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Functional 2021 Cap Space per Team (1 Viewer)

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.

Available Cap Space

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

  1. Jaguars (62) - $73,369,558
  2. Jets (46) - $70,688,706
  3. Colts (62) - $65,785,217
  4. Patriots (51) - $58,999,418
  5. Washington (49) - $43,525,860
  6. Bengals (40) - $42,082,347
  7. Dolphins (42) - $32,026,715
  8. Buccaneers (31) - $30,379,564
  9. Chargers (38) - $29,103,947
  10. Ravens (41) - $26,218,951
  11. Cardinals (33) - $24,814,420
  12. Browns (47) - $24,631,423
  13. Cowboys (47) - $22,968,005
  14. 49ers (37) - $22,625,995
  15. Broncos (49) - $18,957,991
  16. Seahawks (34) - $17,578,752
  17. Panthers (44) - $13,925,770
  18. Lions (42) - $11,693,910
  19. Giants (46) - $7,516,150
  20. Bills (42) - $2,160,069
  21. Bears (35) - ($89,572)
  22. Titans (53) - ($4,938,558)
  23. Raiders (39) - ($7,622,096)
  24. Vikings (48) - ($9,105,171)
  25. Chiefs (36) - ($13,627,129)
  26. Texans (55) - ($17,886,275)
  27. Steelers (35) - ($21,009,219)
  28. Rams (45) - ($22,053,472)
  29. Packers (42) - ($22,220,619)
  30. Falcons (31) - ($24,394,641)
  31. Eagles (54) - ($51,663,371)
  32. Saints (45) - ($95,050,739)
Those figures above assume the cap is $176M and accounts for 2020 carryover, active cap spending (i.e., 2021 cap hits of current contracts), 2021 dead cap money, and any other adjustments (e.g., from 2020 incentives). Those numbers cited above are what people frequently reference when talking about available cap space. But that is not true functional cap space.

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:

  1. Jaguars (62) - $73,369,558
  2. Jets (46) - $67,388,706
  3. Colts (62) - $65,785,217
  4. Patriots (51) - $58,999,418
  5. Washington (49) - $42,205,860
  6. Bengals (40) - $34,822,347
  7. Dolphins (42) - $26,086,715
  8. Browns (47) - $21,991,423
  9. Chargers (38) - $20,523,947
  10. Cowboys (47) - $20,328,005
  11. Ravens (41) - $19,618,951
  12. Broncos (49) - $17,637,991
  13. Buccaneers (31) - $17,179,564
  14. 49ers (37) - $13,385,995
  15. Cardinals (33) - $12,934,420
  16. Panthers (44) - $9,305,770
  17. Seahawks (34) - $6,358,752
  18. Lions (42) - $5,753,910
  19. Giants (46) - $4,216,150
  20. Bills (42) - ($3,779,931)
  21. Titans (53) - ($4,938,558)
  22. Bears (35) - ($10,649,572)
  23. Vikings (48) - ($11,085,171)
  24. Raiders (39) - ($15,542,096)
  25. Texans (55) - ($17,886,275)
  26. Chiefs (36) - ($23,527,129)
  27. Rams (45) - ($26,013,472)
  28. Packers (42) - ($28,160,619)
  29. Steelers (35) - ($31,569,219)
  30. Falcons (31) - ($37,594,641)
  31. Eagles (54) - ($51,663,371)
  32. 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
OTC shows these players as having earned PPE raises:

  1. Fred Warner    49ers    PPE Level Three
  2. Bilal Nichols    Bears    PPE Level One
  3. James Daniels    Bears    PPE Level One
  4. Jessie Bates III    Bengals    PPE Level Two
  5. Sam Hubbard    Bengals    PPE Level One
  6. Taron Johnson    Bills    PPE Level One
  7. Courtland Sutton    Broncos    PPE Level One
  8. DaeSean Hamilton    Broncos    PPE Level One
  9. Josey Jewell    Broncos    PPE Level One
  10. Nick Chubb    Browns    PPE Level Three
  11. Ronnie Harrison    Browns    PPE Level One
  12. Wyatt Teller    Browns    PPE Level One
  13. Alex Cappa    Buccaneers    PPE Level One
  14. Carlton Davis    Buccaneers    PPE Level Two
  15. Jordan Whitehead    Buccaneers    PPE Level Two
  16. Christian Kirk    Cardinals    PPE Level Two
  17. Mason Cole    Cardinals    PPE Level One
  18. Justin Jones    Chargers    PPE Level One
  19. Kyzir White    Chargers    PPE Level One
  20. Derrick Nnadi    Chiefs    PPE Level One
  21. Braden Smith    Colts    PPE Level Two
  22. Darius Leonard    Colts    PPE Level Three
  23. Nyheim Hines    Colts    PPE Level One
  24. Connor Williams    Cowboys    PPE Level One
  25. Dalton Schultz    Cowboys    PPE Level One
  26. Michael Gallup    Cowboys    PPE Level Two
  27. Durham Smythe    Dolphins    PPE Level One
  28. Jerome Baker    Dolphins    PPE Level Two
  29. Avonte Maddox    Eagles    PPE Level One
  30. Foyesade Oluokun    Falcons    PPE Level One
  31. Isaiah Oliver    Falcons    PPE Level One
  32. Russell Gage    Falcons    PPE Level One
  33. B.J. Hill    Giants    PPE Level One
  34. Isaac Yiadom    Giants    PPE Level One
  35. Lorenzo Carter    Giants    PPE Level One
  36. Will Hernandez    Giants    PPE Level One
  37. D.J. Chark    Jaguars    PPE Level One
  38. Christopher Herndon IV    Jets    PPE Level One
  39. Folorunso Fatukasi    Jets    PPE Level One
  40. Tracy Walker    Lions    PPE Level One
  41. Tyrell Crosby    Lions    PPE Level One
  42. Marquez Valdes-Scantling    Packers    PPE Level One
  43. Donte Jackson    Panthers    PPE Level Two
  44. Ian Thomas    Panthers    PPE Level One
  45. Arden Key    Raiders    PPE Level One
  46. Brandon Parker    Raiders    PPE Level One
  47. Maurice Hurst    Raiders    PPE Level One
  48. Kenny Young    Rams    PPE Level One
  49. Sebastian Joseph    Rams    PPE Level One
  50. Bradley Bozeman    Ravens    PPE Level One
  51. Mark Andrews    Ravens    PPE Level Three
  52. Orlando Brown    Ravens    PPE Level Three
  53. Tre'Quan Smith    Saints    PPE Level One
  54. Tre Flowers    Seahawks    PPE Level One
  55. Chukwuma Okorafor    Steelers    PPE Level One
  56. Jordan Akins    Texans    PPE Level One
  57. Justin Reid    Texans    PPE Level Two
  58. Harold Landry    Titans    PPE Level Two
  59. Brian O'Neill    Vikings    PPE Level Two
Assuming these players make their respective teams' final rosters, this results in the following additional 2021 cap hits per team:

  • 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
Obviously, picks will be traded, but that is as of today, accounting for all draft pick trades to date as well as supplemental draft picks. In order for this full cap hit to hit each team would obviously require every draft pick to make the final roster, which won't happen for every team. Still, it seems like a reasonable proxy to assume these picks make the final rosters, especially since the 5th to 7th round picks will actually have lower cap hits than most veterans, and so many teams are in cap trouble.

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:

  1. Jaguars     $61,052,079 
  2. Colts     $57,674,476 
  3. Jets     $51,437,679 
  4. Patriots     $50,686,674 
  5. Washington     $32,419,795 
  6. Bengals     $18,259,591 
  7. Browns     $10,907,297 
  8. Cowboys     $8,160,734 
  9. Broncos     $7,041,349 
  10. Ravens     $7,021,551 
  11. Dolphins     $6,979,196 
  12. Chargers     $4,979,194 
  13. Buccaneers     $3,086,339 
  14. Cardinals     $602,531 
  15. 49ers     $(2,862,513)
  16. Seahawks     $(3,871,094)
  17. Panthers     $(5,347,996)
  18. Lions     $(7,936,036)
  19. Giants     $(8,722,346)
  20. Titans     $(13,175,551)
  21. Bills     $(16,259,462)
  22. Vikings     $(21,503,300)
  23. Texans     $(24,658,341)
  24. Bears     $(25,536,121)
  25. Raiders     $(27,956,225)
  26. Rams     $(37,792,575)
  27. Chiefs     $(38,155,463)
  28. Packers     $(42,735,315)
  29. Steelers     $(46,419,134)
  30. Falcons     $(55,851,252)
  31. Eagles     $(61,398,570)
  32. Saints     $(110,227,118)
There are a number of assumptions built in here, as I have laid out. And, of course, teams will end up releasing a number of players under contract and restructuring contracts for others, which will change things. But IMO this is a more reasonable way to look at functional cap space today than simply going off the available cap space, which is how a lot of media report on it.

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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Alex P Keaton

Footballguy
Interesting.  But not super helpful.  It doesn’t include impact of veterans who are likely to be cut for cap savings.  I read a lot about the Packers, for example, and have yet to read a single analysis that suggests the Packers will be $42M short of cap space.  

 

Just Win Baby

Footballguy
Interesting.  But not super helpful.  It doesn’t include impact of veterans who are likely to be cut for cap savings.  I read a lot about the Packers, for example, and have yet to read a single analysis that suggests the Packers will be $42M short of cap space.  
Understand. Obviously, they won't be short. They will release players and restructure contracts to the extent necessary to get to the cap. This just shows that they need to clear closer to $42M, not $22M, as is the more widely reported "available cap space" figure.

I follow the Chargers and Colts closely and the Seahawks casually. No one who writes about the Chargers is saying they have about $5M to spend... they are saying they have ~$30M. I suspect the truth lies somewhere in the middle due to some of the assumptions I made, but I think it is closer to $5M than $30M.

Many teams might find themselves with a much higher percentage of rookies and minimum salary players in 2021 than usual to get to the cap.

 

Andy Dufresne

Footballguy
Interesting.  But not super helpful.  It doesn’t include impact of veterans who are likely to be cut for cap savings.  I read a lot about the Packers, for example, and have yet to read a single analysis that suggests the Packers will be $42M short of cap space.  
That's kind of the point, I think.

There will be many surprise cuts this year (more than usual) as teams get under the cap.

 

Alex P Keaton

Footballguy
That's kind of the point, I think.

There will be many surprise cuts this year (more than usual) as teams get under the cap.
I’m more interested in seeing likely cap space post-veteran cuts.  That is far more valuable to look at.  That said, appreciate the OP for what it is.

 

Just Win Baby

Footballguy
Alex P Keaton said:
I’m more interested in seeing likely cap space post-veteran cuts.  That is far more valuable to look at.  That said, appreciate the OP for what it is.
I don't disagree. This is just the first step. We won't likely know about veteran cuts until closer to the start of free agency. For anyone who is well informed about potential veteran cuts for their teams, this provides a projection to adjust based on those likely cuts (and restructures, where applicable).

 
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Just Win Baby

Footballguy
I think it would be great if :homer:  could chime in with informed speculation about their teams and what they could do. I'd be really interested to see someone break it down for the teams with the 7 largest cap deficits, since by this methodology, they are all at $37M over right now. That would help to show what useful veterans might hit the market.

 

Just Win Baby

Footballguy
I will start with the Chargers:

  • Only 38 players under contract right now
  • 9 draft picks, and I think every draft pick since 2016 has made the opening day roster except 2, both of whom were injured; so I think we can count all of these rookies in
  • Key/notable free agents, along with my assumptions about them:

    TE Henry - would be hard to replace effectively, at a time when Herbert is the centerpiece of the team, so I assume they will re-sign him
  • OL - only 4 players under contract for 2021 and was already one of the worst in the league; must sign at least 4 veteran OL, whether internal or external free agents

    C Pouncey - gone
  • C/G Feeney - probably re-signed since GM Telesco stayed, but could be influenced by new coaching staff
  • G Lamp - probably re-signed since GM Telesco stayed, but could be influenced by new coaching staff
  • T Tevi - probably re-signed since GM Telesco stayed, but could be influenced by new coaching staff

[*]Edge Ingram - gone

[*]LB Perryman - should be gone, but GM Telesco has given him 2 contracts despite his limitations; cap may force his release (which is a good thing IMO)

[*]CB Davis - probably re-signed unless another team bids him up too high, but could be influenced by new coaching staff

[*]S Jenkins - probably re-signed unless another team bids him up too high, but could be influenced by new coaching staff

[*]PK Badgley - should be gone after struggles in 2020, but anticipate a veteran PK replacement, so this won't be a minimum salary position

[*]P Long - probably re-signed cheap


Already, it should be evident that it will be tough for the Chargers to be a big player in the veteran free agent market. I just identified at least 7 positions they need to address with veterans not under contract, not including PK and P, in case they decide to go with rookies there.

So how could they clear more space?

  • Releasing G Turner would clear $11.5M in cap space; this should be a nobrainer after his PFF grade ranked #105 out of 107 graded guards with at least 100 snaps in 2020
  • The team picked up the 5th year option on Mike Williams last offseason, and he is set to count $15.7M against the 2021 cap; he is not close to being worth that

    The team could rescind his option and let him walk; if his market is lukewarm, he could come back for less

    They could also rescind his option and apply the transition tag to try to force his return for less

[*]The team could try to sign him to a multi-year contract at a better value, lowering his 2021 cap hit in the process


[*]Releasing CB Hayward would clear $9.75M in 2021 cap space

  • His play dropped off significantly in 2020, so this decision will depend on whether or not the team attributes it to injuries or decline... tough call, since it's not easy to replace a #1 corner
  • Alternatively, could extend his contract by 1-2 years on a team friendly deal, lowering his 2021 cap hit in the process

I assume the new coaching staff will heavily influence all of this. My guess is Turner is gone, Hayward stays without an extension, and Williams is back for less. That should clear at least $15M for 2021. Still, signing the 7 veteran free agents mentioned above won't be easy to do with the amount of cap space they will have even after these moves.

The Chargers are supposedly in better shape for 2021 than most teams, so if they will be challenged, it can only be harder for many other teams in worse shape right now.

 

cheese

Footballguy
There are a lot of smaller moves that can be made, but for my team (Bengals) the big decision will be Geno Atkins. 
 

If they cut Atkins, they will save 9.5m to the cap this year 2021 and 13.5m to the cap next year 2022. That would at least put them a player financially for the top offensive lineman UFAs. Whether any of those guys actually want to play in Cincy regardless of money is a different discussion. 
 

Atkins has been an amazing Bengal and probably can still be productive somewhere next year. But he finally missed some games and got caught up a little bit in the drama this year between his buddy Dunlap and the coaching staff. End of the day, I think he will go and the Bengals will boost to near the top of available cap on just one move. 
 

ETA: The flip side is they do have some UFAs they will at least try to bring back which aren’t mentioned here. William Jackson will test the market, but seems like a decent bet to come back if the money is right. Carl Lawson will get an offer, but he broke out at the right time (for him) and I won’t be surprised if at least one other team gives him a huge offer and surprises people what he costs. He could possibly return though and cost real money. 

 
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MAC_32

Footballguy
I’m more interested in seeing likely cap space post-veteran cuts.  That is far more valuable to look at.  That said, appreciate the OP for what it is.
I'll do the Browns separately, but whenever an Eagle gets to themselves if you aren't prepared for ugly it'd be best to do so before diving in. They have a pile of big contracts, most are on the wrong side of 30, they all carry a lot of dead money (several with dead money > cap #), and most of them are under contract beyond 2021.

 
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MAC_32

Footballguy
Cleveland Browns

UFA's - Rashard Higgins, Larry Ogunjobi, Olivier Vernon, BJ Goodson, Malcolm Smith, Kevin Johnson, Terrance Mitchell, Karl Joseph, Andrew Sendejo

Draft picks - 1, 2, two 3's, two 4's

Functional cap space - $11m

QB - I am sure there will be conversations with Mayfield ($10.6m) about an extension, but I suspect he will decline and bet on himself then chase a bigger extension after 21 so they'll just exercise his 5th year option. Keenum is under contract for 2 more years.

RB - Hunt was extended through 22 and Chubb is a UFA after 21.I think there will be other priorities, but if there is going to be a Chubb extension (I think he walks after 21) it'll be now.

TE - I expect extension talks with Njoku ($6m), but no clue if they go anywhere. Regardless, he's here for another year with Hooper and Harrison Bryant.

OL - I expect a Wyatt Teller ($920K, UFA after 21) extension to be a priority. The rest of the starting OL is set with Hubbard, Forbes, and Harris rounding out depth.

WR - This position is going to be interesting. DPJ is the only certainty to return. I think Beckham ($15.75m, $0 dead if cut) is back, but potentially on a re-worked deal (no gtd money beyond this year). I think Landry ($14.8m, $3m dead if cut) depends on if he's willing to re-negotiate his deal. He's under contract through '22 with minimal guaranteed money, so would he be receptive to more guaranteed dollars at a lower #? If no then I think the team re-up's Higgins and moves on from Landry. If Landry returns then Higgins goes elsewhere. I expect this position to be a priority in the draft (probably round 2), they'll also bring in a cheap wave 2 free agent that offers a different skillset than Landry/Higgins, and the means to create additional funding to improve other components of the roster.

DT - I'd love to see Ogunjobi back, but I don't think the finances work unless the team moves on from Sheldon Richardson ($13.7m, $1.7m dead if cut - UFA after 21). I think a more likely scenario is the team extends Richardson - reducing his cap hit this year. Andrew Billings opted out of 20, so he's the other starter in 21 with second year pro Jordan Elliott rotating. 

DE - Priority #1 in March. Adrian Clayborn is adequate veteran depth, but he's not a starter opposite Garrett. I think they will add a developmental bullet in the draft, but a top 50 pick would surprise me.

LB - Browns fans want this to be a priority, but unless an opportunity for a rover surfaces I think they will be disappointed. Jacob Phillips is plan A with Takitaki in a situational role. Mack Wilson is under contract, but I think the team hopes to move on from him by Sep 1. I'm sure they'd be receptive to Goodson a/o M Smith returning if they'll agree to the Browns price, but if not then they'll pursue other veteran 1 year stop gaps and add a mid round LB like last year (Phillips).

S - Delpit at free, Ronnie Harrison at strong, but with both Joseph and Sendejo out and their desire for 3 safety alignments a cheap veteran will be added. Re-upping Joseph would be the easiest route, but if the Browns get priced out then look elsewhere. 

CB - Timing is right to pursue a Ward extension, but I expect this to play out similar as Mayfield and the 5th year option is the desired route. Beyond him, this is priority #2 this offseason. It'd be nice to have a healthy Greedy Williams, but one can't be expected. MJ Stewart has earned a spot on next year's team, but ideally not in the starting lineup. I expect a slot corner in March and another one to be a priority in the draft (probably round 1). 

FB/P/LS - under contract, need a K

Draft priorities - CB, WR, DE, LB/S, DT, RB in that order.

This team is in great shape to make a super bowl run in 21, but I don't expect this FO to go all in with that pursuit. They'll retain their own, not pay for depth, trade back and into 22, but be assertive in addressing starting lineup priorities.

 

Buckna

RMT Beta Tester
Texans will likely trade or restructure Watt (17.5M) and Cooks (12M). Assuming Watt is traded and Cooks restructured that gets the Texans down close to even. After that it seems likely they will Restructure or cut David J (6M savings if cut) & Duke J (6M) and either draft (extra 4th rounder) or sign someone cheaper. ILB’er Bernardrick McKinney is a likely cut or restructure as well after he went down during the season and Tyrell Adams filled in fine for him (7M savings.) Trading Watson would result in an extra $5.4M accelerated cap hit plus any player they take on like Tua for example ($2M.)

The following could all be on the chopping block depending on what the new GM and new coach want to do; savings below:

Starting C - Martin - overpaid - 6.25M

DE - Brandon Dunn - overpaid - 3.25M

Starting G - Fulton - sucks - 3M

TE - Fells - overpaid - 2.3M

Swing G - Kelemete - sucks- 1.75M

TE - Akins - never put it together - 900k

The following can’t be cut for cap savings in 2021, so Texans may try to trade their crap BOB contracts with guaranteed salary away (if there are any takers); otherwise they will be cut in 2022 no doubt:

OLB - Mercilus - overpaid - 9M savings

WR - Cobb - :yucky:  - 6.625M savings

SS - Murray - sucks - 3.75M savings

FA’s: seem unlikely to be players at all this year except on the low-end But a new GM and new coach, who knows for sure? WR Fuller is the only big name seems possible he walks for big money to another team unless the PED suspension really hurts his market. They have some depth guys that would be nice to have back. Depending on how many cuts there are there could be a potential splash signing at a key need spot like guard or secondary.

Draft priorities: Interior O’line, WR depending on what happens with FA Fuller and Cooks, Defense - pass rush and secondary, possibly QB if Watson is traded

 
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Andy Dufresne

Footballguy
There's no telling what the Vikings will do. They manage the cap better than just about anyone. But it really looks like they have almost no flexibility.

It's blasphemy because he's an all-time great Viking but Harrison Smith seems like a trade/release candidate - he is 32 years old. $10m savings there.

Riley Reiff isn't worth the money either and it looks like they'd save around $11.5m.

Other than that...$2.5m for Shemar Stephen?  

 

cheese

Footballguy
There are a lot of smaller moves that can be made, but for my team (Bengals) the big decision will be Geno Atkins. 
 

If they cut Atkins, they will save 9.5m to the cap this year 2021 and 13.5m to the cap next year 2022. That would at least put them a player financially for the top offensive lineman UFAs. Whether any of those guys actually want to play in Cincy regardless of money is a different discussion. 
 

Atkins has been an amazing Bengal and probably can still be productive somewhere next year. But he finally missed some games and got caught up a little bit in the drama this year between his buddy Dunlap and the coaching staff. End of the day, I think he will go and the Bengals will boost to near the top of available cap on just one move. 
 

ETA: The flip side is they do have some UFAs they will at least try to bring back which aren’t mentioned here. William Jackson will test the market, but seems like a decent bet to come back if the money is right. Carl Lawson will get an offer, but he broke out at the right time (for him) and I won’t be surprised if at least one other team gives him a huge offer and surprises people what he costs. He could possibly return though and cost real money. 
Update. Bengals sign Lawson for 4/50. That probably confirms Geno’s fate and maybe puts us looking at tier2 or tier3 OL through free agency. The good news is, you can probably cross edge rusher completely off the list of needs at this point. 
 

OL of any kind
Linebackers who can cover

The 3rd possible need would be corner depending on what they do with the guys they had last year. If Waynes gets cut and Jackson signs somewhere else, we have more money but probably now have a hole to fill again at CB. 

WR/TE are not needs but in a perfect world, they’d like to be in the discussion for one of the top guys in the draft IF they can fill the other needs in other ways. Linebacker and guard they have shown for 20 years they just don’t care and will put whoever there so they might do it even if those holes remain. Just my own bias, I don’t want a top10 pick on a skill position until we have at least an offensive tackle plan. Last years line was unacceptable. 

 
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