The NFL salary cap will reach a record $224.8 million per team in 2023, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Media. That figure will mark an increase of just over $16 million from 2022’s cap of $208.2 million and allow clubs to plan their financial outlooks for next season.
2023 NFL Salary Cap Set at $224.8 Million
The NFL salary cap — determined by accounting for all of the league’s revenues, splitting the pot between owners and players, then allocating a set amount per team — almost always rises by a significant amount each year.
The only time the cap decreased in recent memory was in the 2021 season, when the NFL was sorting through the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic. With no fans allowed in stadiums in 2020, revenues were severely impacted, so the salary cap was reduced by nearly 8%.
Here’s how the cap has looked over the past decade:
- 2023: $224.8 million
- 2022: $208.2 million
- 2021: $182.5 million
- 2020: $198.2 million
- 2019: $188.2 million
- 2018: $177.2 million
- 2017: $167 million
- 2016: $155.27 million
- 2015: $143.28 million
- 2014: $133 million
Barring another global-altering event, the NFL’s salary cap shouldn’t see another decrease any time. Over the past two years, the league has taken a number of steps to augment its revenue streams even more dramatically. The 17-game season, new media deals with broadcast networks and YouTube (Sunday Ticket), and sports betting opportunities will bring plenty of extra cash into the NFL coffers.
Which NFL Teams Have the Most and Least Cap Space in 2023?
With the NFL salary cap officially set, we now have a solidified idea of which teams will have the most cap space in 2023. While not every club spends up to the cap, the amount of cap space owned by each team will give us a sense of how the offseason could unfold and who the major players will be.
Here are the teams with the most cap space heading into next year:
- Chicago Bears: $91.8 million
- Atlanta Falcons: $56.4 million
- New York Giants: $44.7 million
- Cincinnati Bengals: $43.7 million
- Houston Texans: $39.3 million
The Bears, Falcons, and Texans are all in the midst of rebuilds, and although they made the playoffs this season, the Giants are largely in the same boat. All four clubs have plenty of work to do in the coming months, and they’ll each be able to add several veterans to their roster.
The Bengals, having just lost the AFC Championship Game, are the most competitive of the bunch. They’ll have ample breathing room to add a few more pieces or extend their current core.
MORE: 2023 NFL Free Agents by Position
On the other side of the ledger, here are the clubs with the least cap space in 2023, all of whom are in the red:
- Jacksonville Jaguars: -$22.2 million
- Minnesota Vikings: -$23.3 million
- Tennessee Titans: -$23.6 million
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: -$55 million
- New Orleans Saints: -$58.6 million
All told, nearly half the NFL (14 teams) is projected to be over the cap next year. All clubs must become cap-compliant by the start of the new league year on March 15. Thus, these teams will have to trim some salary obligations, either by releasing players or restructuring or extending contracts to reduce their 2023 impact.