Early yesterday, Albert Breer of NFL Network reported that the league has told teams that the projected 2014 Salary Cap will be $126.3M.
This projected number represents only a 2.68% increase over the 2013 Salary Cap of $123K, and continues to underlie the belief that the NFL owners played their cards very well during the last CBA negotiations. The NFLPA, on the other hand, is still waiting for their projected spike in the Cap to materialize.
ESTIMATED 2014 FRANCHISE TAG NUMBERS: Last month, Joel Corry of CBS Sports (and National Football Post) published his list of projected Franchise Tag amounts. Corry, a former player agent, projected the Tag numbers as follows:
These numbers should be of interest to Ravens fans because Ozzie Newsome & Co. may have to use the Franchise Tag on Offensive Tackle Eugene Monroe. While the team would likely prefer to reach an agreement on a long term contract with Monroe before the free agent period begins, recent history would seem to indicate that the use of the Franchise Tag may be necessary. If so, the cost to tag Monroe would be $11.126M.
If the Ravens are able to re-sign Monroe or decide against using the Franchise Tag on him, another possible candidate for the Franchise Tag could be Tight End Dennis Pitta. The Franchise Tag for tight ends is a much more affordable $6.709M and while Pitta’s play on Sunday may have eased concerns about his recovery, the use of the Franchise Tag could allow the team an extra year to gauge Pitta’s full recovery from his hip injury.
PRESENT 2014 CAP SPACE: The Ravens presently have 37 players under contract for 2014, amounting to a Salary Cap commitment of $111,872,323. That would put the Ravens at $13,925,802 under the projected Salary Cap of $126.3M, but again, that is with only 37 players under contract. Once the Ravens have tendered their Restricted Free Agents (RFAs) and Exclusive Rights Free Agents (ERFAs) that available Cap space will be greatly reduced.
In order to create some additional Cap space, the Ravens will likely release a few players who may have outlived their contract numbers.
Teams are now allowed to carry over excess Cap space from one year to another. Presently, the Ravens have around $1.5M in available 2013 Cap space. While that isn’t a large amount, every little bit will help, especially for a team that will likely be pretty tight against the Cap.
Follow Brian McFarland on Twitter @RavensSalaryCap