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NFL's 2021 Salary Cap Reportedly Not Expected to Exceed $183M

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2021

The NFL logo is shown on the field before a game between the Denver Broncos and the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

The NFL's salary cap for the 2021 season will reportedly not exceed $183 million.

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk reported the news, noting a source explained "the fact that the franchise-tag deadline wasn't extended by the league and the union can be interpreted as an indication that the cap won't significantly exceed the $180 million floor."

That cap is expected to be $183 million at the most, and Florio later reported it is "almost definitely" going to be $182.5 million.

This represents a notable decrease in the salary cap from 2020.

Last year's number was $198.2 million per team, while 2019's salary cap was $188.2 million. The decrease in salary cap was somewhat expected, though, considering the NFL completed its 2020 campaign largely in front of empty stadiums without the typical total of tens of thousands of paying customers at each game.

Florio reported players at least received their full pay in 2020, which stands in contrast to other leagues.

The report also cited an email the NFL Players Association sent to players revealing the salary cap would have been "tens of millions" below $180 million without the collective bargaining agreement that was finalized in 2020.

It would not be a surprise if this year's drop in salary cap is a one-year blip.

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If enough people are vaccinated between now and the start of the 2021 season, stadiums could start to host more fans once again. That will lead to an increase in revenue and, ideally, an increase in the salary cap.

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith sent a letter to players suggesting as much:

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith sent this letter to players tonight in advance of the 2021 salary cap being set, emphasizing an expectation that cap growth will resume in coming years after this season’s COVID-related reduction. https://t.co/hgNJbEhDe7

Teams now know the figures they will be working with when the 2021 NFL league year starts at 4 pm ET on March 17. 

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