On Thursday morning, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the NFL and NFLPA have agreed to raise the 2021 salary cap to a minimum of $180 million. Initially, both sides agreed that the 2021 cap would be no lower than $175 million, so we see a slight bump here. Based on the league memo, $180 million isn’t final:
“This is not the final Salary Cap for the 2021 League year, which will be set following review of final 2020 revenue figures and other audit and accounting adjustment. This agreement simply increases the minimum 2021 Salary Cap by $5 million per club, from $175 million to $180 million.”
We’re now under a month away from the new league year beginning. That’s when teams can begin to negotiate with unrestricted free agents. If I’m the San Francisco 49ers, I will act as if $180 million is the final number. Anything higher would be a luxury at this point.
It probably won’t be too long before we see extensions for players like Laken Tomlinson or potential restructures to either Jimmy Garoppolo, Jimmie Ward, or another contract where the Niners could push money into future years. There really aren’t too many contracts on the roster San Francisco can continue to alter.
This was an out of the box thought that hasn’t come up when you consider the $180 million salary cap:
This free agency Gon be wild. Gonna be a lot of REALLY good players take one year rentals because that salary cap. Super teams type. IMO we Gon see tho— Chase Edmonds (@ChaseEdmonds22) February 17, 2021
That’s Arizona Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds. The thought of us seeing numerous one-year deals isn’t brand new. But the idea that we could see “super teams” ala the NBA is fun to entertain.
Who would qualify as a super team? The Rams are an obvious answer considering their defense and now that they have a competent QB. They were $23 million under the cap before the Matt Stafford trade. The 49ers have the most cap space in their division by a healthy margin. So if you’re fretting about the rest of the division loading up on talent during free agency, don’t you worry. Arizona and Seattle both have less than $10 million in cap space.
While Edmonds's theory could be entertaining, it’s far-fetched. It isn’t easy to picture several players signing one-year deals to join a hopeless franchise just because they have a lot of cap space for 2021.