Sitting a month out from the start of NFL Free Agency on March 18th, one of the biggest question marks has been what the salary cap would be for the 2021 season. With the COVID-19 pandemic limiting attendance at NFL games, the projected revenues for 2020 are expected to see a decline. In anticipation of that decline, the NFL and the NFL Player's Association agreed on a salary cap floor of no less than $175 million.
Well, today teams got a bit of good news. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the salary cap floor for 2021 will now be $180 million. There remains a possibility that the salary cap is higher, but it won't go any lower than that.
NFL informed teams today the salary cap this season will be a minimum of $180 million.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 18, 2021
If the salary cap is $180 million this year, that would mean a cap regression of $10 million from the 2020 season.
OverTheCap.com has been working with a projected salary cap for 2021 at $180.5 million this offseason, which leaves the Dallas Cowboys with $19.5 million in projected cap space for this season. The Cowboys currently rank 12th in salary cap space. Nobody has more than the Jacksonville Jaguars $77.5 million. The Indianapolis Colts are the team that has the best shot at significantly improving a roster that went to the playoffs in 2020 with $68 million in cap space.
The Dallas Cowboys' ongoing negotiations with Dak Prescott is the contract most impacted by the salary cap for 2021. Likely, progress hasn't been made on a long-term deal just yet because the two sides are waiting to see what the cap figure for 2021 will be. This information helps them know how best to structure the deal to fit within the 2021 salary cap framework.
Even with cap regression, the Cowboys can create cap space for 2021 to improve their team. However, they'll likely continue to bargain hunt and use the draft for their long-term fixes at certain positions like defensive tackle, safety, and cornerback.