Salary cap heading into free agency

Posted by Darren Urban on February 26, 2014 – 10:36 am

The news around the salary cap — which will be officially set closer to the start of the new league year/free agency on March 11 — continues to be an adjustment upward of its estimate. Now the possibility is that it is around $132 million, which of course means every team’s projected cap space continues to get bigger. Kevin Seifert has the Cardinals, with that $132M cap, with a projected $15.295 million of cap space. That’s not a bad number, although it ranks in the lower half of the league — 18th, to be exact. A whopping 13 teams are projected to have more than $22M of cap space, and the Raiders ($66.39M), Jaguars ($55.13M), Browns ($51.23M) and Colts ($40.01M) all have more than $40M in cap space.

So there will be the possibility for some big free agent deals.

The Cards are in the same stratosphere, but that’s OK. The Cards don’t want to get sideways with big commitments to players who shouldn’t get them. There is enough room, however, to make some things work. The other plus is that the Cards, right now, have the most cap space in the NFC West. The 49ers are next with $11.84M, then the Rams at $6.32M and then the Seahawks at $4.78M.

This is all fluid, of course, with Seattle able to cut players if they want, for example, or the Cardinals re-signing one of their own guys (Karlos Dansby, anyone?). The Cardinals could still also release a player or two that they know they won’t be moving forward with to create more cap room.

The Dansby situation is one that bears watching, in fact. There is enough cap room across the league that would allow more than a few other teams to money-whip Dansby if they so chose. Again, in the case of Dansby, I don’t see the Cardinals getting into a big bidding war. They will want to reward him, but within reason. Extra space also could play into potential Patrick Peterson negotiations.





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25 Responses to “Salary cap heading into free agency”

  1. By Mike on Feb 26, 2014 | Reply

    Darren, how does rookie (aka guys we’ll draft) fit into the equation? In other words, do we need to set aside ‘x’ amount of $ for the rookie contracts with our draft selections? Does it come from the same cap space? Is it separate? Or are rookies a very small cap hit, based on contract structure, even for 1st rd picks? Never knew how this works.

  2. By Darren Urban on Feb 26, 2014 | Reply

    Mike —

    RE: rookie cap

    Each team is given a rookie salary cap in which their class must fit. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need that much available from your normal cap, because in the offseason, the Rule of 51 applies — only the top 51 cap numbers on the roster count until the first week of the regular season — and usually the bottom half of your draft class will not fall into that 51.

  3. By Andy Kw on Feb 26, 2014 | Reply

    $15.2 is pretty decent but we can get more. It is time to cut OG Daryn Colledge and cut/trade ILB Jaspar Brinkley. I can’t believe we are giving RB Ryan Williams another chance. We could cut him him and save $1 million.

  4. By All day on Feb 26, 2014 | Reply

    I’m extremely excited for free agency. I really hope Albert goes to arizona and that we could possibly pick up another safety and running back. If Byrd goes to Cleveland then they would not be able to resign ward. But I don’t think well have enough room for ward Albert dansby and anyone else

  5. By Coach K on Feb 26, 2014 | Reply

    I think there is plenty of cap space available to do some damage. I expect a couple players to restructure also. So we are in good shape. Also, with several players moving up and down based on their combine workouts, I have released my latest Cardinals Mock draft. (Open for comments)

    Rd. 1- Kony Ealy, DE (huge upside)
    Rd. 2- Deone Bucannon, SS (the enforcer)
    Rd. 3- Joel Bitonio, OT (athletic and versatile)
    Rd. 4- Bruce Ellington, WR (slot receiver with family ties)
    Rd. 5- Deion Belue, CB (well coached- insurance)
    Rd. 6- Joe Don Duncan, TE (small school guy who can do it all)

  6. By Mike on Feb 26, 2014 | Reply

    Coach K –

    I like your mock for the most part, except would rather snag a CB in rd 1. Buccanon is a beast… would love him at 2 if Ryan Shazier doesn’t fall to us, which I doubt he will. I’m ok with Bruce Ellington. Any speedy slot WR I’m for later in the draft. Bitonio is a solid and underrated OT by most. However, should we sign Albert in FA, we can go DE/OLB in rd 3 instead, unless a stud, TE is available.

  7. By ryan on Feb 26, 2014 | Reply

    cmon CARDS! cmon KARLOS! sign on the dotted line!! we want you back!!!!

  8. By vsancards on Feb 26, 2014 | Reply

    Top priority is the Patrick Peterson contract. Everyone (including Dansby) need to wait IMHO.

  9. By Rich on Feb 26, 2014 | Reply

    Is it out of the realm of possibility that the Cards could renegotiate Colledge’s contract downward, and then trade him? The reasoning being that the Cards would gain all of that cap space (instead of only a small portion by cutting him), and the trade partner would acquire a decent OL guy at a representative price, and Colledge would be paid legitimately (although less) and be with a team that wants him. I never see that kind of stuff happen. Am I missing something?

  10. By Darren Urban on Feb 26, 2014 | Reply

    Rich —

    RE: Scenario

    Could they? Sure. Would that happen? Unlikely. If Colledge is going to be dealt anyway, he’d likely force them to cut him instead of taking a pay cut so he’d have control of his destination.

  11. By Big Ken on Feb 26, 2014 | Reply

    Good article Darren, cleared up alot of confusion and where the team stands at this point of the season cap wise. More changes to come for sure.

  12. By joe.holst on Feb 26, 2014 | Reply

    Having the most cap space in the NFC west is a good thing. It is not as much as it seems though as they have to resign some of there own players, extend some and leave money for draft choices and space going into the season in the event of injuries and needing to add other players

  13. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Feb 26, 2014 | Reply

    Recall, Keim in response to Dansby’s whiff at the Cards “aggressive offer” per Keim: “there is a reason we drafted Kevin Minter”… I recall Minter pancaking guys on special teams, just steamrolling…

  14. By Andy Kw on Feb 26, 2014 | Reply

    Coach K

    There are only 2 players I like in your mock draft: SS Deone Bucannon (Washington State) & WR Bruce Ellington (South Carolina).
    -The Arizona Cardinals are probably hoping for CB Justin Gilbert to fall to #20. If the Lions pass, we have a good chance on getting him at #20. I would assume Bucannon would fall to the 3rd Round but if he doesn’t, then drafting him at #2 would not be so bad. If we keep Andre Roberts, Bruce Ellington would be in the same role as Brittan Golden.

  15. By steve on Feb 26, 2014 | Reply

    Darren: Rich Eisen after running the 40 yd dash for 10 years at the combine finally broke 6 seconds. Were you surprised?

  16. By Darren Urban on Feb 26, 2014 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Eisen

    Can’t say I really cared.

  17. By Andy Kw on Feb 26, 2014 | Reply

    All Day
    -Picking up OT Branden Albert and a running back in Free Agency would be great. This team should avoid FS Jarius Byrd & T.J. Ward. They are built Free Safeties that we do not need. We have Rashad Johnson and a recovering starter Tyrann Mathieu.

  18. By Big Ken on Feb 26, 2014 | Reply

    Minter is our guy! Lets go. Lets get some helmets and pads and get it on!

  19. By All day on Feb 26, 2014 | Reply

    Andy Kw
    I don’t personally think Johnson is the guy. I think they should look to get someone who can cover tight ends up the seam but still help on the outside.

  20. By Coach K on Feb 27, 2014 | Reply

    Andy, I hope Gilbert falls as I had him as our first pick, but after that combine performance, I cannot see Gilbert falling below pick 15. So I tried to address the need for DE with Dockett at age 33. If we sign Albert, then we must address the areas where we have older vets and free agents possibly moving on. That is how I figured the mock and based on player rankings post combine. Thanks for the feedback.

  21. By Christian R on Feb 27, 2014 | Reply

    Coach K-

    Kony Ealy would be a great pick in the 1st. We could either pick him up at 20 or Demarcus Lawrence. Lawrence has more potential as a linebacker than Ealy would, but I think Ealy could be groomed as a replacement for either Abraham or Dockett. I’m still not sold on Bucannon in the 2nd. I like him and would love to see him in Arizona, but the coverage issues and lack of awareness are a couple red flags to me, and I can’t see him going earlier than the 3rd round. Joel Bitonio would be a good player to groom for a year or two, so we would still need a tackle from free agency if we drafted him. Bruce Ellington is my favorite pick you listed if he falls to 20 in the 4th. I would even give a 3rd for him. His biggest problem is that he may have a limited knowledge of routes, which can easily be fixed. I think you have Buele ranked higher than he deserves. Shouldn’t be picked before the 6th, and he may fall to the 7th. Tyler Larsen would be a good pick there. He’s an offensive lineman that the Cardinals could groom into a starter in a year or two, kind of like they’ve done with Watford and Massie. Reggie Jordan would be a better option at TE simply because he has more experience blocking, which is a big plus to Bruce Arians.

  22. By D on Feb 27, 2014 | Reply

    I am not surprised that B. McCann has not been resigned yet by the Cards with the draft as deep as it is for CB, but he is a known quanity on Special teams that could come back with the opportunity to pick up more snaps in the secondary with the injury to HoneyBadger.

    Does players like Ballard, Ta’amu and Benard have any incentive to sign an offer from the Cards (if they have one on the table) Now, or wait until free agency to see what options they may have? I believe they are all restricted.

  23. By Darren Urban on Feb 27, 2014 | Reply

    D —

    RE: RFAs

    Depends on their tender offers. If they don’t get high enough offers, sure, they’ll probably wait a bit. No reason not to, unless they fear the offer being pulled.

  24. By davemaham on Feb 27, 2014 | Reply

    Brandin Cooks may be a surprise pick for us in the first round. I can see trading down a few spots and picking him up.

  25. By Eazy E on Mar 1, 2014 | Reply

    He already walked once albeit they tried their darnedest to keep him. Don’t let him do that again, pay the man he balled out this year. MVP of our defense and the whole entire team!

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