COVID-19 continues to affect the NFL's salary cap which isn't expected to get back on track with increases until 2023. The 2020 season saw almost no fans in stadiums which affected team revenues. Fans returned to the stands this year, but teams are still hedging, and holding off on a full return for player salary cap money for a little longer.
The NFL sets their salary cap every year in March, and it was steadily rising by $10-12 million since 2013. A new CBA was signed in 2012 after a lockout, and TV deals pumped a ton of money into the league’s coffers which allowed the pot to grow for players. Another new new round of TV deals will go into effect next year, pumping more money into the NFL's coffers.
Ian Rapoport says that the salary cap will likely be $208.2 million for 2022. This is a $26 million increase over last year's cap number. The cap dropped $15.7 this year, but was expected to bounce back the following year once everything got closer to normal.
The 2022 NFL Salary Cap is expected to reach the max of $208.2M — which means spending should be back.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 5, 2021
My story with @TomPelissero on the return of economic normalcy: https://t.co/INu4NnAQIw
Salary cap is still about $10-$12M off where it would have been without Covid. Assuming that they have paid back all the Covid losses from 2020, 2023 is the year where there there should be a meaningful raise— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) December 5, 2021
The Washington Football Team still has ~$10.3 million available according to Over the Cap. There are a lot of moves that need to be made this offseason that will have a big effect on how much money they will have going into free agency.
Washington has to figure out what they are going to do with RG Brandon Scherff who played on the his 2nd franchise tag last season. He made $18 million last year, and would make ~$26 million if he gets tagged again next year. That's not going to happen, and it hasn't seemed like a long-term deal will either. Washington has been trying to get that done since after his 3rd season here to no avail.
Speaking of rookie contracts going into their final seasons, two big ones are coming up next year. Terry McLaurin and Montez Sweat were both drafted in the 2019 draft and are eligible to get extended after the season ends. Obviously Washington wants to lock up McLaurin long-term, but will the decision be as easy for Sweat. They have Chase Young who will be returning from a torn ACL, and then a group of inexperienced backups. They also have Daron Payne who is entering his 5th and final year in 2022. There are other players who have played a big part in Washington's new direction over the last two seasons that could see extensions(Wes Schweitzer, Ereck Flowers, J.D. McKissic). They can also start looking at the contract of Landon Collins who averages $16.2 million over the last 3 years of his contract, and will save them $6.6 million if they decide to move on next year.
Overall Washington is in good shape with their cap going into Ron Rivera’s third season as head coach. They will have the 5th-most cap space in the NFL($61.6 million), and will be in position to re-sign their own players, and make moves in free agency. Washington still has to figure out if they have their QB for the future on the roster, or if they will go shopping in the draft or free agency. That will be affected by how these final 6 games plays out, and where they pick in next year's draft
Salary Cap by year:
2022: $208.2 million
2021: $182.5 millio
2020: $198.2 million
2019: $188.2 million
2018: $177.2 million
2017: $167 million
2016: $155.27 million
2015: $143.28 million
2014: $133 million
2013: $123 million
2012: $120.6 million