- The Chicago Bears have the most space remaining under the NFL’s salary cap
- The Baltimore Ravens have been the biggest spenders this offseason
- A look at the salary cap situation for each of the NFL’s 32 teams can be found below
The NFL’s salary cap system puts a limit on how much money a team can spend on players in a particular season.
The current collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and NFL Players Associations specifies that players receive 48% of the league’s revenues each year. The revenue comes primarily from media contracts, playoff and Super Bowl ticket sales and each team’s local revenue.
The players’ total is then divided by the league’s 32 times, giving each team its individual salary cap.
What Is the 2023 NFL Salary Cap?
The salary cap for 2023 is $224.8 million. While teams cannot exceed that figure, there are various ways to manipulate the cap by pushing more money into the future to create more current cap space.
Signing bonuses are usually paid to players immediately. However, signing bonuses are prorated over the life of the contract or five years – whichever is shorter. The player receives his money instantly, but the team does not sustain the financial impact all at one time.
Teams can restructure contracts to open space. By converting base salaries – money players earn during each week of the season — into prorated signing bonuses, clubs can create additional cap space.
2023 NFL Salary Cap Space Available
|New York Jets||$24,382,295|
|Green Bay Packers||$16,567,483|
|New Orleans Saints||$14,271,778|
|New England Patriots||$14,124,960|
|Los Angeles Chargers||$12,612,249|
|San Francisco 49ers||$10,719,232|
|New York Giants||$3,824,536|
|Las Vegas Raiders||$3,367,129|
|Los Angeles Rams||$1,493,514|
|Kansas City Chiefs||$652,557|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||$401,791|
The Bears, Panthers, Jets, Cardinals and Lions are the top five teams with the most current NFL salary cap space as seen in the table above. With $32,578,173 the Bears have the most space free. Source: OverTheCap.com.
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Which NFL Team Has the Most Salary Cap Space?
The Chicago Bears have the most cap space remaining at $32,578,173.
This is not surprising because the Bears are in rebuilding mode after going 3-14 last season with quarterback Justin Fields, who is set to begin his third season, being their centerpiece player. Typical of a rebuilding team, the Bears have many younger players on their roster with lower salaries.
However, general manager Ryan Poles has a lot of money to play with if he wants to seek upgrades between now and the start of training camp in July during the NFL off-season.
Day 25 of posting a Justin Fields highlight until people stop calling him a RB.
— BearsAnalyst (@NFLsAnalyst) May 31, 2023
The Carolina Panthers ($27,249,322) and New York Jets ($24,382,295) have the second- and third-most cap space. Like the Bears, both missed the playoffs last season.
Who Has Least Salary Cap Space?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in a bad spot financially three years after winning the Super Bowl as they have just $401,791 in cap space. That limits what GM Jason Licht can do to improve a team that won the NFC South last season, albeit with an 8-9 record.
What is particularly hurting the Buccaneers is over $75 million in dead money, which is being paid to players no longer on their roster. Eating up a lot of that total is quarterback Tom Brady, who retired after last season – apparently for real this time – and is owed just over $35 million this year.
Right behind the Buccaneers in cap purgatory are the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs ($652,557) and Miami Dolphins ($1,314,327).
Ravens Big Spenders
The biggest spenders this NFL off-season have been the Baltimore Ravens as they have signed players to contracts totaling just over $300 million. Yet Ravens GM Eric DeCosta still has $11,535,327 left in cap space if he wants to upgrade the roster after the Ravens went 10-7 last season before losing to the Cincinnati Bengals in the first round of the playoffs.
The Ravens’ biggest expenditure was signing quarterback Lamar Jackson to a five-year, $260-million contract extension. The deal includes $135 million in guaranteed money – Jackson initially wanted the entire contract guaranteed – and has an average annual value of $52 million.
Lamar Jackson throwing the football pic.twitter.com/TySZ1kLboB
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) May 24, 2023
The New York Giants have been the second-biggest spenders at $251 million and the New Orleans Saints have shelled out $236 million. The Giants re-signed quarterback Daniel Jones to a four-year, $160-million pact with $81 million guaranteed and the Saints also spent big on a QB with a four-year, $150-million contract for Derek Carr that includes $60 million in guaranteed money.
Who’s Left on NFL Free Agent Market?
Arguably the top player remaining on the free agent market is wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who was recently released by the Arizona Cardinals. The Chiefs and Buffalo Bills are speculated to be two of the top potential landing spots for Hopkins, though Kansas City GM Brett Veach would need to do some cap maneuvering.
Other notable free agents include edge rushers Frank Clark, Jadeveon Clowney, Leonard Floyd and Yannick Ngakoue; running backs Ezekiel Elliott, Kareem Hunt and Leonard Fournette; and cornerbacks Ronald Darby and Marcus Peters.