The NFL’s new league year begins in two weeks on March 17th, and it is crazy to think at this point in the process the 2021 salary cap number for teams has yet to be known. Not just to fans, but also to the organizations themselves.
It was reported in January how teams might not know what the exact number until days leading up to the new league year.
Think about that. The pressure now placed on NFL organizations to make decisions on certain players with high salary cap hits could lead to many players being released as a “cap casualty”.
Just recently, ESPN’s Dianna Russini received a text from an NFL head coach about these upcoming roster cuts, and the response was both shocking and expected.
Just texted with an NFL head coach about the upcoming cuts and what he expects…— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) March 3, 2021
“It’s going to be a massacre next week all around the league”
Using the word “massacre” might be a bit much, but this is exactly what is going to take place if the salary cap dips to the $185 million range many expect.
Just think of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster, and their salary cap situation. The Steelers are bellied up to the cap already, and are facing many tough decisions on several players who carry heavy cap numbers entering 2021.
The Steelers, like many teams, have options. They can offer extensions to these players, if they feel they are worthy of one, and push money back into the later years of the deal to help ease the salary cap burden in 2021.
This is all based on the assumption the salary cap decline will be a one year issue, and a rebound is imminent in years to come.
The other option, and what the NFL coach was referring to, would be cutting these players to alleviate cap space. This is going to put a massive amount of veteran players on the open market looking for a home. Could these players come at a discount? Or will at team will cap space be ready to move on these experienced players looking to improve their roster?
Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure, the NFL is about to experience something it hasn’t in the modern era — a major decline in the salary cap. This will have a ripple effect in many ways, and how it impacts teams like the Steelers has yet to be determined.
Expect the unexpected is a good approach across the NFL landscape.