The majority of the NFL community has been operating under the assumption that the NFL salary cap was set to make some big jumps in the next few years. When evaluating contracts, that's a pretty big deal to forecast the potential impact on cap space for each NFL team. After the NFL owners meetings, we learned that those jumps are now not expected to happen, which could leave the New York Jets and plenty of other NFL franchises in some serious salary cap trouble in coming years.
It's a pretty surprising development, especially when one of the sticking points for the NFLPA during the NFL Lockout was tying the salary cap to NFL revenue. This was thought to be a surefire way to increase player salaries and was seen as one of the biggest "wins" for the union when the new collective bargaining agreement was studied. Now, it looks like it could end up being fool's gold for the players.
While NFL owners certainly won't complaining about a lower salary cap, it will certainly cause some headaches for general managers around the league. The general feeling now is that the cap will barely increase between now and 2015. With the cap at $120.6 million for 2012, that translates into quite an issue for the Jets, who currently have almost $131 million committed to the 2013 salary cap. It could also be an explanation as to why the Jets have been conservative in using the cap space they do have, as they might be looking to roll that into next offseason, just as they did with about $8 million of unused salary cap space in 2011.
The Jets currently have about $7 million in cap space, prior to signing 2012 draft picks. They will be looking to save as much of that as possible to roll over into 2013 in order to cut down on their salary cap deficit for 2013.
For the rest of this offseason, it means that we shouldn't expect any major signings. The Jets will use their draft picks to address their needs and make some minor, cheap signings such as wide receiver Braylon Edwards.
For future years, it means that players who signed short-term deals with visions of cashing in due to salary cap increases over the next few years will be disappointed. It also means fans and general managers thinking that relief was coming for teams currently up against the salary cap won't be getting that relief in the near future.
For the Jets, it means they will need to roll over cap space and restructure more contracts once again to have any flexibility next offseason. Mike Tannenbaum will have to reach into his bag of tricks and see if he can come up with some salary cap space for 2013.
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