2014 NFL salary cap could be higher than $132 million, per report

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With each report, the 2014 NFL salary cap seems to rise. The latest suggests a sizable increase and potentially more than $132 million in space to work with next season.

The NFL salary cap could be going up further than originally anticipated. The cap for the 2014-15 season could actually be higher than $132 million, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. It's surprising, given that the original projection was somewhere in the range of $126 million.

That number was actually noted as being too low back on Feb. 20, when reports suggested that the cap would rise a full 5 percent, making it $130 million. This report is the latest that ups the ante, though they have not suggested what it could eventually top out at.

Florio's source suggests that the cap could be a "few million" higher than $132 million, which could mean a lot of different things depending on what you think "few" means. If this report is accurate, it means the potential for a cap as high as $135 million or even more. As noted in the piece, that's almost a 10 percent increase over last season.

That would be the biggest jump the salary cap has made since the new collective bargaining agreement was signed into place in 2011, following a lengthy lockout and an uncapped year in 2010. It's unclear why this big of a jump would be taking place. Most assumed that the cap would make limited jumps year after year until renewed television contracts took effect.

Of course, this means when we actually make it to said television contracts, the cap could get another boost, provided this report is accurate. We won't know the official cap number until the days leading up to the start of the new league year. It's possible that league owners are borrowing against future caps but again, with the television contracts set to hit the revenue stream in time for the 2015 league year, there's not too much incentive to do so the year before.

Multiple teams that will benefit from more cap space. Well, every team will benefit in some way, but there are those like the Carolina Panthers, who have a handful of key players to extend, and the Dallas Cowboys, who are still over the salary cap, who will benefit even more.

The salary cap increased year over year, save for the 2010 year, which was uncapped, until the 2011 season that saw the cap drop under the new CBA. Below, is a look at the five years before the new collective bargaining agreement and what we've had since then. Please keep in mind that 2014 numbers are based on this report and could look entirely different when the NFL announces the official number:

Year Maximum Team Salary Increase
2014 $130+ million? If $132 million, 7.32 percent
2013 $123 million 1.9 percent
2012 $120.6 million 0.5 percent
2011 $120 million N/A
2010 Uncapped N/A
2009 $123 million 6.03 percent
2008 $116 million 6.42 percent
2007 $109 million 6.9 percent
2006 $102 million 19.3 percent
2005 $85.5 million 6.1 percent

As you can see, large spikes were not altogether uncommon before the newest collective bargaining agreement, but such a large jump this year does buck the trend that was beginning since said agreement. Given that the original numbers reported a cap of $126 million, we would have been looking at a cap increase of 2.44 percent, much more in line with what we've been seeing of late.

In the years leading up to the new CBA, things began to stabilize with around 6 percent increases. Television contracts became a rock solid source of income, and with the NFL growing every year, it made sense. The outlier was 2006, when we saw a huge 19.3 percent increase. The reason for that increase? New TV contracts, of course.

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That's when the newest deals came into play, the same deals which lasted through the new CBA, and the new version of the deals that will increase. One interesting note is that New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft, who had an awful lot to do with constructing the latest CBA, said that we shouldn't expect a sizable increase in 2014.

That statement was made in 2012, according to Mike Rodak of ESPN Boston. Kraft, in response to questions regarding a potential "considerable increase," said "I don't really see that happening. I don't think what happened in 2006 will happen in the future here, because if you understand the labor agreement and the long-term part of this, there will be a smooth growth."

Kraft followed up with a quip: "Anyone who assumes huge jumps, I hope they're in our division."

It's true that teams shouldn't bank on there being a huge increase because those things aren't decided long in advance (as far as we know). But it is worth noting that Kraft can say what he said and still be technically  correct. While a cap number of $132 million would be a big increase, it wouldn't be a 19 percent jump, which is considerably more significant.

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