The NFL salary cap for the 2021 season will be $182.5 million, according to a report by Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal.
The $182.5 million salary cap represents a drop of eight percent or $15.7 million from the 2020 figure of $198.2 million.
The reduced cap figure is the first time the NFL has seen a salary cap decrease since 2011 and comes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic depressing league revenues, which are the major factor in the annual formulation of the salary cap figure.
The lowered cap figure will spell trouble for a number of teams, which will need to cut, extend or restructure players’ contracts to get under the cap threshold before the start of the new league year on March 17. According to OvertheCap.com, 10 teams are in the red when compared to the new cap figure.
The lowered cap was not entirely unexpected, though. The league and players association had already agreed to a salary cap that would be no lower lower than $175 million, as part of the return-to-play agreement following the start of the pandemic. That figure was increased to $180 million after the end of the 2020 season.