What is salary cap? It's a number the league sets on how much their players will make for a NFL season. They adjusted it for this season, allowing teams roughly ten million dollars more to spend. The number comes to 133 million dollars.
Thirty one teams would love to use free agency to get better on both sides of the ball, filling their roster with players that have experience and can make a real impact for the team, in a positive way, to try and win the Super Bowl. The Seattle Seahawks are the one team who wants to try and keep their core group together, or add new role-players to try and repeat as the champions. But how does salary cap interrupt some of these plans?
Manage Current Assets:
First, teams need to cut players, to get under the given cap number. One of those teams happen to be the Dallas Cowboys. This is why we should expect to see restructured contracts within the next week or so, or even releasing players that are well known. The National Football League is a business, and this could mean we see people like Miles Austin or DeMarcus Ware, or another player paid a lot of money released.
If a team is under the cap, such as the Oakland Raiders or the Indianapolis Colts, they don't need to do much, if anything at all about their role players. They find themselves in a comfortable place, and yet a releasing of a high paid, veteran player isn't ruled out, it's not a necessity either.
Stick To The Plan:
Second, teams need to look at their space when March 11th rolls around, along with their team needs and the players available. The free agency period is going to be crazy tracking it and watching it happen, but front offices need to be sane during this period. Good management doesn't overpay for a player, and they agree on a price range for a player before free agency begins. Overpaying for a player could mean cap casualties and troubles further down the road. They also, obviously, will be looking at team needs. There is not a quarterback of elite caliber out there, but you wouldn't pursue one with a big contract, if you had Andrew Luck on the team. Teams need depth at some positions, to compete in their division or their conference. The Seahawks built depth at the defensive line, and that helped them win their division, gain home-field advantage in the NFC, and the rest is history. It's a necessity to be smart and aware of your team's needs when bidding for players around the league. Teams should also be careful to be careful of who they give big contracts to, such as Matt Flynn when he signed with the Seahawks.
Character & Longevity:
Third, they need to look to the future when it comes to free agency. Is this player a good scheme fit? Will this player make the immediate impact we need from him? Is this player loyal and dedicated to the team, and will he continue to work hard and compete? Will we possibly regret giving this player a big contract, two years down the road? And in some cases, if the player is coming off a serious injury, they need to look at their durability in the tough, grinding league.
Teams can give themselves a new identity through the free agency period. Will Dallas create a new identity this offseason? Will Dallas fill their defensive line with dependable depth? Only time will tell. And that time is called Free Agency.