Arizona Cardinals Salary Cap Status
By Erich Becker
The Arizona Cardinals enter the offseason with some questions in the checkbook
With the season officially over (it may take another few weeks before we’ll stop saying that), the tide now turns to money and roster positions. With Free Agency starting next month look for the Cardinals, as well as the 31 other teams, to start to see what they can do about salary and where room can be made.
There could be an entire book created to explain how everything that happens in regards to salary, well, happens, but General Managers are paid to get the best 53 guys on the roster come September and made that work within the confines of the Salary Cap.
Unlike other sports, the NFL uses a hard cap, meaning the team must be under it before the season begins, other sports allow teams to go over the cap but charge a luxury tax for doing so, Major League Baseball, for instance. The NHL also uses a hard cap like the NFL and the NBA’s soft cap and luxury tax is an lesson in itself, especially when keeping players already on your team.
With a hard cap the cap is suppose to raise yearly, for the 2016 league year it is widely expected that the cap will increase to between $150m and just below $153m. Currently, the way the roster is structured now, and all returning players, actually return, the Arizona Cardinals are just north of $143m according to OverTheCap.com.
Again, this is only returning players, players who are on the last year of their deal are not counted towards the cap, because they do not have a contract. With all that being said, the Cardinals have between $7m and $9m to work with in the offseason, and that just can’t work when you look at the needs they have at various positions. If you, as a GM, are just going to use the draft to restock your team with young, raw talent, you’re in the clear as rookie contracts, with the scale system, rarely put you behind the 8-ball, but free agents, that’s where the real talent and money lies.
The top 10 hits to the cap next season are below, a few might surprise you:
[table id=17 /]
See anyone that you may not have seen on the football field this season? While we try not to talk about the elephant in the room that is the former number-58 on the team, his cap hit is significant, even being cut, his hit to the cap would be $5.5m.
From the standpoint of lots of players making big dollars, the team is relatively healthy, after the top 10 you see here, Justin Bethel pops up with his new deal and then things taper off into the under $2m range, very manageable salaries for some very talent guys, including Tyrann Mathieu who is expected to get a new deal this offseason to keep him with the team for the foreseeable future.
The possibility of reworking deals is possible, Calais Campbell’s contract, for instance, is a good candidate for a rework as the savings for cutting him (which won’t happen) is nearly $10m and the savings for cutting Michael Floyd (again, unlikely) are around $7.3m.
Things will start to get exciting as we get closer to March and the new year, keep checking back to see where the Cardinals are in reference to the cap!