On Tuesday, the NFL announced that the salary cap for the 2018 season should be in between $174.2M and $178.1M. The final cap number will be announced in the spring, but the league has traditionally been pretty close on its early estimates.
During the financial portion of the @NFL league meetings, teams were given a 2018 salary cap projection of $174.2-178.1M, source says. It was $167M last year. The final number comes in the spring.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 12, 2017
With the 2017 salary cap having been $167M, this represents an increase of 5.5% to 6.6% over the salary cap for the current season, and represents an increase in money allocated to player salaries of somewhere between $262.4M and $355.2M. As the money for player salaries is a function of the overall revenues for the league, it appears as though critics claims of plummeting financials for the league have been greatly overblown.
In addition, it appears as though the alleged boycotts growing out of some players choosing not to stand for the anthem have not had much of an impact on the league and its financial performance. For a little shameless self promotion, here’s my short take on the matter.
I guess all the boycotting is really hurting the league if there's only ~$320M in new money to allocate to players next season. https://t.co/zx5VjyMS9L— John Gilbert (@SeahawksMachine) December 12, 2017
Returning to more serious matters, in early November I took a quick look at the 2018 salary cap situation and at that time it looked like the Seattle Seahawks would have somewhere around $6.7M in true cap space to play with during the offseason. Unfortunately, that overview was based on a cap estimate of $178M, so using the midpoint of the new estimated range would put the 2018 salary cap at $176.1M.
That would mean that the team likely has about $4.8M in available cap space in 2018.
Now, I know if I leave it at that there is going to be a large number of readers who will proceed directly to the comments and demand that Seattle cut Jeremy Lane in order to double the available cap space for 2018. There’s only one problem with that, and that is the fact that the November analysis already assumed Lane would be cut or traded.
That means if Lane is not cut or traded, Seattle is looking at about $50,000 in available cap space. This may appear to be a wee bit of an issue, as $50,00 is not even enough to pay a practice squad player for half the season, much less extend a player like Jimmy Graham, Sheldon Richardson, Paul Richardson, Luke Joeckel or any of the other impending free agents. Luckily, the $50,000 is still a very early estimate as a direct result of John Schneider’s masterful job managing the cap, Seattle has a ton of cap flexibility to allow the front office to make the moves necessary to remain competitive going forward. I will be digging into this flexibility in the coming weeks, but with the 2017
John Schneider has done a phenomenal job managing the roster and salary cap situation during his time in Seattle, and the true breadth of his mastery in his craft will become apparent over the next six months.