NFL Salary Cap Higher Than Expected, How Will It Affect The Saints?
The NFL salary cap for 2014 is projected to be around $130 million, about $3 million higher than expected, according to a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter. How will it affect the cash strapped New Orleans Saints?
In reality, not much. An increase in the salary cap also means an increase in franchise tag numbers. The most important free agent for the Saints is Jimmy Graham, and his contract negotiations have been well documented over the last week here. $3 million in extra cap space will minimally help the Saints.
The Saints will almost assuredly place the franchise tag on Graham on or before March 3rd. He'll be tagged as a tight end, which will absorb between $6.7 and $7 million of cap space. Graham has made it clear that he will immediately file a grievance to be tagged as a wide receiver, in hopes that he would get owed an extra $4.5 million under the tag.
Regardless of whether or not Graham would win a potential grievance case, the Saints don't currently have enough cap space to tag Graham as a tight end. They are sitting at around $125 million in cap money as of today. New Orleans must be below $130 million in salary cap money by March 11th.
A potential cut for the Saints could be defensive tackle Broderick Bunkley, who will carry a cap number over $6.1 million under his current contract.
New Orleans general manager Mickey Loomis still has a tough job in front of him. Whoever the Saints sign in free agency, look for most of the deals to be back loaded, shifting the cap numbers to future years.
NFL Insider Jason La Canfora of CBS echos my sentiments on how the cap increase will affect the Saints with a few tweets.