It's Friday afternoon, which means NFL teams are getting some last minute work done to close out the week. Teams still have a week and a half to get thing squared away for the new year, but with franchise tags allowed until Monday, it seems as good a time as any to finish up some business.
The most notable is not surprising news. The Seattle Seahawks officially announced they released wide receiver Sidney Rice, and defensive tackle Red Bryant. The moves were expected throughout the offseason, with rumors picking up over the last week or so. In releasing the two players, the Seahawks will save $12.8 million in cap space. I believe they were in the $5 million range before the moves, so this would seem to give them upwards of $17 million in space. I'm not entirely certain of that number, but they obviously get a sizable increase with the moves.
Rice has been injury prone and the time came to part ways. I do think he'll sign on elsewhere, but it's basically a shot in the dark at this point. There's upside, but the potential for that upside to hit is pretty slim. Bryant can still contribute, but his $8.5 million cap figure was simply untenable. He could still return, but the Seahawks will likely use that space to try and lock up Michael Bennett first.
In other news, the Philadelphia Eagles re-signed Jeremy Maclin to a 1-year contract that has $3.5 million in guaranteed money, and could be worth up to $6 million. The two sides were working on a deal, and this kind of prove it deal gets Maclin some money, but also puts him in a position for a big pay day if he can prove he's healthy.
On the franchise tag front, the Carolina Panthers are going to tag defensive end Greg Hardy, the New York Jets are going to tag kicker Nick Folk, and Jimmy Graham tweeted that he had been informed he was tagged by the Saints. The deadline to tag is Monday, and there's no reason to expect the 49ers to tag anybody.
The final bit of news is more speculation for now, but it could be a big deal if it comes to pass. The NFL and NFLPA are wrapping up the 2014 salary cap figure, with it expected to hit $133 million. Adam Schefter tweeted out earlier today that the new television deals could get the 2015 salary cap up around $140 million, and the 2016 salary cap up near $150 million.
Players can benefit if their agents do a good job with negotiations. Teams can still benefit in terms of retaining their own players. And of course, teams that draft well will remain at the top of the pecking order. They'll be able to extend their young talent, and replenish elsewhere. Even with big boosts in the cap, paying wholesale remains preferable to paying retail.