While the NFL is expected to see the 2020 salary cap exceed $200 million for the first time, we’re looking at it possibly spiking to $240 million in 2021.
2021 is the year to be an NFL free agent.
This upcoming season is slated to be the final year of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. With a steady increase in annual allotment, the salary cap is projected to exceed $200 for the first time. The 2019 season was a shade under that mark at roughly $188 million.
However, we’re potentially in store for a massive spike well beyond $200 million for 2021 as a new CBA — which would replace the existing one upon its ratification — is signed off on by the NFLPA in the coming days.
According to FanSided‘s Matt Verderame, the “NFL salary cap could potentially reach $240 million in 2021. The 2020 projected cap is $200 million and could settle as high as $204 million depending on a few factors.”
For several years, we’ve seen salary cap increases of roughly $10 million annually under the current CBA. However, there are several factors that could lead to as much as a $40 million spike for 2021, or $36 million if the salary cap does reach as high as the reported $204 million.
The first thing is an increase in television revenue and other such streams. Online and mobile streaming has gained steam since the last CBA was agreed upon, so this opens up more potential viewing opportunities for the NFL to showcase its product. Let’s not forget about an increased international audience with games being played in London and Mexico City.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the new CBA being discussed features potential expansion to 17 regular-season games, as well as adding a seventh playoff team to each conference as soon as 2020. It’s unclear when the league will go to a 17-game schedule, while the playoff format is believed to go into effect immediately.
One more week of regular-season games ensures the NFL of 16 more contests to negotiate with prospective television and streaming partners. Adding two more playoff teams gives the NFL two more games to air on Wild Card Weekend, not to mention creating a third viewing window during the Saturday/Sunday slate where there used to only be two.