ESPN's Adam Schefter was the first to report that the NFL salary cap is increasing.
NFL's salary cap now projected to rise to about $130 million, up 5 percent from $123 million last year, per league sources. More $ for all.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 20, 2014
There has been no official word from the NFL about a cap increase, so the $130 million figure could be just an estimate.
This is great news for the teams obviously, but the NFLPA has to be ecstatic as well. This 5% bump equates to around $224 million dollars of extra money for the players. Now not all 32 teams will work themselves right up to the cap, but more money added to the pie is always a good thing.
NFL Teams were prepping their off season plans with an estimated cap number of $126.3 million. The extra cash will come in handy for teams looking to keep a few of their own free agents. A team like the Chicago Bears, with so many players coming out of their contracts, will now have some wiggle room when negotiation with the guys they'd like to return.
According to Over The Cap, the Chicago Bears have $7,604,726 in available cap space. This number does not reflect the potential veteran cuts that are likely to go down. Julius Peppers, Michael Bush, Eric Weems, Adam Podlesh or Earl Bennett could all be cap causalities, giving the Bears even more money to work with.
A possible restructuring or extending of a few contracts would give Bears GM Phil Emery even more cap space. Brandon Marshall is a prime candidate for an extension. The recent deals the Bears handed out all had a provision for a potential restructure built in.
Over The Cap also lists the 2014 rookie pool estimates, and they predict the Bears will need $2,029,163 in cap space for their seven draft picks. If Emery trades down that number will obviously change.
EDIT - I spoke with CBS Chicago's Dan Durkin via twitter and he informed me that the Bears rookie pool will be right around $2.5 million.
The extra money could be exactly what Phil Emery needs to keep Charles Tillman in Navy and Orange. It may make it more likely that they bring back one or more of their defensive linemen. If Henry Melton is fully recovered from his knee surgery, could he return to his Pro Bowl form? There seems to be mutual interest from both parties on a return to Chicago.
Emery upbeat about Henry Melton and says #Bears would like to re-sign the DT. Melton told me this week he'd like to return.— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) February 20, 2014
The increased cap also gives them extra cash to make a few plays in the secondary free agent market. Last year there were a few teams that waited out the initial rush and found some bargains.
Then again, it could be the little something extra that entices a top free agent to come to Chicago. Would safety T.J. Ward, center Alex Mack or defensive end Michael Bennett be more willing to leave their situations for an extra million or two annually?
The bottom line is, if the Bears really want a guy, they will figure out the money to make it happen.
What are your thoughts on the salary cap increase and on how it could affect the Bears?