NFL increase Salary Cap minimum to 180 mil - new info on 2021 Cap implications

The NFL’s shared revenue agreement had the cap looking at about 160m. The NFL had agreed with the NFLPA on a 175M floor but they’ve now raised that floor to 180m. They are in negotiations with the NFLPA to spread the losses of 2020 over the next few years.

Which will reduce the Cap over that time.

Also on another note the NFL is trying to lock up the newest TV contracts before free agency starts so that they can best project the cap moving forward.

But it appears we’re looking at a reduced cap over the next few years. This is going to cause a lot of player cuts and contract restructuring.

This is also going to affect free agent contracts that are dished out. We’re likely going to see lower value contracts. Or contracts where the money is backloaded more.

I think we should be buyers. I will explain more in my next post.

It’s smart business to be buyers when the market is low. Teams that have the ability to buy now should be able to make a quick turn around. While teams that are up against the cap will be losing players and doing a lot of restructuring.

I think we’re seeing a situation like we’ve never seen before. Some teams will be hurt and some will gain. I think we will see a lot of teams rise from the ashes and fall from contention.

I’ve been looking at the cap of all 32 teams and I think the Lions are in better shape than most. Bare with me as I explain this.

A lot of teams already have a bunch of players under big contracts that are accelerating in the next couple years. It’s going to be difficult to honor all of these contracts. A lot of teams who appear in better shape than the Lions really aren’t.

The Lions have 20 mi in dead cap space and aren’t tied up with too many big contracts. We also haven’t done much restructuring lately so we have more room to play than most teams do. With that 20 mil dropping off next year and not many contracts with big numbers in 2022 and beyond the Lions have more freedom than most teams to push money around and be players in free agency both this year and next year.

So let’s look at the big contracts we do have.

Trufant and Coleman are likely cut this year so I won’t look at those two.

Goff - He is on the books for 28 mil this year and roughly 26 mil the following 3 years. So his contract is ripe for restructuring. We could easily push 6 mil into the following 3 years and have zero increase on our cap situation. I think we could push more than that.

Flowers - He is under contract for 3 more years so he’s not a cut candidate until next year. Probably not until 2023 to be honest. His contract increases by roughly 3.5m in 2022 and 2023. The way I see it is that the Lions have two choices with him. Do nothing with his contract and cut him next year or the following year. Or extend him and attempt to reduce his cap hit now. He’s 28 years old so I wouldn’t want to extend him very far. Maybe add a year and push some money into his final year reducing his cap hit now. But by doing that you’d hurt your freedom to cut him next year. It will be interesting to see what we do here. If we don’t restructure him I’d think he’s a candidate to be cut before his contract expires.

Jamie Collins - He’s 32 years old. I really think this was a bad contract for the Lions. He’s under contract 2 more years. There’s nothing we can do with Collins but I suspect he’s cut after this year. By cutting him in 2022 the Lions will free up 10mil. The way his contract was designed it’s obvious he was never intended to play past this year.

Vaitai is another bad contract in my opinion but the way it’s drawn the Lions can easily clear him off after this year. I think this is a prove it year for him and the Lions will want the freedom to move on so I suspect they wait and do nothing with his contract until next year. When they will have choices on it.

I think the rest of the Lions contracts are easily managed. It’s the Collins and Vaitai contracts that hurt us this year but can be cleared off next year if we so choose.

But Bob Quinn was smart enough to make these big contracts have easy outs going forward. We’re not cash strapped in 2022 and beyond like many teams are. The Lions really do have the freedom to be players in free agency this year and next year if they choose to be.

With 8 team playoffs it’s fairly easy to turn this around quickly. I don’t believe this is a long process. If we make good decisions and buy low now then I believe we could be contenders as soon as next season.

Per the NFL/NFLPA collective bargaining agreement, the NFL’s salary cap is determined based on profit/loss from the previous season. In 2020, the salary cap was $198.2 million, but with the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted the league’s profitability, the salary cap is expected to see a significant drop.

The NFL is still in the process of determining the final 2021 salary cap, but in a new memo sent out to NFL clubs, they announced that they have raised the cap floor from $175 million to $180 million.

This is still a sharp decline, but the league said it will continue working on ways to increase this number — they are negotiating new television contracts and auditing their final 2020 revenue figures — before the league’s new year begins on March 17th.

The Lions have also rolled over $12.8 million from last season and will put that towards their available cap room in 2021, meaning their cap floor is actually $192.8 million.

Currently, the Lions have $185.2 million invested in 53 players and are under the requirements for beginning the new year, but once the new year begins and the Matthew Stafford/Jared Goff trade becomes official, the Lions cap will see a significant change.

As noted when examining how the trade would impact the Lions cap, Stafford’s $33 million comes off the books but he leaves behind a $19 million cap hit. Then factoring in Goff’s new contract cost of $28.15 million, and the Lions are going to take on an additional $14.15 million in cap charges once the trade happens.

That means, the Lions’ new cap number will be approximately $199.35 million and they will be roughly $6.5 million over the allowed allotment.

$6.5 million over the cap is not ideal, but half the league is in a worse situation than the Lions — including all three teams in the NFC North — and the Lions seem poised to clear more cap space by releasing players with bloated contracts.

With cuts coming and the League continuing to attempt to raise the salary cap floor, the Lions should find themselves in a much better cap situation come mid-March.

One might expect the Lions to increase that $6.5 mil that they currently are projected to have in cap space, assuming the above numbers are close to correct. If it’s me, I use whatever cap room they end up with VERY judiciously, no big contracts please. Find inexpensive guys who might thrive under whatever our new offense and defense are going to be. And trade down in the draft if the deal is fair.

It’s hard right now to see our Lions being successful this year. I don’t want to spend big bucks on one or two premium players that gets them to .500 ball, if that. Do not mortgage the future.

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I hope you don’t mind I moved your post over here.


It might also be easier to work out new extension for Ragnow for sure an even Crosby an even Walker all are UFAs next year an with cap being tight i think extending them would be good move provided Crosby an Walker play well this year.
Ragnow is a must.
Even there extension if its as bad as they think for few years can be pushed also they me looking to deal .
This is why i think we should try an get some deals this year on young players like the 3 safeties i have name Johnson an Williams either one would be nice fit with Walker an are young ones we have now.
I don’t want any short term big tickets like a tag If we tag KG then trade him. If you don’t tag an trade him what tag would be likely will get u two WR’s in FA even if one is for a year an other 2 years.

Example what can be done is the DLman we signed will he pan out I don’t know but he is young with some experience. Joey Health the 6-foot-6, 302 pound defensive He would lets say replace Williams he is few inches taller. Future deals are typically worth the league minimum for a single year. Nick Williams and Danny Shelton— could be potential cap casualties, saving Detroit a combined $8.7 million in cap space. So its likely he replaces half of those two.

I like an hope they keep doing that till they know final cap an decide who to go after in UFA

Yeah I brought this up a few times on the board. I think it’s a good time to look at extending Ragnow.

Right now the market is low so they should be able to keep the numbers down. Especially if they wait until the market starts to show itself.

I’d then move some of Ragnows 2021 salary into future years and free up a few mil this year in the process.

Quick question.
When you say we can “push 6 mil into the following 3 years”… does this mean the Lions would save $18 mil in 2021 by pushing 6 mil into EACH of the next years… or does it mean the Lions save $6 mil in 2021 and push only $2 mill into EAHC of the next 3 years?

I assume you mean to save $18 mill this year… to avoid restructuring those other players if possible… but want to be sure I have that correct.

That’s not at all what I said or I implied.

I said he costs 28 mil on the books this year.
He costs roughly 26 mil the following 3 years.

The Lions could easily push 6 mil into the remaining 3 years without causing an increase in cap situation.

They could push more if they choose but that would also increase our cap spending each year.

These are rough numbers but

2021 - 28 mil hit - 6 mil pushed into future years for a 6m relief.
2022 - 2024 - 26 mil + 2 = 28m roughly each year on average.

It appears the NFL is seeking to double broadcasting rights fees.

The new TV contracts are a huge factor in determining this years cap. Hope is that these new contracts can get signed before free agency. If not then it could significantly lower this years cap number. Any way take a look.

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Exactly what DC has stated. The Lions will not be doing this.

Ok… that is why I asked… just wasn’t quite sure.

I was thinking you wanted to free up more cap space to “be buyers when the market is low.”

If they free up $6 million in 2021 from a Goff restructure, and then they do not restructure Collins or Vaitai, and maybe restructure Flowers… how much do you project the Lions have available to spend on free agents (assuming they franchise KG as reported)??

I agree 100%!

Everyone saw what happened in Miami and got the delusion that selling off assets, tanking and rebuilding is somehow this brilliant blueprint.

People need to look a bit more closely at what they actually did though…

2016- 10 wins
2017- 6 wins- suffered a rash of injuries
2018- 7 wins- too much talent lost to fully compete
2019- 5 wins- this was the tank-a-thon year
2020- 10 wins nearly made playoffs

The Phind traded- L Tunsil, J Landry, K Stills, and Minkah Fitzpatrick, and a 4th and 6th rounder collectively…

The Phins acquired 1st, 1st, 1st, 2nd, J Bademosi.


2016- 9 wins
2017- 9 wins
2018- 6 wins
2019- 3 wins
2020- 5 wins

Lions traded Stafford

Lions recieved- Goff, 1st, 1st, 3rd

We got exactly one less premium pick than the Phins “tankathon” but all we did was go from Stafford to Goff- who by the way if we traded would likely fetch a pair of 2nd rounders right now… (I don’t suggest this)

We are facing a weird salary cap year, and so is everyone else. The one great thing about our situation is how great we look cap wise in 2022 already. Flowers will need to be restructured a bit, as well as Goff, but other bad deals like Collins and Big V are gone next year.

Here would be my priority list…

Create as much cap space in 2021 as possible without brutalizing next years cap. Meaning anyone we have 3-4 year desire to keep here gets paid or restructured now, and anyone we already know isn’t a good fit, we just take our medicine now. Don’t mess with Big V or Collins etc…

  1. Extend Ragnow now to roughly 5 year 61M deal. Similar per year to what Kelly got as top center deal ever. But we have one more cheap year left and one faux year at the end where a cut could occur with no pain. 32M guaranteed spread over next 4 years would look like 4M 21’, 8M 22’, 10M 23’ 10M 24’ as for the dead money. Takes him til age 29-30 depending how long we ride it out.

  2. Extend Walker, AO, and Crosby to multi year deals asap. Tracy Walker has had 2 seasons over 71 pff rating. He’s 25 and has ideal size. This new regime either looks at him as a day one lock in the starting lineup, or a guy they can replace in round 2 or 3… the issue is when you try and do that with everyone, you run out of picks!

Walker- extend 4 years 26M with 12M guaranteed. Spread over 5 years (cheap 2021 year) it’s a 5 year 27M deal. Can be cut after 2023 if need be

AO- I’d offer a 2 year 11M extension with 4M guaranteed. He’s got 2 cheap years left. He’s proven a #3 CB in my opinion. Size, speed and some production. Again this is really a 4 year 12M deal.

Crosby- I’d offer 3 years and 12M extension. Really becomes a 4 year 13M deal. He’s clearly superior to the Wiggins and other 1 year 2-3M guys. More scheme flexibility etc- I’m not sure he’d take this, but I’d offer.

Come to think about it, I might gamble on the same for D Hand. I know he been injured a lot. I also know he can rush and play the run. He could play 3 tech, 5 tech, or straight DE in a heavy set. I’d hate to see him explode to 7-8 sacks this year only to either cost a fortune to sign as a Ufa or leave a big hole. He quietly played in 10 games last year in a messy covid and coaching debacle.

D Hand- 2 years 10M extension… 5M guaranteed. That’s 3 years and less than 11M, with guarantees of 1.5M this year, 3.5M next year, free to cut year 3.

Doing this costs us virtually nothing against our cap in 2021 additionally, and we’d be paying Ragnow nearly 10M on a year 5 option next year anyway, and replacing Crosby, Hand, and Walker would likely take a 2nd, 3rd, and 5th round pick OR 3 guys they’d pay 4-6M per year in ufa. I’d take those guys talent over K Wiggins, N Williams, and Harmon type signings-

Swift- 22
Decker- 27
J Jackson- 24
Ragnow- 24
Big V- 27
Crosby- 25
Cephus- 22
Hock- 23

Hand- 25
Penisini- 24
Flowers- 27
J Okwara
Walker- 25
Okudah- 22
AO- 25

If they follow this blueprint they have 16 guys under contract for at least 3 more years, and none are bad contracts aside from Big V, and Flowers. Goff at 100M for 4 years with 50M guaranteed isn’t bad in today’s qb scale. That said both could be restructured. Big V could surprise us this year, but likely just gets cut next year.

Then you factor Shelton at 27 for 1 more year to rotate with Penisini… J Collins for 1 more year and you have 17 starters, with only 2 gone in 2021 (Shelton and Collins)

So- starters needed for sure 2021

WR1- Golladay 5 years 90M (look at A Coppers deal, cilantro cut after year 3… 7M, 10M, 18M hits years 1-3 with say 5 M dead if cut prior to yr 4)

DE- Draft

FS- Marcus Williams is a ball hawk familiar with DC and Glenn who is just 24 yrs old. 5 years 50M with 25M guaranteed. Yr 1- 4.5M. Yr 2- 6.5M. Yr 3- 7.5M. Yr 4- 4M. Yr 5- 2.5M

ILB- Jarrad Davis- I like him in the Demorio Davis type hunt and kill roll… I’d offer years and 10-12M with 6M guaranteed.

WR2- *** draft ***

Spots we need to sure up both upgrading talent and supplementing long term

Nickle- veteran free agent cheap, draft late

Edge- R Okwara- offer 4 years 28M to he, Dupree, Judon, L Floyd- we will get one for that-looking for 6-7 sacks

RB2- ** draft**
RG- draft


RD 1- D Smith- would give dynamite balance with red zone target and 50/50 guy in Golladay, a route running ninja in D Smith and another big strong outside target in Cephus.

RD 2- DE like Nixon, Twyman, M Wilson etc

RD 3- DE/Edge-Q Roche, P Jones, etc


RD 4- RB hammer type


Traded down to 8-15… add a 2nd

1- Barmore locks up DE opposite Hand
2- R Moore
2- Edge
3- RB
3- RG/RT
4- WR

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I do think we should be buyers. We should buy now why the market is low.

I stated all of this in threads before but I can do so again.

I think that KG is likely signed to a long term deal or they trade him to be honest. The long term deal would have a low hit in 2021.

I think they can easily clear 15-20 mil in dead weight cuts.

They can restructure Goff and add in another 6+ mil.

They can give Ragnow a long term deal and squeeze in a few mil more if they choose. There’s a lot they can do.

It’s pretty easy to clear 25-30 mil for free agency and draft picks. If they choose to do so.

2 thoughts here…

#1-- IMO… If the Lions tag Golladay and re-sign him, I think they lowest they can get his 2021 salary cap number is about $8 million.
This would assume a 5 year deal, $10 million SB, and a base salary of $6million in 2021. I used those particular numbers because KG would not take less than $16 actual cash payout in 2021 on a long term deal when he would be already guaranteed that mich on the tag.

#2-- Ragnow has a base salary of $2.08 million in 2021, and no roster bonus. Most they can save on him is about $1 million in 2021.

Back to KG now for a minute.
If the Lions tag KG, and then don’t agree to trade him in the window before start of free agency… that $16 million is counted against the cap even if he does not sign the tender. If KG’s agent does not like the Lions offer, that may not change for entire early period of free agency… which would leave the options limited.

It will be interesting to see this unfold.

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Lyonfan1 I like a lot of your ideas…I think the whole thing revolves around KG We can make as much cap room as we need.
I would draft Parson over Smith but that’s just me. I could live with Smith.
I think they keep Collins an V for sure till 2022 ,I would keep Coleman until i know I have depth at CB.

I think we are not as in need on DL as many think . I will not base the need on last season’s record. I will base it on there play certain players.

Williams was bad so was Shelton an IMO not worth the money they will get. I think we could trade Sheldon back to Pats.

Not for much but a late round pick.
I would try an bring Davis back an I really don’t care if we keep KG I would like to but he may price himself out for me.
There are teams with ton of cap room who will nail they very best UFAs an that’s just way it works.

I would like to sign the S from Saints but would be happy with Johnson from Rams

And the word Restructure rang out across the land…

I like to look at contract structure. IMO… The NFL cap is the best in all of pro sports.
However… I am not sure there has ever been a contract signed that would fit this criteria.
In fact, an agent that agree to this deal (while representing a franchised WR)… would never get work in the NFL again.

Here is what can be implied by the numbers suggested in this proposed deal:

#1 – Having only $5 million in DEAD money with 2 years remaining on a 5-year deal… means that the SB money is only $12.5 million (prorated evenly over 5 years… means each year has a $2.5mill cap hit from the SB). This amount is very possible on its own, but not all when combine with the other factors in play. This would leave $77.5 million in salaries due over 5 years.

#2 – KG’s proposed cap hit in this proposed deal for 2021 is $7 million. That means he would have $2.5 mill in SB proration… plus ONLY $4.5 million in salary. If you add the $4.5 million in salary PLUS the $12.5 million SB… he gets a “cash payout” of $17 million. This is only ~$1 million more than he makes in 2021 if he chooses to play on the tag… and he would be giving up his leverage in 2022 and beyond.

#3 – Speaking of 2022… this proposed deal has KG playing on a $10 million cap hit.
His SB proration would be $2.5 million of that amount, so he would have a salary of $7.5 million.
He would be making LESS than 1/2 of the money he makes in 2021.
On the other hand… if KG played in 2021 on the franchise tag… he would be a free agent again in 2022 with a chance to get to the open market. If the Lions wanted to tag him again, the 20% raise needed to do so would result in a $20+ million salary for KG in 2022.

#3 – In 2023… the 3rd year of the deal proposed… KG would be counting $18 mill against the cap.
With the $2.5 mill in SB proration… this means a salary of $15.5 million… which is still LESS than he will make in 2021 on a franchise tag.

#4 – The proposed contract for KG stops here… with $5 million in DEAD money.
However… that would leave $50 million of he $90 million total contract unpaid.
In other words… KG and his agent would basically be agreeing to a 3-year, $40 million deal.
Considering he will be guranteed $16 million in year #1 whether he signs a deal or plays on the tag… he would be agreeing to give up his leverage for 2 additional years at an average of $12 million per year.

Even with a lower salary cap in 2021… this is not a deal KG is going to sign.

Compare those numbers to Amari Cooper’s deal that I posted below. He does sign a deal with only a $10 mill SB, and it is also for a total value $100mill vs. $90mill proposed here for KG. And it even allows an “out” after only 2 years with $6 mill DEAD cap hit.

In year #1… the “cheap” year… he has a cap hit of $12 million (70% higher than the proposed $7 mill for KG).

Then look at year #2… where the base salary jumps to $20 million (all guaranteed salary)… and he has a cap hit of $22 million (120% higher that KG deal proposed).

And… even year #3 is $22 million cap hit… still a 22% premium to the KG proposal.

If Golladay is good enough to be worthy of a franchise tag… and perhaps good enough to get another team to offer a draft pick to the Lions to do a “franchise tag and trade”… then he is certainly good enough for his agent to expect a minimum of the $16 million tag amount in 2021, and a bit of a raise in 2022. This would mean the 1st two years of a long term deal are more likely to be at least $35 million in guaranteed money to get him to move pen to paper.

A VERY backloaded example that might be a possible deal:
5 year deal… with 5th year as automatic “void” year to spread his SB proration out more…
could be 5 years, $72 million … $20 million SB… and $36 million guaranteed at signing.
2021… $4 million salary + $4 mill SB proration – $8mill cap hit (salary guaranteed)
2022… $12 million salary +$4 mill SB proration – $16mill cap hit(salary guaranteed)
2023… $17 million salary + $4 million SB – $21 mill cap hit ($12 mill DEAD cap hit if cut)
2024… $19 million salary + $4 million SB – $23 mill cap hit ($8 mill DEAD cap hit if cut)
2025… voided year + $4 million SB prorated ($4 mill DEAD cap hit)

I am not even sure if KG would even sign that deal. Players tend to want to bet on themselves, and the buzz in the NFL about new TV contracts being huge money is going to keep agents from settling for lower money on long term deals.

Frankly… I am not sure why the Lions would want to sign this deal that I used as an example either. The Lions are hoping to rebuild to be ready to compete in 2 years… so signing KG to a backloaded deal that has cap numbers >$20 million in years 3 and 4… plus a void year in 2025… is not really going to be ideal for that timeline.

just gonna bump this up … since there are multiple KG threads hanging around the board.

It seems that most people here prefer to keep KG on a long term deal… but I am curious to know how much money those people are willing to to spend. How much is too much?

If it gets closed to Amari Cooper money… what then?

I like KG… just want to know where the line in the sand should be drawn if he wants more.

It looks like Cooper’s deal included very little signing bonus, so they had to make it up with more salary. For me I’d rather see us go the opposite direction. Give KG alot of up front money and guarantees and lower the overall price tag.