2014 NFL Free Agency: A Cap Space Guide for Every Team

Nick Kostos@@thekostosContributor IMarch 1, 2014

2014 NFL Free Agency: A Cap Space Guide for Every Team

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    We're officially in the throes of the NFL's business season, with free agency and the new league year set to kick off March 11.

    Each NFL team has a different salary cap situation, questions to answer and needs to be filled. Trying to determine what each of the 32 clubs will do provides a fascinating exercise.

    The official salary cap number for the 2014 league year will be announced soon, but Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com is reporting the number will be $133 million, a $10 million increase from 2013. That number will add money to the coffers of cap-rich teams like the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars while providing relief to over-the-cap squads like the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers.

    In this column, I provide a salary cap primer for every team and discuss whether or not each club will retain its own big-name free agents or bring in others, along with the needs for each particular franchise.

    As 2014 NFL free agency is nearly upon us, here is a cap space guide for every team.


    *Salary cap information for each team via Spotrac.com.

Arizona Cardinals

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Cap Space: $17.8 million

    General manager Steve Keim, coach Bruce Arians and the Arizona Cardinals don't have a ton of cap space to work with, but they have enough to land what's (rightly) perceived to be their biggest target.

    The NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported this week (h/t Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com) that the Cardinals view Branden Albert as a "high priority," and he should be. Arizona desperately needs a left tackle, and Albert would certainly fill the bill.

    As for their own players, the biggest priority for the Cardinals appears to be linebacker Karlos Dansby, who flourished in 2013 on a one-year deal. But it's unknown if Dansby and the team will reach a deal. Also, ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted that the Cardinals are attempting to bring free-agent linebacker D'Qwell Jackson in for a visit.

    Look for the Cardinals to address their offensive line and linebacking corps in free agency.


Atlanta Falcons

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    Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

    Cap Space: $26.2 million

    Following a bitterly disappointing 4-12 season, there's no question that the Atlanta Falcons need help throughout the roster, but thankfully, they have a little over $26 million to spend.

    The areas in obvious need of upgrading are the offensive line and the entire defense.

    The protection for quarterback Matt Ryan wasn't good enough last season. General manager Thomas Dimitroff already inked free-agent offensive tackle Gabe Carimi to a deal, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him make a run at Kansas City Chiefs free agent tackle Branden Albert.

    The defense needs help on every level, most notably the pass rush. The Falcons only managed 32 sacks last season, tied for 29th in the league. Defensive end Michael Johnson would be a great fit in coordinator Mike Nolan's defense.

Baltimore Ravens

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    Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

    Cap Space: $28.1 million

    The Baltimore Ravens have already made perhaps their most important move of the offseason, with ESPN's Adam Schefter reporting (h/t Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com) that the team reached agreement on a five-year deal with tight end Dennis Pitta. The deal is expected to be worth $32 million.

    With the team's remaining cap space, general manager Ozzie Newsome would surely like to bring back a few more of his own free agents. Left tackle Eugene Monroe is set to hit the market, and the Ravens would be wise to lock him up. Ditto for linebacker Daryl Smith, who flourished last season. The team should let tackle Michael Oher test the market.

    Before the Ravens worry about signing other teams' free agents, they must worry about taking care of their own. Retaining Pitta was a fine start, but Newsome and coach John Harbaugh must keep Monroe in the fold.

Buffalo Bills

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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Cap Space: $25.6 million

    Even though the Buffalo Bills suffered through a 14th straight campaign without making the postseason, there is reason for optimism in Western New York.  The Bills have a talented young nucleus of players and $25 million of cap space to work with. 

    The biggest priority is retaining safety Jairus Byrd, and Bills fans will be enthused to hear that Tim Graham of the Buffalo News has labeled early talks between the two sides as "pleasant." Byrd is one of the best safeties in football, and locking him up to a long-term deal would solidify the team's secondary for years to come.

    With tight end Scott Chandler set to hit the market, the Bills might opt to go elsewhere at the position. Garrett Graham of the Texans could fit the bill.

    Don't be shocked if the team makes a run at a receiver like Hakeem Nicks.

Carolina Panthers

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    Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    Cap Space: $21.2 million

    The Carolina Panthers received a major reprieve when the salary cap was bumped up to $133 million, and that, combined with a few contract restructures, enabled the team to place the franchise tag on defensive end Greg Hardy, per Pro Football Talk.

    Hardy, who amassed 15 sacks last season, would have been one of the most hotly pursued free agents on the market. Retaining him was a wise decision by general manager Dave Gettleman and coach Ron Rivera.

    Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn looms as another free agent the Panthers would like to bring back, and the team has long been searching for a viable second receiver to pair alongside Steve Smith. Hakeem Nicks, who played college football at North Carolina, would certainly fit the bill.

Chicago Bears

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    Rich Schultz/Getty Images

    Cap Space: $8.4 million

    The Chicago Bears are facing significant salary cap constraints, possessing just over $8 million of space. That means general manager Phil Emery will likely have to use the draft to bolster what was the NFL's worst rushing defense in 2013.

    One way for the team to clear money off the books would be to release defensive end Julius Peppers, who carries an $18.1 million cap hit into next season. I predicted this very occurrence a few weeks ago.

    If Peppers is released and Emery has the flexibility to make some moves, look for the team to try and retain defensive tackle Henry Melton. It's unclear if the Bears will have the financial resources to bring back cornerback Charles Tillman.



Cincinnati Bengals

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Cap Space: $30.3 million

    The Cincinnati Bengals are in an enviable position: coming off three consecutive playoff trips and possessing over $30 million in cap space.

    Despite that, it's likely that the team will lose defensive end Michael Johnson. With Greg Hardy hit with the franchise tag by the Panthers (more on that in Carolina's slide), Johnson becomes the top end on the market. And given that the Bengals have paid defensive linemen Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap over the last few seasons, it's tough to imagine Johnson returning.

    Look for the team to try and retain offensive tackle Anthony Collins, who played very well last season.

    As Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com writes, a sizable chunk of the cap space could go toward extensions for receiver A.J. Green and quarterback Andy Dalton.

Cleveland Browns

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    Jason Miller/Getty Images

    Cap Space: $61 million

    The Cleveland Browns are armed with the second-most cap space in the league, with $61 million to lavish on prospective free agents.

    Complicating matters is that two of the team's better players, center Alex Mack and safety T.J. Ward, are both set to hit the market. ESPNCleveland.com's Tony Grossi recently reported that new general manager Ray Farmer has designs on re-signing both players.

    Given the fact that new coach Mike Pettine has a defensive background and that unit is speckled with talent, look for Farmer to try and aggressively upgrade an offense in dire need of playmakers. Receiver Eric Decker and running back Ben Tate loom as potential fits in new coordinator Kyle Shanahan's offense.

Dallas Cowboys

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    Rick Diamond/Getty Images

    Cap Space: -$16.4 million

    The Dallas Cowboys find themselves in the throes of salary cap hell, as they're a league-high $16.4 million over the cap. That brings to mind one of Will Ferrell's greatest lines from Anchorman.

    Before owner Jerry Jones can worry about bringing in any new players, the club must find a way to get under the cap. I wrote a few weeks ago that pass-rushing linebacker DeMarcus Ware looms as a potential candidate for release, as he carries a $16 million cap hit into next season. Look for the team to restructure the contract of quarterback Tony Romo as well, as his cap number for 2014 is currently set at nearly $22 million.

    The team's top two free agents are defensive tackle Jason Hatcher and linebacker Anthony Spencer, and it's unclear if it will be able to keep either player. The 31-year-old Hatcher is looking for a big payday, as Desmond Purnell of the NFL Network tweeted in December, and Spencer won't receive the franchise tag again.

    Dallas' best bet in free agency is to wait for the second wave of players to emerge and fill out its roster from there.

Denver Broncos

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Cap Space: $17.9 million

    Not only did the Denver Broncos get thoroughly trounced in Super Bowl XLVIII, but they have a number of key free agents set to hit the free-agent market. That's called adding insult to injury. 

    Receiver Eric Decker, running back Knowshon Moreno, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and defensive end/linebacker Shaun Phillips are all set to hit the market, and there's no way that general manager John Elway will be able to retain all four with only $17.9 million in cap space. Decker and Moreno will surely receive stronger offers to play elsewhere.

    Retaining Rodgers-Cromartie should be a priority, and Phillips proved to be indispensable last year in filling in for linebacker Von Miller.

    Look for Elway to seek to improve the defense as the team gears up for another Super Bowl run with Peyton Manning under center.

Detroit Lions

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    Cap Space: $10.2 million

    The Detroit Lions have a new coach in Jim Caldwell, but not a ton of cap space to help turn around a team that stumbled down the stretch in 2013 and missed the postseason.

    Tight end Brandon Pettigrew is likely a goner, and the fate of defensive end Willie Young is nebulous. If Pettigrew departs, general manager Martin Mayhew could look to bring in a new tight end, as the team needs a reliable target over the middle of the field for quarterback Matthew Stafford.

    Detroit's money will likely be held up in an extension for defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Suh's cap number is outrageous ($22.4 million), so an extension would help alleviate that issue over a number of years. Speaking at the scouting combine, via Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com, Mayhew said:

    I think this will get done on the eve of free agency or the eve of the start of the new league year, which is when free agency starts. Or some time shortly after the start of the new league year. That will be a good timetable for it. 

    If it doesn't get done, we're fine with that. We can create some space and we have some room under the cap and the cap went up a little bit, as you guys probably heard. There's not going to be any type of setback or cap crunch or that type of thing if we don't get something done with him in the near future. But I do expect something to get done with him.

    Translation: Suh will get his extension, and the Lions will try and make a few lower-level signings after the deal is consummated.


Green Bay Packers

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    Cap Space: $35.1 million

    The Green Bay Packers have one of the most patient and methodical general managers in the NFL in Ted Thompson, but even he might be tempted to spend with $35 million of cap space available.

    As for their own players, cornerback Sam Shields looms as their highest priority. Shields is only 26 years old and already has a number of solid seasons under his belt. Defensive tackle B.J. Raji is unlikely to return after he turned down a contract offer in-season worth $8 million annually, per Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. 

    It's also unclear if the team will bring back receiver James Jones or tight end Jermichael Finley.

    Will this finally be the offseason that Thompson looks to break the bank in free agency, as Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com asks here? That remains to be seen, especially with an extension for receiver Jordy Nelson potentially looming. But if the Packers did choose to spend, they would probably do so on the defensive side of the ball.

Houston Texans

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Cap Space: $9.2 million

    The Houston Texans have a new head coach in Bill O'Brien and possess the No. 1 overall pick in May's draft, but they don't have a ton of cap space to work with.

    The expected releases of quarterback Matt Schaub (savings of $4 million) and tight end Owen Daniels (savings of $4.5 million) will free up some room, but don't expect the club to bring back running back Ben Tate. He's as good as gone. The Texans' backup tight end, Garrett Graham, is also a free agent, and if he signs elsewhere, the team will be without its top two players at the position from 2013.

    The Texans could look to re-sign defensive end Antonio Smith, but much depends on their draft plan. If general manager Rick Smith and O'Brien don't take a quarterback with the first overall pick, perhaps they'd sign a veteran in free agency.

    As is the case with a new coach inheriting an awful team: Look for lots of mid-level signings and roster shuffling as O'Brien attempts to fashion the squad in his image.

Indianapolis Colts

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Cap Space: $40.9 million

    For the second consecutive year, the Indianapolis Colts have a ton of cap space to work with. And they have an aggressive owner in Jim Irsay who will allow his general manager (Ryan Grigson) to spend it.

    Expect the team to do whatever possible to bring back cornerback Vontae Davis and ditto for safety Antoine Bethea. The Colts have the money to do so. Kicker Adam Vinatieri and punter Pat McAfee are both free agents as well, and I'd expect both to return.

    And then the Colts can spend elsewhere. Broncos receiver Eric Decker looms as an intriguing possibility alongside Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton. 

    And how about Bills safety Jairus Byrd? If he does indeed hit the market, look for Grigson to make a run at him. This notion was floated out by Greg A. Bedard of Sports Illustrated and makes a ton of sense.

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Stacy Revere/Getty Images

    Cap Space: $56.1 million

    The Jacksonville Jaguars might have $56 million in cap space, but breaking the bank in free agency isn't general manager David Caldwell's style. He prefers to build through the draft.

    But with that said, it's tough to imagine Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley not spending to improve one of the league's worst 53-man rosters.

    Look for quarterback Chad Henne to be retained and likely serve as the veteran mentor to whichever signal-caller the team selects early on in the draft. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew is set to become a free agent, and offering a 28-year-old back a big-money deal probably isn't something Caldwell is keen on doing.

    The Jaguars desperately need help with their pass rush, so look for the club to go after players like Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, Ravens defensive end Arthur Jones or Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jason Worilds.

Kansas City Chiefs

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    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Cap Space: $9.7 million

    The Kansas City Chiefs underwent massive change in 2013, bringing in a new coach (Andy Reid) and quarterback (Alex Smith). Don't expect that kind of turnover this offseason, especially with under $10 million of cap space to work with.

    It's hard to envision a scenario in which the team retains tackle Branden Albert. Defensive end Tyson Jackson and guard Geoff Schwartz are two of the squad's other important free agents.

    Because of their financial constraints, look for the Chiefs to spend their offseason working on extensions for quarterback Alex Smith and safety Eric Berry and to address their needs (namely wide receiver) in the early rounds of May's draft.

Miami Dolphins

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Cap Space: $39.1 million

    The Miami Dolphins are an organization in flux.

    Owner Stephen Ross hired a new general manager in Dennis Hickey and is currently trying to pilot the club through the Richie Incognito/Jonathan Martin bullying scandal that rocked the NFL world. 

    With nearly $40 million to spend in free agency, it's possible that Ross and Hickey will seek to engage in retail therapy and buy some shiny new toys on the market.

    Cornerback Brent Grimes is the biggest priority, as he sparkled in 2013 on a one-year deal. Given his age (30), the franchise tag makes more sense over a long-term, big-money deal. 

    Fixing the offensive line is also at the top of the list. With Incognito and Martin all but certain to be goners, the Dolphins will have to overhaul the position. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported (h/t Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com) that the club will have interest in Chiefs offensive tackle Branden Albert. Rodger Saffold and Michael Oher are other names to survey at the tackle position, and there are a number of quality guards set to become available as well.

    Bringing back defensive lineman Randy Starks is also a real possibility given the team's cap space.

Minnesota Vikings

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    Cap Space: $35 million

    The Minnesota Vikings have a new head coach in Mike Zimmer and $35 million in cap space to play with.

    The player most linked to the Vikings is Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson, who played under Zimmer when he was the defensive coordinator in Cincinnati. Tom Pelissero of USA Today recently tweeted and connected the dots on this potential marriage.

    If Johnson is brought into the fold, that would likely spell the end of Jared Allen's tenure in Minnesota, especially with fellow defensive end Everson Griffen set to hit the market. The team likely won't keep both, and the younger Griffen is a better bet to stay.

    Signing Johnson and Griffen would be a major boon for Zimmer's defense. After signing receiver Greg Jennings last offseason, don't expect the club to be in on a free-agent receiver this year (Eric Decker). In free agency, the onus will adding players on defense. Expect the team to address its issue at quarterback early in the draft.

New England Patriots

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    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    Cap Space: $12.6 million

    The New England Patriots and coach Bill Belichick are looking to reload after losing in the AFC Championship Game for the second consecutive season.

    Cornerback Aqib Talib is a free agent, and the Patriots would surely love to keep him around. The fit works for both team and player; it's just a matter of making the financials work. 

    Receiver Julian Edelman is also set to hit the market; he was a huge part of the team's offense last year, hauling in 105 receptions.

    While you might look at the team's lack of cap space and wonder how it will sign both players (and more), it has already cut safety Steve Gregory (per Mike Reiss and Field Yates of ESPN.com), saving almost $3 million in space. He likely won't be the only bloodletting that occurs.

    When it comes to the Patriots and free agency, it's all about bringing back Talib and Edelman.



New Orleans Saints

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    Cap Space: $8.1 million

    One domino has already fallen as it concerns the New Orleans Saints' plans in free agency, as the club placed the franchise tag on tight end Jimmy Graham. The move was expected, as there was no way general manager Mickey Loomis was going to let Graham, a veritable superstar, hit the open market.

    The Saints are cap-strapped, and earlier this offseason, they released a number of players to help alleviate their financial issues: defensive end Will Smith, safety Roman Harper and cornerback Jabari Greer. The club also won't re-sign linebacker Jonathan Vilma.

    Center Brian de la Puente will be a free agent, and Loomis would surely like to keep him, but it's unknown if that will happen. Safety Malcolm Jenkins could be a goner, especially with Larry Holder of the Times-Picayune reporting that the club hosted former Lions safety Louis Delmas for a recent visit.

New York Giants

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    Cap Space: $19.2 million

    The New York Giants missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season, and the onus is now on general manager Jerry Reese to fix what was an awful offensive line and fill in holes on a substandard 53-man roster.

    Defensive tackle Linval Joseph is set to hit the market, and Big Blue cannot afford to lose him. He was one of the bright spots on an otherwise atrocious defense in 2013.

    Defensive end Justin Tuck has had a marvelous career on Broadway, helping the team win two Super Bowls, but it's unclear if the Giants will commit to a soon-to-be 31-year-old end. Receiver Hakeem Nicks is also unlikely to return after an awful season.

    Linebacker Jon Beason played very well after being acquired in an early-season trade and wouldn't be expensive to bring back.

    Look for Reese to spend in free agency to improve the offensive line, specially the interior. Center Brian de la Puente of the Saints could be a possibility, and Chiefs guard Geoff Schwartz would look great in blue.

    The Giants could also use a back to pair alongside David Wilson.

New York Jets

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    Cap Space: $26.7 million

    The New York Jets actually enter the offseason with some stability, having retained head coach Rex Ryan. Now it's up to general manager John Idzik to improve one of the league's worst 53-man rosters.

    Right tackle Austin Howard is a free agent, and Idzik should look at bringing him back. Idzik also placed the franchise tag on kicker Nick Folk, per John Breech of CBSSports.com, so he'll be back next year.

    The team is expected to release receiver Santonio Holmes, which would save over $8 million against the cap. That's likely the fate of quarterback Mark Sanchez (remember him?) as well, as there's simply no way Gang Green will carry his $13.1 million cap hit into next season.

    The bloodletting should free up more space for Idzik to spend in free agency, and he must focus on the offense. Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders is an intriguing option, as is Golden Tate of the Seahawks. Expect Idzik to sign multiple receivers.

Oakland Raiders

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    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    Cap Space: $66.3 million

    After successfully navigating through salary cap hell the last two seasons, Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie finally has money to spend, with a $66 million war chest in tow.

    The problem with the Raiders is that $66 million might not even be enough to fix one of the league's worst 53-man rosters.

    McKenzie must start by re-signing left tackle Jared Veldheer and defensive end Lamarr Houston. Both are impact players, and with the money McKenzie has at his disposal, there's no reason to lose either to free agency.

    The club is unlikely to bring back running back Darren McFadden, with McKenzie saying he's likely to test the free-agent market, per Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com

    From there, McKenzie has work to do. The roster has so many holes that the best practice would be to sign a bevy of players as opposed to three or four big-money guys. The offensive line and defense need the most help, and the rest of the offense can be addressed in the draft, specifically the quarterback position.

Philadelphia Eagles

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    Cap Space: $26.3 million

    Give Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman credit: The man knows how to manage the salary cap and keep his own in tow.

    This past week, the Eagles re-signed receiver Jeremy Maclin, along with receiver Riley Cooper and center Jason Kelce. All three are outstanding moves that will help continuity in coach Chip Kelly's high-octane offense.

    Quarterback Michael Vick is a free agent, but with Nick Foles entrenched as the starter, expect Vick to sign elsewhere.

    The Eagles have major holes in the back of their defense, so if any of the top cornerbacks or safeties hit the market, that's where Roseman is likely to open the checkbook. But the draft still looms as the most important place for the team to improve it's back seven on defense.

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Cap Space: -$5.9 million

    The Pittsburgh Steelers are currently $5.9 million over the cap, so general manager Kevin Colbert has a lot of work to do to bolster a roster that only went 8-8 last year and missed the postseason.

    The team has a bevy of free agents, including pass-rushing linebacker Jason Worilds and receiver Emmanuel Sanders. Both are likely to command more money elsewhere. Safety Ryan Clark also isn't expected to return, and cornerback Ike Taylor's future is murky.

    The potential releases of linebacker LaMarr Woodley and safety Troy Polamalu have been bandied about because of their cap numbers, but it's likely both will stay. Woodley becomes more valuable with Worilds probably leaving town, and Polamalu has the support of ownership, per Alan Robinson of the Tribune-Review.

    The Steelers won't be able to bring in many new players, so all of their drama focuses on which of their own players will be retained.

San Diego Chargers

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Cap Space: $3.8 million

    The San Diego Chargers made a surprise trip to the divisional round of the postseason last year, but general manager Tom Telesco doesn't have much money to work with this offseason.

    Telesco has already made one move, re-signing valuable inside linebacker Donald Butler. Butler himself broke the news on Twitter.

    Next up for Telesco will be releasing overpriced veterans to massage the financial situation. Receivers Eddie Royal and Malcom Floyd are both candidates for release, as is offensive lineman Jeromey Clary and fullback Le'Ron McClain.

    With running back Ryan Mathews coming off his best season and only possessing a contract through 2015, it's possible that Telesco could open up extension talks with his representation this offseason.

    Once the bloodletting has occurred, look for the Chargers to improve team speed on defense, specifically at the cornerback position. Sam Shields of the Packers would be perfect in San Diego.

San Francisco 49ers

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    Cap Space: $13.7 million

    For the sake of everyone's sanity, let's just assume that Jim Harbaugh will definitely be coaching the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1 and Trent Baalke will be the general manager.

    Quarterback Colin Kaepernick is up for an extension, and Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News reported the start of the conversation has been "so far, so good." The club is also close on a deal with receiver Anquan Boldin, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

    Kicker Phil Dawson is coming off a marvelous season, and the 49ers would be wise to keep him in the fold.

    As it concerns the 49ers' finances, much depends on the Kaepernick extension and the ensuing domino effect. Until that's done, it's unclear how much Baalke will spend in free agency and if he'll release veterans (running back Frank Gore?) in an effort to do so.

Seattle Seahawks

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    Cap Space: $17.8 million

    The Seattle Seahawks ascended to the top of the NFL mountain, winning Super Bowl XLVIII in dominant fashion over the Broncos, and their title defense begins in earnest this offseason.

    General manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll are two of the best in the league at constructing a smart, talented, deep and affordable roster. But it's always tough to keep a championship squad together, and that's the problem facing them.

    The team has already released receiver Sidney Rice and defensive lineman Red Bryant, per Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. The money freed up by those transactions will enable the team to try and re-sign defensive end Michael Bennett and receiver Golden Tate. Expect that to happen.

    Cornerback Walter Thurmond III had a marvelous season as the club's nickelback, but can Schneider and Carroll afford to pay big bucks to a third corner? That remains to be seen. 

    The Seahawks have shown a propensity to look for free-agent bargains, and this offseason should be no different.


St. Louis Rams

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Cap Space: $7.3 million

    While the St. Louis Rams find themselves up against the salary cap, having two first-round picks and four of the first 75 in May's draft certainly helps.

    The biggest of their own free agents is versatile offensive lineman Rodger Saffold. He's the one player that general manager Les Snead will likely try hardest to keep in the fold.

    Quarterback Kellen Clemens should be brought back as well after he played well last season in relief of an injured Sam Bradford.

    A player that looms as a potential salary cap casualty is cornerback Cortland Finnegan. Releasing Finnegan would save the Rams $4 million against next year's cap.

    Given their financial situation, look for the Rams to do most of their offseason improving via the draft.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Cap Space: $18.7 million

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a new head coach (Lovie Smith) and general manager (Jason Licht) and a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. 

    The Bucs should look to address the defensive line, and as Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com wrote recently, Vikings defensive end Jared Allen could be a potential fit.

    Yasinskas also wrote about Licht's desire to build through the draft, which is a stark contrast to the approach of deposed general manager Mark Dominik, who spent freely in free agency. That, along with not possessing a ton of cap space, means the Buccaneers are unlikely to be extremely active in free agency.

Tennessee Titans

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    Cap Space: $13 million

    The Tennessee Titans underwent an offseason of change, as Mike Munchak was fired as the team's coach. Former Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt is now in charge, and he and general manager Ruston Webster have a number of key personnel decisions to make as free agency approaches.

    Running back Chris Johnson is almost certainly a goner, as Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean writes. It'd be an upset if receiver Kenny Britt was re-signed.

    Cornerback Alterraun Verner is set to hit the market, and he's an ascending young player that the Titans would be wise to retain. But with only $13 million currently in cap space and the fact that Verner will surely command big money on the market, it's unknown if the club will be able to retain him.

    Inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson is set to visit the team, per Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com.


Washington Redskins

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    Cap Space: $29.5 million

    The Washington Redskins bottomed out in 2013, going 3-13 and costing coach Mike Shanahan his job. Former Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden is now the sideline boss, and he'll team with general manager Bruce Allen to try and fix the roster.

    Retaining pass-rushing linebacker Brian Orakpo is a must. Mark Maske of the Washington Post recently wrote about the possibility of the club franchising Orakpo, but a long-term deal is also possible. With their cap room, expect the Redskins to keep him. The club also has already re-signed cornerback DeAngelo Hall.

    The Redskins are sure to spend in free agency given their cap space and poor finish last year, along with the fact that the Rams own their first-round pick (No. 2 overall) as a result of the Robert Griffin III trade. Expect a big-name signing in the secondary, whether it be Tennessee's Alterraun Verner or New England's Aqib Talib.