With NFL free agency looming, there is a lot of talk about the salary cap and where teams stand. There are many teams that well positioned to make a big splash in free agency. With players like Le’Veon Bell, Kirk Cousins, and Eric Berry possibly available, there will be a lot of money thrown around the NFL. Here we examine the top cap friendly teams and what can we expect. Keep in mind that these numbers are with an estimated 2017 salary cap of $168 million. 2016 rollover is included. These numbers do not include cap savings from released players.
- Tennessee Titans – $67.6 Million
In 2016, the Tennessee Titans were big players in the market. They acquired DeMarco Murray via trade with the Philadelphia Eagles. Could they be players again? They certainly have the room to be. They need to get some secondary help and possibly a WR. If they are able to land a couple of players in these positions I could easily see them challenging for the AFC South in 2017. With $67.6 million under the cap look for the Titans to make a run at a couple of big name players when the league year begins on March 9.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – $72.8 Million
The Tampa Buccaneers should be busy in free agency. They will need to replace Doug Martin who may have suspended his way out of Bucs country with a PED suspension at the end of 2016. They will have a need to make some changes to their secondary. Starting safeties Chris Conte and Bradley McDougal are also set to be free agents. They may also want to consider re-signing DE William Gholston to keep their defense stable. The Bucs will also look to add some help at WR for QB Jameis Winston and fellow wideout Mike Evans.
- Jacksonville Jaguars – $73 Million
The Jacksonville Jaguars are a team that is in dire need of o-line help. They need to make sure they keep QB Blake Bortles upright. New Head Coach Doug Marone is sticking with the 5th year QB as his guy. If it is to work they will need to spend some money on that protection. They could also look at trying to add another running back. The money spent on last year on Chris Ivory may prove to be a waste. But then again, a failure in pass protection can also mean a troubling running game. This team is young and vibrant and could be a major player in the AFC South with the right moves.
- San Francisco 49ers – $81.8 Million
The San Francisco 49ers are probably the worst team in football. Yes, even worse than the Cleveland Browns folks. The 49ers need help at almost every position on the field. They have a running back that cannot stay healthy, a QB who does not want to be there, cast off WRs, and a struggling defense. They w have a new head coach who got the job by default http://theinscribermag.com/kyle-shanahan-gets-job-nobody-wants/. With nearly $82 million in the bank, they should be huge players in the free agency game. One name to keep an eye on will be QB Kirk Cousins. If he is unable to reach a long-term deal with the Washington Redskins, one of the first moves for Kyle Shanahan could be a trade for his QB.
- Cleveland Browns – $108.7 Million
The Cleveland Browns have a crazy amount of cash to spend. With $108 million in the bank, I would expect them to be BIG, BIG players in free agency. They need to focus on the trenches. Offensive and defensive lines will help the Browns continue their turn around. I know, record wise they were the worst team in football. But as an organization, they are turning it around. They are ready to put out their dumpster fire and turn up the heat on the 49ers. The Cleveland Browns need to throw some money around in the offseason and see where they can get it to land.
As I stated in the open, these salary cap numbers are with an expected cap of $168 million and 2016 roll over. They can go up depending upon player releases and restructures. No matter how much money is available there will always be a surprise. The more money, however, the bigger the contract and maybe the happier the player! Unless you are Albert Haynesworth!