What does cap space mean in the NFL? All you need to know about teams' spending power
The NFL is not only one of the most profitable sports in the country, but also one of the most profitable industries.
Players are paid well because of the league's high income generation. However, there are laws in place to regulate this money.
The salary cap remains a contentious issue in the NFL, as teams try to determine which players they can afford to keep and which players they may have to release. Because of the previous fiscal year's earnings, the NFL has been looking into how much more they might be able to offer franchises.
When a team's salary cap is subtracted from active cap spending, the remaining funds are known as the NFL cap space. The dead money is then deducted from that sum, leaving you with the team's cap space.
Cap space is the amount still available for inclusion in additional contracts under the salary cap.
The primary purpose of the NFL wage cap is to allow the league to regulate club spending on player wages to minimize investment risk and support the league's creditworthiness.
By imposing the same spending caps on all teams, the cap seeks to maintain a balance of competitiveness within the NFL. Theoretically, this equals competition.
The wage cap regulations are designed to accomplish these goals while still allowing teams enough latitude to organize their spending in clever ways. The hard cap used by the NFL prohibits any team from exceeding the cap threshold for any reason.
A team that exceeds the salary cap is subject to a fine of up to $5 million for each infraction. Draft picks may be completely seized in more extreme situations, and player contracts may be nullified. Also, organizations that exceed the cap are prohibited from adding any new players until they fall back below the cap.
Which teams had the most cap space going into the NFL offseason in 2023?
The NFL increased the 2022 salary cap from $208.2 million to $224.8 million on January 30. This marks another NFL landmark.
The Chicago Bears held the highest salary cap heading into the 2023 free agency period in the entire league. Let's look at the top 10 teams with the largest wage caps going into free agency.
1. Chicago Bears: $98,638,366
2. Atlanta Falcons: $56,399,608
3. Cincinnati Bengals: $44,533,599
4. New York Giants: $44,416,480
5. New England Patriots: $38,052,722
6. Houston Texans: $37,121,466
7. Seattle Seahawks: $31,340,071
8. Baltimore Ravens: $28,763,873
9. Las Vegas Raiders: $18,439,005
10. Detroit Lions: $15,800,000
The New Orleans Saints were $57,384,434 over the cap when they approached free agency in 2023, making them the team with the least salary cap room.