NFL increases minimum salary cap to $180 million in 2021

The NFL salary cap in 2021 has a new floor.

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported Thursday that, in a memo to teams, the NFL said the salary cap floor has been increased from $175 million to $180 million following talks with the NFLPA, per sources informed of the situation.

The memo in full reads:

“As you know, one aspect of the agreements negotiated last summer with the NFLPA to address operations during the pandemic provides that the 2021 Salary Cap will be no less than $175 million. Following discussions with the union that addressed both actual 2020 revenues and projected attendance for the 2021 season, we have agreed to increase the minimum Salary cap for the 2021 League Year to $180 million.

“This is not the final Salary Cap for the 2021 League Year, which will be set following review of final 2020 revenue figures and other audit and accounting adjustments. This agreement simply increases the minimum 2021 Salary Cap by $5 million per club, from $175 million to $180 million.

“We will promptly advise all clubs as soon as the Salary Cap is set.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc, the expectation has been that the salary cap would fall significantly from 2020’s $198.2 million budget. After years of increasing by tens of millions of dollars, the fall is expected to be precipitous. The new floor mitigates some of that decrease.

Until the official cap is set, teams won’t know exactly how much room they’ll have to maneuver through free agency in 2021. At the very least, the new floor gives clubs a starting point to begin making plans ahead of the new league year, which opens on March 17.

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