NFL free agency begins: Jets, Browns have most salary cap space
The New York Jets will have more salary cap space to sign free agents than any other NFL franchise when the league’s 2018 year officially kicks off on Wednesday afternoon.
The Jets, who went 5-11 during the 2017 season, have more than $89 million in available cap space, according to calculations by Over the Cap, a salary cap tracker. The winless Cleveland Browns rank second with roughly $82.5 million in cap space, followed by the Indianapolis Colts with $72 million, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with $68.7 million and the San Francisco 49ers with $67 million.
All NFL teams will enter the 2018 season with a salary cap set at $177.2 million, up from $167 million last season. The salary cap, which is calculated based on the NFL’s revenue, has increased by at least $10 million for five consecutive years and by more than 44% since 2013.
While teams are not allowed to officially sign players until free agency begins at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, the NFL does allow clubs to negotiate with the agents of unrestricted free agents in a 48-hour window before that time. As such, some teams have already reached agreements in principle with free agent players. For example, free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins is purportedly set to sign a fully guaranteed contract with the Minnesota Vikings later this week.
The NFL allows teams to carry over any extra cap space to the next league year and also mandates that all teams spend at least 89% of the salary cap.
A full breakdown of salary cap space for all 32 NFL teams can be viewed here.