The NFL reportedly provided teams with two of the most important things for the next season on Monday: the salary cap and franchise tags for every position group. For the second year in a row, the salary cap has risen significantly, reaching a record $224.8 million for each team.
It’s a $16.6 million increase compared to last year. Following a $15.7 million drop in 2021 due to the pandemic, the ceiling increased to $25.7 million in 2022.
The Chicago Bears will have $98.6 million in cap space entering the 2023 offseason, by far the highest in the league. The Atlanta Falcons are expected to have the second-most cap space, with around $56.4 million available. The top five are the Baltimore Ravens ($51.2 million), Cincinnati Bengals ($44.5 million), and New York Giants ($44.4 million).
The new cap also fixes the franchise tag numbers for the upcoming season. Lamar Jackson and the Ravens have the most notable franchise tag issue heading into the summer. They may use the nonexclusive franchise tag on Jackson, which will cost $32.4 million guaranteed but will let the former MVP to negotiate with other clubs.
Other players reported to be franchise tag candidates this offseason are Raiders running back Josh Jacobs and Giants Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones.
Burrow is in the final year of a four-year, $36.1 million contract signed as the No. 1 pick in the 2020 draft. His basic pay is $11,515,044 each year. That contract contains a fifth-year option for 2024, but the Bengals have declared openly that they will be proactive in dealing with Burrow’s contract situation.
However, the Bengals are also in talks with quarterback Joe Burrow about a long-term deal, and the Giants are facing similar big-money decisions with quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley.
There is one exception in terms of how much the franchise tag will be worth for a few upcoming free agents. If tagged again, Chiefs offensive tackle Orlando Brown, Bengals safety Jessie Bates, Cowboys tight end Dalton Schultz, and Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki would all earn 120% of their previous pay.
With the 2023 salary cap set at $224.8 million per club, the nonexclusive franchise and transition tag numbers are now set as well. pic.twitter.com/QRcOpLXbQZ
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 30, 2023
Here’s an overview of the salary cap from the year since 2012:
2023: $224.5 million
2022: $208.2 million
2021: $182.5 million
2020: $198.2 million
2019: $188.2 million
2018: $177.2 million
2017: $167.0 million
2016: $155.3 million
2015: $143.3 million
2014: $133.0 million
2013: $123.0 million
2012: $120.6 million