Dead money, cap hit and other NFL free agency terms explained


NFL free agency is approaching. There are several terms being thrown around at the start of the new league year and The Fantasy Footballers explain them.

It’s only a few days away, so get excited for 2020 NFL free agency. Even if you only care about the NFL in terms of the favorite team you grew up rooting for or for fantasy football purposes, free agency is tremendously important because veteran players you’ve grown accustomed to playing on a certain team may end up elsewhere next season. It has a massive effect on everything.

Even if you are a huge football fan, some of the terms being thrown around regarding free agency might be a little hard for you to understand, terms like “dead money,” “cap hit,” etc. Fortunately for us, The Fantasy Footballers were kind enough to explain a few of these key terms you’ll come across if you’re paying attention to NFL free agency this offseason.

Check out The Fantasy Footballers for all their advice

Jason Moore says “cap hit” means how much a player takes up in the annual salary cap in a given year. No, this is not necessarily the salary he is making for that campaign, but how big of a slice of salary cap pie he will be consuming in that particular year. Mike Wright adds the NFL has a hard salary cap, meaning every team has a set amount of money and you cannot go over it.

“Dead money” is essentially cash which has been guaranteed to a player formerly on a team who isn’t on the club any more. Usually, this money goes to players who were either cut or have been traded to another team. This money counts against the annual salary cap in the same manner as does a traditional cap hit. This is why players on terrible contracts often stick around for so long.

An unrestricted free agent means a guy has fulfilled his contractual obligations with his former employer and is allowed to sign wherever he chooses, unless he gets franchise tagged, then he’s back for one more year. A restricted free agent is a player who can sign an offer sheet with another team, but his current employer can match any offer sheet and use a tender on him if they want to.

Next. What is JuJu Smith-Schuster's fantasy football draft value?. dark

For example, placing a second-round tender on a restricted free agent means the player will get a bump in pay on a new deal with his current team. If another team were to sign him, the new team would have to give up a second-round pick to the team their poaching the restricted free agent from. For this reason, a player getting tendered almost certainly means he’s coming back.