As the 2012 NFL offseason inches close to officially beginning, a clause in the new NFL CBA allows teams to actually increase their salary cap by rolling over unused cap space from the 2011 NFL season to the current year. All teams need to do is submit written notice to the league office 14 days prior to the start of the new league year.
Under Article 13, Section 6(b)(v) of the CBA, each team may carry over any remaining cap room from one year to the next by submitting written notice, signed by the owner of the team, to the league office no later than 14 days before the start of the next league year. The written notice must indicate the maximum amount of cap room that the team wishes to shift from one cap year to the next.
This means that some teams have quite a bit more of salary cap room than usual. According to John Clayton of ESPN, the Kansas City Chiefs are the new leaders in the clubhouse for cap space with $62.995 million in cap room. Here are some other adjusted salary caps for teams who should do some spending in free agency, according to Clayton:
The Jacksonville Jaguars didn't spend $31 million of cap room in 2011, so they now have $45 million of room. The Kansas City Chiefs have $62.995 million after budgeting $24.014 million from the 2011 season. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, thanks to $23.519 million of carryover cap money, have the second-most cap space with $60.496 million. The Cincinnati Bengals moved over $15 million from last year and have $60 million to spend. Dan Snyder of the Washington Redskins has plenty of room to get quarterback and receiver help, thanks to $47.56 million of cap space.
There are some playoff teams who should have plenty of money too, as the Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, and New England Patriots all have at least $20 million in cap room to spend. The Broncos are one of the big winners here, having just over $50 million in cap room.
Even with the roll over however, there are still some teams that need to make moves to get under the salary cap. Those teams include the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Super Bowl champion New York Giants, the Oakland Raiders, and the Carolina Panthers. All of those teams will have to work themselves under the cap by March 13. This can be done by releasing players or re-structuring contracts of current players.
There was some initial fear that rolling over the extra cap room could affect the the per-team minimum spending limits that go into action during the 2013 season, but those limits are only affected by the unadjusted cap number. This means like last season, the money should be flowing in free agency once again in 2012.