Just one day before the deadline for teams to decide on whether or not to use the franchise or transition tags, the NFL has finally decided on a salary cap number for the 2018 season. Teams close to the cap will likely be disappointed in the number, however, as for the first time in several years the final number is a bit lower than expected.
According to a report from ESPN’s Field Yates, the official number for 2018 is $177.2 million, which comes in $800,000 shy of the anticipated $178 million value.
With this number, tag amounts as well as restricted free agent tenders can be finalized. However, it also means that teams around the NFL now have the final numbers on how much cap space they will have when the 2018 league year begins at 4:00 PM Eastern Time on March 14th.
The Green Bay Packers are in an unusual position, sitting relatively tight against the cap for the time being. According to a report published by the NFLPA, the Packers have $169,720,417 in cap obligations for 2018 at present, with $3,934,518 in space rolling over from 2017. That means that the team will have exactly $11,414,101 in salary cap space when the league year begins. That number differs from the estimate put out by Overthecap.com, which projects the team to have about $15.7 million in space available. Unfortunately, since the NFLPA only publishes the total numbers rather than details, we are left to speculate about where the difference lies.
Regardless, teams will have a little bit less money with which to work this offseason when signing free agents. Thankfully, the Packers have one of the best in the business managing the cap in Russ Ball, and there is likely to be some movement between now and March 14th on one or more of the team’s veteran contracts; keep an eye out for more space to be opened up by an extension, restructure, or release of Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, or Clay Matthews.