The salary cap in 2011 was $120,3750,000, soft cap. Teams had the ability to borrow $3 millino from future caps, so the actual salary cap for the season was $123 million. In 2012, it’ll be somewhere around $121-125 million, and the ability to borrow $2 million from future caps. Lets put the ’12 at an estimated $124 million.
Now before you go over the numbers and go – Damn it! My team is screwed for another year! The numbers represent the guys heading into free agency and supposedly re-signed, so the numbers should be lower pretty soon.
Teams $20 million under the cap
Cinncinati Bengals, $80.6 million. The Bengals actually made the playoffs this season, so there’s plenty to be optimistic about, although last times the future looked real bright it hurled down like a flaming comet on Carson Palmer’s legs.
Tennessee Titans, $92.7 million. They finished 9-7.
Washington Redskins, $94.3 million. Despite Dan Snyder’s reputation, the Redskins have plenty of room to make dumb and expensive moves this offseason again. Finished 5-11.
Kansas City Chiefs, $95.8 million. The Chiefs were really bipolar, but I get the feeling the orginization, despite changing head coaches, is in a good spot. Finished 7-9.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, $98.9 million. The Bucs were hugely disappointing with a 4-12 after a postseason appearance, costing the HC his job.
Atlanta Falcons, $100.2 million. Got into the postseason, again, and have enough room to make a better challenge for the NFC south title this season.
Denver Broncos, $101.3 million. Got into the postseason, and stunned the Steelers before getting crushed by the Patriots. Tebow will be the quarterback, according to the front office, so there’s plenty of money to spend on damage control.
New England Patriots, $101.8 million. Got into another Super Bowl, and have the option to spend big. All you can ask for is a ring.
Chicago Bears, $101.8 million. It all depends on how Cutler gets back from injury, because the Bears were doing pretty good before he fell apart, and the season with it.
San Francisco 49ers, $102.9 million. A scary thought, looking at how good they were in 2011 and so close to making the postseason. Just don’t mess with the chemistry too much.
Cleveland Browns, $103.7 million. Finished 4-12.
The Mid Level Exception
Jacksonville Jaguars, $107.2 million. JDR lost his job, and the city might be losing its team. Finished 5-11.
Buffalo Bills, $108.4 million. Another team that could be playing somewhere else (Canada) pretty soon. Finished 6-10 after a great start.
Seattle Seahawks, $111.7 million. Did what they usually do, just didn’t make the playoffs, finishing with a 7-9.
San Diego Chargers, $111.9 million. Finished 8-8 after really blowing some chances along the season and clearly being the best team in the division, on paper.
New Orleans Saints, $113.3 million. In Drew we trust, but the team has some room to make the right adjustments around him, especially on defense.
Philadelphia Eagles, $113.9 million. THE disappointing team of 2011, that finished 8-8 and should do better next year.
Baltimore Ravens, $115.6 million. Find Flacco better receivers to throw to.
Minnesota Vikings, $116 million. Were simply terrible with 3-13.
Houston Texans, $116.3 million. If Schaub comes back alright, a postseason spot won’t be enough to satisfy the best team in Texas.
Miami Dolphins, $116.6 million. Took a step backwards, in ’11, finishing 6-10.
Indianapolis Colts, $116.7 million. Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. That’s all we’ll hear about.
Green Bay Packers, $118 million. Probably look to work on the defense, and not get a bye week to screw a nearly perfect season.
Arizona Cardinals, $118.7 million. Finished 8-8, and there’s a feeling good times are around the corner once again.
Not Much Wiggle Room, if any
St. Louis Rams, $120.9 million. Finished 2-14.
Detroit Lions, $122.7 million. Made the playoffs for the first time in forever, it’ll be tougher in 2012.
New York Giants, $124.7 million. Worth every penny, as it turned out.
New York Jets, $128 million. Missed out on the playoffs.
Dallas Cowboys, $128.9 million. Same here.
Carolina Panthers, $129.9 million. Have a lot of cutbacks and releasing to do.
Oakland Raiders, $140.8 million. Al Davis’ “heratige”.
Pittsburgh Steelers, $149.8 million.