At this point, nobody is quite sure what the NFL and NFL Players' Association will agree upon for the 2014 salary cap. What we do know is that initially, a small bump to $126 million was reported, but that number has steadily grown as March and the new league year approaches.
On Tuesday, a report from Pro Football Talk suggested that the cap could be increased beyond $132 million, with their source specifically saying it could exceed $132 million by a "few million." Again, we won't know for certain until the NFL announces the new cap number, but given that $130 million had been reported just a few days prior, it seems to be trending upward.
Since the newest collective bargaining agreement in 2011 (following an uncapped 2010 year), we've seen increases of 0.5 percent and 1.9 percent, with the 2013 number being $123 million. Prior to the CBA, there were average increases of about 6.5 percent over the previous five years, with 2006 being an outlier when the cap jumped from $85.5 million to $102 million, a 19.3 percent increase.
Why did it jump that much? It's simple: the new broadcast deals kicked in and there was plenty of money to spend on salaries. There's been speculation for years that 2014 could end up being another sizable jump, though some have tried to claim that's not the case. But the new broadcast deals are set to kick in once again over the next year, and if it hits the $132 million number, that's an increase of 7.32 percent.
Whatever the case, there are definitely teams who will benefit more than others by the increased cap space. The Dallas Cowboys are among the most notable, given that they are so far over the cap for 2014 that it's kind of impressive. As noted by Blogging The Boys, this would be a huge help:
Any way you look at it, this is good news for the Cowboys. If the cap were to come in at $135 million, that would leave the Cowboys $17.2 million over the cap - peanuts by the Cowboys' cap standards. The Cowboys could clear $18.9 million of cap space and get under the cap with room to spare by restructuring Tony Romo, Brandon Carr and Sean Lee. Anything beyond that would be optional.
There are other teams, as well. The Pittsburgh Steelers are over the projected cap for 2014, and the Carolina Panthers are among those teams with a few huge contract extensions coming all at once, with Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly the most notable players who will need new deals soon, along with Greg Hardy hitting free agency.
Here's what else you might have missed from Tuesday in the NFL:
Carolina Panthers offensive tackle Jordan Gross will announce his retirement from the NFL on Wednesday. Gross was set to become an unrestricted free agent in March, and it seems likely that the Panthers informed him they were either going in a different direction or simply couldn't afford him. Gross has spent his entire career with the Panthers and has probably been the best offensive linemen in Carolina franchise history.
They're not happy about the news over at Cat Scratch Reader:
The loss is immeasurable for the organization. Carolina does not have any current plan at offensive tackle and this could be the worst complete offensive line the team has had in over a decade. This is a time the Panthers were poised to take a step forward, but instead they'll take three back unless general manager Dave Gettleman finds a way to solidify the line.
It's really unclear what exactly is happening with Jonathan Martin and the Miami Dolphins at this point, but reports continue to surface. On Tuesday, it was reported that the Dolphins had met with Martin's agents and expressed a desire to have him return in 2014. Such a move has seemed unlikely to most given the lengths Miami would have to go to to make it a positive environment for Martin. This is obviously a locker room that makes Martin uncomfortable, which might lend credibility to the separate report that suggests Martin has told the Dolphins that he wants a fresh start and does not want to play in Miami in 2014.
It's not an NFL offseason without talk of Darrelle Revis going somewhere else. On Tuesday, reports suggested that teams have inquired about the All-Pro cornerback's availability, and the Buccaneers are listening to offers. Revis has a huge contract and is set to earn $16 million in 2014. The Bucs are now being coached by Lovie Smith, who has never relied on a top-flight cornerback to anchor his historically successful defenses. It's not exactly evidence, but it does lend a little credibility to the thought that Revis could be playing elsewhere in 2014 after just one year in Tampa Bay.
Arizona Cardinals running back Rashard Mendenhall had a blog post on Tuesday that seemed to indicate he could be retiring. He said that he's reached the end of a journey, which typically means retirement, though it could obviously be related to just about anything in his life. He also could be talking about his future with the Cardinals, as noted by Revenge of the Birds, given that his future with the team is uncertain after the emergence of Andre Ellington.