We finally have a number, and that number is $133 million. The NFL has sent this memo announcing the 2014 salary cap to teams Friday afternoon, according to multiple reports.
It marks an increase of $10 million from 2013, the biggest year-to-year salary cap increase in NFL history.
This is far, far more than our estimates a month ago, giving the Broncos some breathing room. Does it mean the Broncos are more likely to re-sign Eric Decker? Probably not. Does it mean they have a better chance of keeping Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie? Maybe.
Does it mean John Elway has even more ammunition with which to be aggressive in free agency, as he always has been? Absolutely.
It's important to note that this $19.4 million cap estimate excludes two important factors:
- Taking away from the cap room: Restricted free agent tenders. I expect the Broncos to tender Chris Harris Jr. with a first or second-round tender, taking $2-3 million chunk out of this number. There are three other RFA's as well, and ERFA's (Exclusive Rights Free Agents) Duke Ihenacho and Trindon Holliday will likely get tendered.
- Taking away from the cap room: The rookie pool. The Broncos have to sign their draft picks, right? Over the Cap estimates it will cost Denver $1.3 million this year in cap space to do so. That number may change now that the official cap has been released.
- Adding to the cap room: Contract restructures and releases. The Broncos' prime candidate for a restructure is Champ Bailey, who's on the last year of his contract and whose $10 million deal is begging for an extension. Other possible restructures/releases to free up some cap room includeJacob Tamme, Joel Dreessen, and Chris Kuper.
Twitter jokes notwithstanding, I don't expect John Elway to go crazy with this news - he's proven to be a prudent negotiator so far - but this boost in the cap will help the Broncos in big ways this offseason.
Furthermore, it's expected next year's cap will bump an additional $10 million. With Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, and Von Miller all on the last years of their respective deals, the Broncos have found some breathing room in this news from the NFL.