The 2021 NFL Salary Cap Won't Likely Bottom Out at $175 Million, but the Bears Still Have Work to Do

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The 2021 NFL Salary Cap Won’t Likely Bottom Out at $175 Million, but the Bears Still Have Work to Do

Chicago Bears

Living through a global pandemic has changed some perspectives.

For instance, here’s an image via NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero featuring league Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith together on a stage:

Is this the first of many pleasant surprises in 2021? Will this meeting of the minds inspire cheeseheads and Bears backers to break bread this offseason? Does this mean members of Chiefs Kingdom and Raider Nation will link arms in a sign of togetherness? Is it possible that the Lions will stop fighting themselves in what is the NFC North’s other big rivalry? It’s too soon to tell. But anything is possible if Smith and Goodell can share a spotlight together.

With that being said, allow me to pivot to share hope that is possibly on the horizon:

Smith’s belief that that the 2021 NFL salary cap will be above the $175 million floor that was set last offseason is most encouraging. A $175 million cap floor was installed when projections looked bleak for the NFL as it maneuvered through a pandemic. A drop of nearly $25 million from the 2020 cap would’ve been a tough hit to swallow, even with allowed rollover space. Moreover, since teams project cap increases every year, a sharp dip would’ve caused mass calamity and possibly flooded the market with high-priced talent that was too expensive for teams to hold onto for 2021. For what it’s worth, Pelissero reports the cap “will ultimately land closer to $185 million per club.” And while it could even be higher than that, $185 million is better than initial projections.

Ultimately, updated projections are better than the earlier iterations. But to be clear, an increase to a $185 million cap floor doesn’t cure the Bears’ problems. They’ll still need to cut players to get under the cap (they’re currently around $192M), then create more space in order to sign (and in some cases, re-sign) players to build a competitive roster. Oh … and did I mention that Chicago still needs to squeeze in a quarterback — a position where cap numbers get to be pretty pricey? Yeah. There’s work to be done.

In the end, I feel good about the NFL beating previous projections. That means the league did better than expected and can allow teams to spend (somewhat) freely. But temper your expectations a bit. The Bears still have a far way to go.

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.