason Cole Cardinals PPE Level One

- Justin Jones Chargers PPE Level One

- Kyzir White Chargers PPE Level One

- Derrick Nnadi Chiefs PPE Level One

- Braden Smith Colts PPE Level Two

- Darius Leonard Colts PPE Level Three

- Nyheim Hines Colts PPE Level One

- Connor Williams Cowboys PPE Level One

- Dalton Schultz Cowboys PPE Level One

- Michael Gallup Cowboys PPE Level Two

- Durham Smythe Dolphins PPE Level One

- Jerome Baker Dolphins PPE Level Two

- Avonte Maddox Eagles PPE Level One

- Foyesade Oluokun Falcons PPE Level One

- Isaiah Oliver Falcons PPE Level One

- Russell Gage Falcons PPE Level One

- B.J. Hill Giants PPE Level One

- Isaac Yiadom Giants PPE Level One

- Lorenzo Carter Giants PPE Level One

- Will Hernandez Giants PPE Level One

- D.J. Chark Jaguars PPE Level One

- Christopher Herndon IV Jets PPE Level One

- Folorunso Fatukasi Jets PPE Level One

- Tracy Walker Lions PPE Level One

- Tyrell Crosby Lions PPE Level One

- Marquez Valdes-Scantling Packers PPE Level One

- Donte Jackson Panthers PPE Level Two

- Ian Thomas Panthers PPE Level One

- Arden Key Raiders PPE Level One

- Brandon Parker Raiders PPE Level One

- Maurice Hurst Raiders PPE Level One

- Kenny Young Rams PPE Level One

- Sebastian Joseph Rams PPE Level One

- Bradley Bozeman Ravens PPE Level One

- Mark Andrews Ravens PPE Level Three

- Orlando Brown Ravens PPE Level Three

- Tre'Quan Smith Saints PPE Level One

- Tre Flowers Seahawks PPE Level One

- Chukwuma Okorafor Steelers PPE Level One

- Jordan Akins Texans PPE Level One

- Justin Reid Texans PPE Level Two

- Harold Landry Titans PPE Level Two

- Brian O'Neill Vikings PPE Level Two

- 49ers $2,440,000

- Bears $4,496,252

- Bengals $3,767,298

- Bills $2,502,000

- Broncos $7,013,009

- Browns $6,939,215

- Buccaneers $5,482,939

- Cardinals $3,708,153

- Chargers $5,004,000

- Chiefs $2,502,000

- Colts $1,540,000

- Cowboys $7,494,000

- Dolphins $4,072,000

- Eagles $2,502,000

- Falcons $7,313,729

- Giants $10,705,832

- Jaguars $1,289,000

- Jets $5,004,000

- Lions $5,004,000

- Packers $2,502,000

- Panthers $4,072,000

- Raiders $7,387,544

- Rams $5,004,000

- Ravens $7,506,000

- Saints $2,502,000

- Seahawks $2,502,000

- Steelers $2,502,000

- Texans $1,396,000

- Titans $107,000

- Vikings $1,409,094

**Draft Picks**Every team has a collection of 2021 draft picks. OTC shows these 2021 cap hits for the draft picks of each team:

- 49ers (10) - $9,103,755

- Bears (9) - $7,741,796

- Bengals (8) - $9,418,003

- Bills (6) - $5,334,778

- Broncos (9) - $8,911,889

- Browns (9) - $7,839,373

- Buccaneers (8) - $6,948,472

- Cardinals (5) - $5,187,136

- Chargers (9) - $8,400,000

- Chiefs (9) - $7,483,581

- Colts (7) - $6,425,988

- Cowboys (9) - $8,922,518

- Dolphins (9) - $11,962,766

- Eagles (9) - $9,610,446

- Falcons (10) - $11,111,858

- Giants (6) - $6,573,743

- Jaguars (12) - $14,532,726

- Jets (9) - $11,926,274

- Lions (5) - $6,545,193

- Packers (10) - $8,209,943

- Panthers (8) - $8,289,013

- Patriots (10) - $8,967,991

- Raiders (5) - $5,269,376

- Rams (7) - $5,414,350

- Ravens (6) - $5,452,647

- Saints (4) - $4,071,626

- Seahawks (4) - $3,085,093

- Steelers (9) - $7,705,162

- Texans (8) - $5,867,313

- Titans (7) - $6,552,240

- Vikings (11) - $9,513,376

- Washington (8) - $7,321,312

In some cases, teams have enough players under contract that there aren't enough empty roster spaces for all draft picks to make it without pushing some other players out of the top 53, so it isn't as simple as subtracting these totals from the cap space we started with at the top of the post, since there will be some number of positions offset.

Assuming that every player that is bumped by a draft pick is a veteran with 1 accredited season and playing at the minimum salary, that is a credit of $780K per displaced veteran. This isn't perfect, since teams may keep some of these cheaper players and drop some more expensive players, especially given the dire cap situations for some teams. But it is a reasonable proxy for this exercise. Here are the credits created based on these assumptions:

- Broncos - $5,460,000

- Browns - $3,900,000

- Colts - $5,460,000

- Cowboys - $3,900,000

- Eagles - $7,020,000

- Giants - $780,000

- Jaguars - $9,360,000

- Jets - $3,120,000

- Packers - $780,000

- Panthers - $780,000

- Patriots - $7,800,000

- Rams - $780,000

- Texans - $6,240,000

- Titans - $5,460,000

- Vikings - $6,240,000

- Washington - $4,680,000

**Practice Squad**The current practice squad rules for 2021 allow teams to have 12 practice squad players. In 2020, the NFL increased that to 16 due to COVID, but I will assume that 2021 stays at 12.

Depending on how many accrued seasons a PS player has, he earns either $9,200 or $14K per week. I'm going to assume every team has a full practice squad of players without enough accrued games/seasons to qualify for the higher salary (i.e., all at $9,200 per week). So some teams could spend more if they choose to have veteran PS players.

The new CBA allows 2 PS players to be activated every week, and those players get paid at NFL minimum salary level. I will conservatively assume each team reserves enough cap room to activate 2 players for all 16 games. That means effectively 2 of the 12 PS player slots will cost $630,376 each (16/17ths of NFL 2021 minimum salary of $660K plus $9,200 for the bye week).

Accounting for all of that results in a total cost of $2,824,753 for the practice squad for each team.

**2021 Injury Replacements**Each team will need to reserve some cap space for 2021 in season injury replacements. It would be pretty foolish for a team to reserve less than $2M, and it would typically be a bit higher. I'm going to assume $3M.

**Functional Cap Space**Accounting for everything above provides the following rough estimate of functional cap space per team at this point in time:

- Jaguars $61,052,079

- Colts $57,674,476

- Jets $51,437,679

- Patriots $50,686,674

- Washington $32,419,795

- Bengals $18,259,591

- Browns $10,907,297

- Cowboys $8,160,734

- Broncos $7,041,349

- Ravens $7,021,551

- Dolphins $6,979,196

- Chargers $4,979,194

- Buccaneers $3,086,339

- Cardinals $602,531

- 49ers $(2,862,513)

- Seahawks $(3,871,094)

- Panthers $(5,347,996)

- Lions $(7,936,036)

- Giants $(8,722,346)

- Titans $(13,175,551)

- Bills $(16,259,462)

- Vikings $(21,503,300)

- Texans $(24,658,341)

- Bears $(25,536,121)

- Raiders $(27,956,225)

- Rams $(37,792,575)

- Chiefs $(38,155,463)

- Packers $(42,735,315)

- Steelers $(46,419,134)

- Falcons $(55,851,252)

- Eagles $(61,398,570)

- Saints $(110,227,118)

Now consider that most teams probably want to resign some of their own internal free agents before they even get to external free agency, and it provides some perspective on how much teams will be able to improve by signing external free agents. It's going to be very interesting to see how teams handle this. I suspect some veterans may be forced into earlier retirement than they really want due to the squeeze.

Thoughts?

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