Salary cap set at more than $155 million

Posted by Darren Urban on February 29, 2016 – 10:07 am

The NFL Players Association announced today that the 2016 salary cap will be $155.27 million, about a $12 million jump from 2015. It’s a sizable number. With the slightly more than $3 million the Cardinals carried over from their leftover 2015 cap, General Manager Steve Keim will have a salary cap of about $158 million with which to work this season.

With that number, both and estimate the Cards will have between $19M and $20M of cap space going into free agency. The Cardinals have seven players that are scheduled to have cap hits of at least $5 million in 2016:

— QB Carson Palmer $17.88M
— WR Larry Fitzgerald $15.85M
— DT Calais Campbell $15.25M
— CB Patrick Peterson $13.07M
— T Jared Veldheer $9M
— WR Michael Floyd $7.32M
— G Mike Iupati $5.7M

Of those players, it makes the most sense to adjust the numbers of Campbell and Floyd through extensions. Otherwise, Keim and the front office have already figured out their plan for free agency through these numbers. There will be teams with tons of cap room, in order to overpay a player if they chose. The Cards will do what they do — target free agents at a certain price, and if they can’t convince them to sign, then move on. The “legal tampering” part of free agency begins in a week. Actual agreements cannot begin until March 9, a week from Wednesday.

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34 Responses to “Salary cap set at more than $155 million”

  1. By Steve on Feb 29, 2016 | Reply

    Darren: With the Cards having around $20 million of cap available, do you think it likely that Keim makes at least one big ticket free agent signing similiar to Iupati’s deal last year?

  2. By Darren Urban on Feb 29, 2016 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Big ticket

    It wouldn’t shock me either way. I think it’ll depend on who they are targeting.

  3. By All day on Feb 29, 2016 | Reply

    Not a fan of Campbell’s cap hit… Could restructure and extend to get some more space for one of the top pass rushers. Considering he’s not a good pass. Danny Trevathan I like and Malik Jackson too. Wouldn’t mind Von Miller but you know how that goes 😉

  4. By Scott H on Feb 29, 2016 | Reply

    Darren –

    Palmer is under contract through the 2017 season, yes? Would you see any benefit to maybe extending him beyond that? I see the possible benefit of giving the team some more cap space this year. And if Palmer can continue to play as he has the last 2 seasons, I certainly don’t mind knowing he will be here for at least another year.

    I know he is 36, but Brady is older than that and the Pats just extended him for another 2 years. And age does not appear to be affecting Palmer.

    Don’t know when they will be drafting a QB they feel could be their future, but THAT player having a few seasons to watch and learn behind Palmer could only be a good thing.

  5. By Darren Urban on Feb 29, 2016 | Reply

    Scott H —

    RE: Palmer extension

    I don’t see them doing another deal with Carson right now.

  6. By DTL on Feb 29, 2016 | Reply

    Fwiw, seems C. Palmer worth every penny, perhaps underpaid based on performance and W-L compared to top salaries at QB?

    All 3 at top could come off in next 1 to 3 years meaning big changes coming by 2018, 2019 or 2020 for Cards.

    Saw BA interview on nfl network (Starks, what a babe): BA said its simple, just play NFL Championship game at home. Lol, loved that… Go Cards.

  7. By D on Feb 29, 2016 | Reply

    so many teams with tons of money for free agency, I don’t see AZ signing big name players this spring…unless they will take Mr. Keim’s set # to win.

    I don’t blame the players, they have to make as much as possible…

  8. By Andy Kw on Feb 29, 2016 | Reply

    The Cardinals are heading in the wrong direction. Re-signing Drew Butler is the worst decision this team has made. Amos Jones staying does not help either.

  9. By Darren Urban on Feb 29, 2016 | Reply

    Andy Kw —

    RE: Wrong direction

    The worst decision this team has made … seriously? Think about what you are saying there.

  10. By Xeano on Feb 29, 2016 | Reply

    Darren, do you see a long term deal for Floyd being worked out this offseason? Or might they wait until next year? Also, do you think Antonio Cromartie could be returning this year? He did thrive as #2 corner last year, and I doubt he’s after money by this point of his career. I’m guessing he might consider it.

    $20,000,000 is actually quite a bit of room to work with. Impressive what Keim has done to manage the cap so well in just a couple years. Quite impressive.

  11. By Darren Urban on Feb 29, 2016 | Reply

    Xeano —

    RE: Floyd/Cro

    Cro isn’t coming back. As for Floyd, I think they could look into it, but I’m not sure how quickly they want to get something like that done.

  12. By MostlyRight on Feb 29, 2016 | Reply


    I’m assuming a cut (finally) of DWash after June 1st. How much would that add to our cap and dead money? Enough cap to cover our rookies this year? In other words, do we have a full $19-20 million available without even figuring restructures for Campbell and/or Floyd I’d we cut DWash when it finally makes financial sense to do so?

  13. By Darren Urban on Feb 29, 2016 | Reply

    Mostly —

    RE: DWash

    Again, I don’t know the DWash particulars right now. I’m not 100 percent sure cutting him now wouldn’t actually decrease cap space.

  14. By MostlyRight on Feb 29, 2016 | Reply

    “if we cut”…

  15. By Andy Kw on Feb 29, 2016 | Reply

    I’m talking about this offseason so far.

  16. By Darren Urban on Feb 29, 2016 | Reply

    Andy —

    RE: Offseason

    They’ve made, like, three decisions.

    Try not to panic in February.

  17. By MostlyRight on Feb 29, 2016 | Reply


    May have answered my own question. Overthecap and sportrac suggest a DWash cut now would save $2 million of his $7.5 hit, leaving $5.5 million dead money. Bad! After June 1st, we can recover $4.5 million with $3 million dead money. Much better. I’m just not clear how this situation is affected if he is still not reinstated. My understanding is he stays under contract for the number of years he has been unavailable, but we don’t have to pay until reinstatement. Do we then get access to the cap space he would have taken?

    Really wish the NFL, NFLPA, or whomever would do something to help put this behind the organization, reinstatement or not.

  18. By Darren Urban on Feb 29, 2016 | Reply

    Mostly —

    RE: Hit

    But that DWash $7.5 hit I believe includes his salary, which would not count if he is suspended.

  19. By Kevin on Feb 29, 2016 | Reply

    Don’t get me wrong I love Campbell, but with that big of a cap hit Steve has to think about cutting him if a new deal can’t be reached. He under performed in 2015 and you have to worry that maybe he is on the decline and not worth the heavy price tag. With many great pass rushers on the market and some good ones in the draft the cut might be the way to go. When we can resign Freeny who played less time and contributed more sacks and a game winning force fumble seems viable. Now Freeny won’t be every down player, but that’s why we take the extra cap space and go after some young fast pass rushers.

  20. By CreditCard on Feb 29, 2016 | Reply


    When is the Cap limitations tested by the NFL, who does it, and when does a team have to be in compliance with the cap. Lastly, what penalties are assessed to a team if they are in violation to the cap limits.



  21. By Darren Urban on Mar 1, 2016 | Reply

    CreditCard —

    RE: Cap

    Once the cap is in place — in this case, the 2016 cap runs with the top 51 rule (the top 51 cap numbers on the roster) starting with the new league year March 9. The entire roster — practice squad and injured list included — must fit under the cap beginning with the first week leading into the regular season. If a team is found to violate the cap with a certain contract, the NFL rejects the contract. If a team sneaks its way around cap limitations, the league gives penalties. This has happened in the past with the 49ers and Broncos, for example.

  22. By CreditCard on Feb 29, 2016 | Reply


    Sorry, one more question.

    If my memory has it correct, Dwight Freeney was paid a certain “base” salary plus there was an incentive of $100m per sack after (I think) the 4th sack.

    How does (or if) incentive salaries are calculated regarding cap limitations?

  23. By Darren Urban on Mar 1, 2016 | Reply

    Credit —

    RE: Incentives

    Incentives are based on “likely to be earned” and “not likely to be earned.” In a nutshell, the “likely” ones must be accounted for on the current cap. The NLTBEs can be accounted for the following season. There is a formula to determine what is likely and not likely. I would guess the Freeny incentive, based on his recent history, was NLTBE. But this is a guess.

  24. By dynosoar on Feb 29, 2016 | Reply

    Adrian Wilson a team scout. I like how that sounds. Someday Steve Keim will retire and A-Dub will be waiting in the wings. (Then again, I really don’t want Keim retiring anytime soon. I love depth and our scouting department has depth and as SK does on field, he just added more depth.)


    Play our best and let the season play out.

  25. By Eazy E on Mar 1, 2016 | Reply

    Why not trade our #1 pick and next year’s for a Von Miller if he is signed with the franchise tag? Forget all this developing this guy and that guy and go get The guy!

  26. By DrewCards on Mar 1, 2016 | Reply


    I know its very early in the FA process, but if he wasnt asking for a ton of money could you see Keim targeting Eric Berry?

  27. By Darren Urban on Mar 1, 2016 | Reply

    DrewCards —

    RE: Berry

    I do not see them targeting a high-priced veteran safety.

  28. By John The Draft Guy on Mar 1, 2016 | Reply

    Easy E,

    I agree giving up two 1’s for Miller would be an easy decision for me. The bigger issue is his salary. If he is looking for Suh money, that may be too rich.

    Unless you land a QB and wr in the draft and let Palmer and Floyd go in 2017. Now, you have a cheap QB for 4 years and can afford a guy like that. Otherwise, it would be tough.

  29. By Darren Urban on Mar 1, 2016 | Reply

    JTDG, Eazy —

    RE: Miller

    He was given the exclusive franchise tag. He can’t be signed away even if you were willing to surrender the No. 1 picks.

  30. By John The Draft Guy on Mar 1, 2016 | Reply

    This is interesting;

    Grant it, it means nothing at this point, but this guy was a stud at ASU. He is the type of guy who would fit in well as Ellington’s replacement.

  31. By NYC Cards on Mar 1, 2016 | Reply

    Darren, your thoughts on the Cards giving a prove it contract to Mario Williams?

  32. By Darren Urban on Mar 1, 2016 | Reply

    NYC —

    RE: Williams

    Why would he need to play for a prove-it contract?

  33. By NYC Cards on Mar 1, 2016 | Reply

    I guess i meant more of a limited contract simialr to the ones Dansby and Weatherspoon got. Im guessing Cards (or any team) would not sign him to a long term team but it woujld take at least 2yr/$12M to bring him in, no? Would this be an offer (or in the same neighborhood) that they might consider making?

  34. By Darren Urban on Mar 1, 2016 | Reply

    NYC —

    RE: Mario

    Just did a post:

    IMO, he’s going to get better offers than that. If you’re gonna go short, you might as well go one-year and try FA again next offseason.

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