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NFL salary cap set at $208.2 million; Washington has $33.38 million in cap space heading into free agency

Washington has the 9th most cap space in the NFL

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NFL: Washington Football Team at New York Giants Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL sets their salary cap every year in March, and it had been 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. That changed last year as the NFL looked to spread out some of the losses from the last two years. The cap dropped $15.7 million from 2020 to 2021, but it has bounced back this year. The NFL officially set the 2022 salary cap at $208.2 million, which is a $25.7 million increase. It also equals a $10 million increase over the last two years.

The Washington Commanders still have $33.4 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 is trying to renegotiate S/LB Landon Collins contract. He has a $16 million cap hit this year, and two more high-priced years after that. Washington can save almost $6.5 million if he’s cut pre-June 1st, and almost $11.9 million with a post-June 1st designation. They want to keep after his play improved with a move to the Buffalo nickel role last season, but he has the biggest cap hit on the team this season.

Washington is also very unlikely to work out a long-term deal with RG Brandon Scherff. He was franchise tagged each of the last two offseasons and made $18 million last season. Two other moves Washington could make to clear up cap space are cutting Matt Ioannidis ($6.88 million) and Deshazor Everett ($2 million). Ioannidis hasn’t been productive in Jack Del Rio’s defense, becoming a forgotten man for long stretches. Tim Settle is a free agent and the team could move on from Ionman to bring Settle back. Everett is facing involuntary manslaughter charges from a fatal car crash last year and it’s only a matter of time before he is quietly released from the team.

A big priority for Washington will be trying to work out a long-term deal with WR Terry McLaurin who is entering the final year of his rookie contract. This is the first time the team has been able to negotiate a new deal with their #1 WR, and they met with his agent last Friday at the Combine to start negotiations. Nothing will likely get done until Washington figures out their QB situation, and other positions get more clarity. McLaurin is expected to command a large contract, and Washington is anxious to get this deal done.

Overall Washington is in good shape with their cap going into Ron Rivera’s third season as head coach. They currently have the 9th-most cap space in the NFL, and will be in position to re-sign their own players, and make moves in free agency, which starts on Wednesday, March 16th at 4pm. They are still trying to find their next QB via trade, but might have to wait until free agency to try to find their guy.

Salary Cap by year:

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