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NFL Rumors: 2023 Salary Cap Could Exceed Record-High $220m amid Concerns

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVDecember 4, 2022

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 23: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on the field before a game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on October 23, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Colts 19-10. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The NFL's revenue growth has no end in sight.

Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported the salary cap for the 2023 season is expected to be in excess of $220 million, which would set an all-time record. The cap for the 2022 season is $208.2 million.

This season marked a return to cap growth across the league after the COVID-19 pandemic caused a brief halt. The 2021 cap actually went down from 2020 as a result of fans being unable to attend games during the height of the pandemic.

That one-year drop allowed things to mostly get back on schedule, though the NFLPA still owes players some benefits (performance-based pay, tuition assistance, etc.) that could somewhat lower the cap. Those payments were paused during the pandemic to help keep the cap inflated.

One of the biggest revenue drivers yet to be determined is the status of NFL Sunday Ticket, which will leave DirecTV after the 2022 season. The out-of-market service, which has been with DirecTV since its inception, is widely expected to move to a streaming platform.

“I clearly believe we’ll be moving to a streaming service,” Goodell told CNBC’s Julia Boorstin in July. “I think that’s best for consumers at this stage.”

A decision was expected this fall, but mum has been the word as the league continues to negotiate with providers. Apple, Amazon, Google and ESPN have all been mentioned as potential suitors.

The unknowns surrounding Sunday Ticket create a little uncertainty with sending out a cap estimate, but the $220 million number might wind up being low if the streamers get into a last-minute bidding war. The NFL's lucrative new television deal is already set to begin in 2023.