COVID-19 has affected the NFL's salary cap the last few yes, but it was 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 last year, but teams were 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. The NFL Sunday Ticket is expected to have a new provider next year which will be another massive deal.
Ian Rapoport says that the salary cap could reach more than $220 million for 2022. This is a $11.8 million increase over last year's cap number.
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 Commanders still have ~$6.53 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 a lot of positions that need to be filled or upgraded next season. The offensive line has been dealing with injuries all year. They also tried to replace Brandon Scherff(free agent) and Ereck Flowers(released) with Andrew Norwell and Trai Turner. Washington’s center situation was supposed to be locked up when Chase Roullier signed a extension, but he has suffered season-ending injuries two years in a row. Washington has Charles Leno and Sam Cosmi/Cornelius Lucas at tackle, but will need at least one more long-term solution at the position.
Washington looked like they were ready to move on from Daron Payne before the season started. They reportedly weren’t planning on offering him a new contract, and drafted DT Phidarian Mathis in the 2nd round. Mathis went down in Week 1, and Payne has been balling out in his contract year. He now has 8.5 sacks, and has been playing at a Pro Bowl level alongside Jonathan Allen. If Washington wants to keep him it’s going to be expensive. They have the franchise tag available if they want to go down that route again to keep him for at least another season.
They also have decisions to make on 2023 free agents like QB Taylor Heinicke, LB Cole Holcomb, Tyler Larsen, and others. The Heinicke decision will depend on how the season ends. Washington is currently in the playoff hunt, and sit with the 8th seed as they enter their bye week. They return with a home game against the Giants and a playoff berth, and a win or two will go a long way in Heinicke’s contract negotiations with this team, or the next one if Washington decides to move on. Washington has zero commitment to Carson Wentz after this season, and it’s more likely that Heinicke will be here next year if the team continues to win.
Overall Washington is in good shape with their cap going into Ron Rivera’s fourth season as head coach. They will have the 15th-most cap space in the NFL($19.3 million), but that includes the $26.2 million cap hit for Carson Wentz next season.
Salary Cap by year:
2023: $220 million*
2022: $208.2 million
2021: $182.5 million
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