2020 Salary ReCap: AFC East Edition

2020 Salary ReCap: AFC East Edition

It's that time of year again! Come March 18th, football season is officially back! No disrespect to the XFL, but there's nothing like the real thing. Now we can turn our attention to free agency and soon after, the NFL Draft. In advance of a potential new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the NFL and NFL Players Association are projecting the league's salary cap to rise to $200 million this season, marking the seventh consecutive year the cap has increased by at least $10 million.

 

The salary cap has rapidly risen since the 90s. The cap that was utilized in the 2000's was slightly over $62 million. Today, that is the typical combined salaries of an organization’s top 3 players! It’s important to note that this year's salary cap has yet to be finalized,  although the $200 million mark is almost concrete. Most teams are patiently waiting to extend or make offers to current and pending free agents until that number becomes official.

 

Using a $200 million salary cap figure I was able to project each team's spending power in free agency. These are obviously not exact figures and will absolutely change depending on where the final salary cap number lands. Once the CBA is wrapped up teams will start shedding salaries and looking at the free agent market. We’ve already witnessed a few notable cap casualties this season with Josh Norman and Prince Amukamara entering the free agent pool. Seattle also made a splash by scooping up veteran TE Greg Olsen to hopefully boost their receiving corps. 

 

The league year and free agency doesn’t officially start until 4:00pm EST on March 18th. However the action will start on March 16th when teams are legally allowed to negotiate with impending free agents. Since there are just a few short weeks away I decided to assess each team’s salary cap situation and predict where the available cap space will go. I also included each team’s likeliest cap casualty. Make sure to check back each day for the latest installment as this will be released in 8 parts. Today we’re breaking down my favorite division the AFC East!

 

 

Buffalo Bills 

Available cap space $82,280,713

 

Buffalo is probably in the best spot cap space wise. With a solid roster and the third most available cash, they should have plenty of power to do as they wish in FA. Upgrading the TE position looks to be near the top of their list as should acquiring additional WR help and someone to complement Devin Singletary in the backfield . Defensively, re-signing Shaq Lawson or replacing him will be a priority. 

 

Possible cap casualty 

T.J. Yeldon was only trusted with 30 touches last season. The emergence of rookie Devin Singletary relegated Yeldon to the sidelines. Even when Frank Gore was failing to produce much down the stretch, Buffalo still opted to keep Yeldon off of the field. His cap hit of almost $2 million should be enough cause to move on from the former Jaguar. 

 

Miami Dolphins 

Available cap space $88,075,174

 

Miami's roster has more holes than a pod of Dolphins, but they have the most cap space and plenty of draft capital. Fans have plenty to be excited about with the rebuilding process in full effect and Brian Flores showing he's to be taken seriously as a HC. Miami should be very active in FA, maybe finally landing a stud RB. Melvin Gordon, anyone? 

 

Possible cap casualty 

Albert Wilson is in the final year of his lucrative contract he got from the Adam Gase regime, but has only played in 20 games over the last two seasons. The Dolphins have depth at the Wide Receiver position after seeing the early season breakout out of Preston Wilson and the late season emergence of DeVante Parker. Miami would save $9.5 million against the cap if they parted ways with the underwhelming speedster.

 

New England Patriots

Available cap space $41,659,589

 

Anyone remember the last time that things were up in the air for New England? A lot of you probably weren't born yet! Belichick will have to work his magic, with Tom Brady in need of a deal as well as several defensive stalwarts including Devin McCourty, Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Danny Shelton. Second team All-Pro Guard Joe Thuney is most likely on his way out the door for the highest bidder. Belichick just has too many FAs and not enough money to compete for them. The hoodie will need to be as savvy as ever and have a great draft class if he wishes to remain on top of the division in 2020.

 

Possible cap casualty 

Mohamed Sanu would be somewhat of a surprise cut after they spent a 2nd round pick on him in the trade with Atlanta last season. However, after recently getting ankle surgery and the fact that the Pats would save $6.5 million against the cap. Parting ways with the veteran wideout is definitely an option. 

 

 

New York Jets 

Available cap space $49,403,190

 

Adam Gase and co. have some work to do. With several contracts that are easy to get out of and a good amount of cap space they could find themselves in the thick of things in FA. Top WR Robby Anderson is set to test his luck on the market. New York will need to get Sam Darnold a legitimate downfield threat. 

 

Possible cap casualty 

Brian Winters has one year left of his four year deal he signed back in 2017. The veteran guard is due $7 million, but his salary isn't guaranteed. The Jets would clear $7.2 million in cap space by releasing him. 

 

The AFC East has been a one horse race for almost two decades now. This offseason will prove pivotal in deciding if the status quo remains, or if another team is finally able to conquer the Patriots. With almost $250 Million in cap space, look for the AFC East to have several new faces in 2020. Make sure to tune in next time as we dive into the AFC North! 

 

 


6 comments

  • Micah John

    Great read, good insight and information, can’t wait for the next division!

  • David

    Good stuff! It’s crazy how quickly the cap has risen!

  • Bob Kazamakis

    This is a great read, I learned a lot of important information. I’m excited to read the rest of the articles!

  • Jeremiah

    I really enjoyed reading this! I can’t wait for the next article!

  • Eric Buttner

    Great read! I will definitely look forward to other articles you have to write!

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