NFL Raising Salary Cap Could Benefit Cincinnati Bengals

Jason MarcumCorrespondent IIIFebruary 20, 2014

Dec 29, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals tackle Anthony Collins (73) against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium. Bengals defeated the Ravens 34-17. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals got some great news on Thursday after it was reported that the salary cap for the 2014-15 NFL season would be set at $130 million.

Here is the report from ESPN's Adam Schefter:

The NFL is projected to raise its salary cap to about $130 million, up about 5 percent from $123 million last year, league sources said Thursday.

The $130 million figure is even higher than teams are expecting or had been preparing for and will be welcome news for teams, especially ones like the Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints that are cap-strapped.

That's a big increase from what many projected the cap to be in 2014. Several reports, including this one from Tania Ganguli of ESPN, projected the salary cap to be closer to $126 million, so this is $4 million more than what was expected. 

While the Bengals aren't exactly lacking cap space this offseason, they could give some of their players new contracts that consume a lot of their salary cap.

As of now, Over the Cap projects the Bengals to have about $27 million in available cap space, which gives the Bengals enough room to sign one or two players to big contracts.

Offensive tackle Anthony Collins is set to hit free agency, and re-signing him would be very beneficial to what was the No. 2 offensive line in pass efficiency in both the 2012 and 2013 seasons, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). 

According to Joel Corry of CBS Sports, using the franchise tag on an offensive tackle will cost the Bengals about $11 million, so that could be an option for keeping Collins in Cincinnati. 

As for other Bengals due for big paydays, All-Pro receiver A.J. Green is in the final year of his rookie contract, so he's eligible for a new deal, as is quarterback Andy Dalton.

The Bengals would be smart to try to sign Green this offseason and let Dalton prove in 2014 that he's worth a long-term deal in the 2015 offseason.

Whatever the Bengals decide to do in free agency, having a few extra million dollars to spend will certainly help them accomplish their goals when it comes to re-signing their own players.