Projected 2005 NFL Salary Cap Space for Each Team
Rank Team $ Under the Cap
1 Minnesota Vikings $30 M
The Vikings have the cap room to make HUGE strides this off-season. The only problem is that their current owner is a cheapskate. In fact, he's looking to sell the team to the highest bidder any day now. The lofty cap space also means that the team could easily absorb the nearly $10 M cap hit they would take in the event that they decide to trade Randy Moss.
2 Seattle Seahawks $24 M
Don't let the Seahawks huge cap space fool you. This team has an incredible number of big time free agents -- such as Matt Hasselbeck, Shaun Alexander, and Walter Jones -- that they will need to try to re-sign.
3 Jacksonville Jaguars $23.613 M
Look for the Jags to be one of the big players in free agency this off-season. They have made it no secret that they covet a pass rusher as well as a big play wide receiver, and there should be players available for their liking.
4 San Diego Chargers $22 M
The Chargers' enviable cap situation allows them to do what is best for the team in regards to the QB situation. That is, they have the cap space to place the Franchise tag on Drew Brees (about $9 M) -- and/or they could trade Phil Rivers and absorb the cap hit associated with doing so. Of course, they could decide to do neither.
5 San Francisco 49ers $18 M
Now that the Niners have paid their penance for past salary cap indiscretions, will ownership be willing to pay REAL dollars to maintain the talent they have, let alone attract new blood?
6 Baltimore Ravens $17.295 M
The Ravens' cap problems appear to be a thing of the past. Their management will continue to exercise caution to avoid falling back into the situation they saw themselves in a few years back. Of course, that doesn't mean that they will pass up a marquee free agent if one should come their way.
7 Philadelphia Eagles $17 M
Once again, the Eagles are in great shape in terms of the cap. They have the capacity to be major players in free agency if they should so choose -- and we expect them to make a noteworthy signing or two. Just don't look for the kind of blockbuster signings like last year's deals for T.O. and Jevon Kearse.
8 Dallas Cowboys $17 M
Knowing Jerry Jones like we know him -- and observing that the 'Boys look to be in tremendous cap shape, you can expect Dallas to be one of the major players in free agency.
9 Chicago Bears $16.507 M
The Bears are in outstanding cap shape -- and may be able to clear up even more space with some cuts here and there. With that said, we see them as a team willing to make a number of minor moves -- but unwilling to get in on high ticket bidding wars. Thanks to Lloyd Thomas (the Capmeister) for the well researched, updated numbers!
10 NY Jets $15.917 M
GM Terry Bradway has been maintaining for some time now that the Jets would be in good shape cap-wise this year. From our calculations, it looks like he is indeed on the level. That means that the team should be able to re-sign the likes of John Abraham and LaMont Jordan -- if they want to.
11 Indianapolis Colts $15.1 M
It's no secret that the Colts spent a great deal of money this past season to lock up such important players as Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison, and Brandon Stokley. These deals were made to be cap friendly in the immediate future, which should afford the team the luxury of being able to re-sign Edgerrin James this year, if they choose to do so. But will these deals take their toll in a year or two?
12 Cleveland Browns $15 M
With the entire organization in major overhaul mode, there is no telling what cuts are likely to happen -- and what cap impact such cuts may have on the team.
13 Detroit Lions $15 M
The Lions have a nice young corps of players -- most of whom are still in the early stages of their contracts, meaning that they are cap-friendly. Keep in mind that the Lions really only have about $65 million wrapped up in actual salaries and bonuses (they only have 33 players signed), so we padded their cap figure with league min. type salaries to fill out their roster. Additionally, the Lions will also be looking to free up cap room (they'll save $1.2M by releasing S Brian Walker), Harrington is open to re-structuring his $10 million that would count against the cap this year, and they may be looking to re-structure WR Az Hakim's salary. The Lions have made no secret that they're hunting for help behind Harrington, at Safety, at TE, and along the OL. It's a good thing that they will have plenty of money to spend to improve because they're looking to make that leap into the playoffs next year.
14 St. Louis Rams $11.627 M
At first glance, the Rams appear to be in decent cap shape. However, closer analysis reveals that much of the reason for their space is because they don't have anyone signed at a number of key positions. For example, they only have ONE safety on their entire roster heading into the off-season.
15 Arizona Cardinals $9.9416 M
What do you know? For a change, the Cardinals do not lead the league in cap space. That's because Dennis Green knows that you have to shell out the big bucks to win in the NFL. This year the team will be in the market for a starting QB as well as an every-down RB.
16 Buffalo Bills $9.08455 M
Tom Donahoe has done master job of keeping the Bills' salary cap situation under control since slashing the roster back in 2001. They probably don't have enough cap room to be major players in free agency, but they've done a nice job of retaining their own. DT Pat Williams and LT Jonas Jennings are the team's only key unrestricted free agents. The Bills should have the cap room (especially with Eric Moulds' standing offer to rework his own contract to free up cap space) to re-sign both players, if they should so choose.
17 Carolina Panthers $5 M
From the looks of things, the Panthers will have some decisions to make in the off-season, including the futures of both Muhsin Muhammad and Stephen Davis. In particular, the Panthers can't possibly afford to keep Muhsin under his current contract, meaning he either restructures ... or walks. Considering the career-year he just had, we'll give you two guesses what his intentions are.
18 Cincinnati Bengals $4 M
If the Bengals do decide to use their franchise tag on Rudi Johnson, they could find themselves in cap trouble.
19 Washington Redskins $4 M
Surprisingly the Redskins are not in nearly as much cap trouble as one might think... at least not this year, meaning that they know that their day will come in the not-too-distant future, when the piper will come calling. That places them in a situation where their ability to restructure existing contracts is beginning to dwindle. Also, there is the matter of LavarArrington's $6.5 M grievance that could pose major problems if he wins his arbitration case against the Redskins.
20 New Orleans Saints $3.719 M
The Saints could stand to free up some cap dollars, and based on the tone coming out of the front office at the conclusion of the regular season, it sounds like there are going to be some changes on the way.
21 Houston Texans $2.52 M
Very quietly through quality drafting and judicious free agent signings, the Texans have built a solid amount of depth on their football team. They probably won't have enough cap space to make many major splashes this off-season, but they don't exactly have a shopping list of needs either.
22 Denver Broncos $1.86502 M
Don't look for the Broncos to do an incredible amount of maeuvering with the cap. That's what got them in trouble last year, which is why they are paying the penalty this year (via forfeiture of their 2005 3rd round draft pick) for attempting to circumvent the cap.
23 New England Patriots $-2.96499 M
With some prudent moves, the Pats shouldn't have much trouble working their way down under the cap. One move, in particular, could be the dismissal of Ty Law, who alone will acount for over $12.5 M against the cap.
24 Green Bay Packers $-3 M
Although the Packers' aren't in dire straits in regards to the cap, they position may be worse when you take a close look at the lack of depth that they have on their current roster.
25 NY Giants $-3.009 M
The only good news about the Giants having traded away this year's first round draft pick to the Chargers is that they will not have to worry about the salary cap ramifications of having a top ten draft pick. Otherwise, this team is hurting in the depth department, which makes their cap situation that much worse.
26 Oakland Raiders $-3.85 M
The Raiders still have some house cleaning to do, but freeing up the required cap space shouldn't be too much of a chore, considering that Rich Gannon is scheduled to make over $8 M in base salary in 2005.
27 Pittsburgh Steelers $-4.2 M
By the time the Steelers extend offers to all of their Exclusive Rights and Restricted Free Agents (factored into the equation), they won't have enough room to provide their Unrestricted Free Agents (namely, Plaxico Burress) with competitive offers.
28 Kansas City Chiefs $-7 M
Considering their current cap situation, the Chiefs are going have trouble finding (and paying for) the help they need on the defensive side of the ball.
29 Tampa Bay Buccaneers $-12 M
The Bucs cap situation has led to speculation that Brad Johnson will become a cap casualty.
30 Atlanta Falcons $-14 M
The Falcons will need to make some tweaks here and there to get under the cap -- and are, therefore, unfikely to be big players in the free agent market.
31 Miami Dolphins $-17.1461 M
The Dolphins' cap situation may not be quite so ominous as it appears. The release of Jay Fiedler, Junior Seau and David Boston -- three players who contributed little in 2004 -- would almost get them where they need to be.
32 Tennessee Titans $-26 M
The Titans are clearly in cap trouble and are going to have to make some tough decisions regarding their current roster. That could mean waving adios to Derrick Mason and Samari Rolle.
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