Balancing the salary cap is a complicated process for every NFL team during each year's offseason. Difficult decisions need to be made about the distribution of contracts to build the best team possible while remaining under the salary cap limit. It's a constant juggling act to assign the proper value to each player to maximize the roster's potential.
The 2022 NFL offseason has been filled with significant roster changes among many teams, and the regular season is still nearly five months away. There have been massive contract extensions, blockbuster trades, and notable free-agent signings. After all the activity, here are the five teams with the least remaining cap space currently.
Teams with the least remaining current cap space during the 2022 NFL offseason
#5 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers - $3.95 million
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers entered the 2022 NFL offseason facing a difficult challenge. They had 23 players on their roster pending free agency at the start of the offseason, the most in the entire NFL. They have weathered the storm for the most part, with just four players officially signing with new teams, with Jordan Whitehead being the only departure who played a significant role for the Buccaneers last season.
#4 - Atlanta Falcons - $3.39 million
Dead money is a significant problem for the Atlanta Falcons entering the 2022 NFL season as they continue to attempt to rebuild their roster completely. They currently own more than 62 million dollars in dead cap money, including over 40 million dollars from Matt Ryan and more than 15 million dollars from Julio Jones. Rebuilding can be a long and challenging process, which the Falcons are currently in the middle of.
NFL teams with the least remaining current salary cap space during the 2022 offseason
#3 - New England Patriots - $1.88 million
Bill Belichick has long been known as one of the absolute greatest head coaches in NFL history, but his reputation as a general manager is much more questionable. In a shocking move during the 2022 offseason, he allowed cornerback JC Jackson to leave during the free agency period rather than lock him up with a long-term contract extension.
While the Patriots are somewhat of a difficult salary cap situation, there are always ways to make adjustments to keep a star player. Belichick and the Patriots opted not to do so with Jackson, who has the most interceptions in the NFL over the last two seasons combined.
#2 - Tennessee Titans - $1.78 million
The Tennessee Titans find themselves in a difficult spot right now. Young star wide receiver AJ Brown is entering the final year of his rookie contract and has recently claimed that he won't play this season unless he receives a brand new contract extension.
AJ Brown is a crucial part of their offense, even more so now that they have released Julio Jones. The Titans will likely need to find a way to free up cap space to solve this issue, or they will risk losing one of their best players.
#1 - San Francisco 49ers - $1.55 million
The San Francisco 49ers face a similar situation as the Tennessee Titans with their young superstar wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who is also entering the final year of his rookie contract and is threatening to sit out the year if he doesn't receive an extension. The 49ers have been shopping Jimmy Garoppolo in the trade market, so they may be trying to wait to get his money off the books before extending Samuel.