The NFL salary cap increased $10 million dollars this year, going from $123 million to $133 million. The new CBA and new TV deals with both CBS and DirecTV are expected to drive it significantly higher over the next two years. CBS paid an estimated $250 million for the right to show the first 8 Thursday Night Football games of the season, which translates to an additional $4 million in available salary cap for every team. The new deal between the NFL and DirectTV was signed in October, and increased the money the league receives by 50%, going from $1 billion to $1.5 billion per year for the exclusive rights to the NFL Sunday Ticket package. Estimates have gone as high as $145 million for the 2015 season and $160 million for the 2016 season when the money from the various deals starts to go into the salary cap.
The NFL Management Council reportedly informed teams yesterday that next year's salary cap projects to between $138.6-141.8 million. CBS Sport's Jason LaCanfora reported this last night, also adding in that this number could end up being higher which would put it closer to the $145 million that was speculated earlier this year.
NFL Management Council informed teams at league meeting today '15 cap projects b/n $138.6M-$141.8M. I bet it ends up higher. Often does— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) December 10, 2014
How does this affect the Washington Redskins? The team has several tough decisions coming up regarding the future of certain players in Washington. Robert Griffin III's 5th year option seemed like a sure during his rookie season when the team won the division for the first time since 1999, but then his knee injury in the playoffs put question marks on everything. He's been benched for various reasons in the last two seasons, and speculation has gone from 'Will the Redskins pick up the 5th year option?' to 'Will he be on the team next season'. The 5th year option looks like it will be at least $16 million(higher with a higher cap) for the 2016 season, and that decision is due in May next year. The option is guaranteed for injury, and at this point, it doesn't look like the Redskins will use it on Griffin, instead opting to either let him play out the final year on his rookie deal or attempt to trade him.
The Redskins also have other players who have contracts that will need to extended, re-signed, or not offered in the next two years including LT Trent Williams, RB Alfred Morris, OLB Ryan Kerrigan(5th year option for 2015 used this year), and others. The team will also once again have a lot of holes to fill on the team next year, and will have to use free agency for some of them. The team has it's full allotment of draft picks this year, and is looking at a top 6 pick right now, but there will be a lot of players currently employed by the Redskins who will be looking for work next year. If the speculation that Jay Gruden could be a 'one and done' coach comes true, the changes to the roster could be even more drastic. Washington has tried to get away from being the retirement home of the NFL, but for some players, it is still the land of milk and honey, and an extra $20 million/year will help with the kind of splashy rebuild Dan Snyder might enjoy.
[UPDATE: 12/11/14 11:00AM] NFLPA claims the NFL is understating the amount the cap will increase
A memo sent by NFLPA cap and contracts guru Mark Levin to all agents, player representatives, and the NFLPA Executive Committee, a copy of which PFT has obtained, outlines this concern.
"As you may have read, recent media reports from the NFL owners meetings in Dallas projected the 2015 NFL Salary Cap to be between $138.6 and $141.8 million," Levin writes. "Last year, these same ‘projections' called for a flat cap that was ultimately a $10 million increase from the previous year. The salary cap is inextricably tied to League revenues and as we saw last year, substantial increases in revenue will lead to substantial increases in the salary cap."