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NFL, NFLPA agree to salary cap ceiling for 2022 season

The agreed-upon figure projects to be a sizable increase over this year’s $182.5 million.

NFL: JAN 30 Super Bowl LIV - NFLPA Press Conference
DeMaurice Smith, the Executive Director of the National Football League Players Association
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NFL front office and the NFL Players Association agreed on the 2022 salary cap ceiling Wednesday as both entities work to chart the league’s economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Next season’s cap figure will be no higher than $208.2 million, which represents a presumptive 14% increase over the 2021 number of $182.5 million, per multiple reports. NFLPA leaders sent out a letter to players following resolution of the matter, per Tom Pelissero.

Basically, both sides are expecting a significant financial bounce back after the 2020 season saw a revenue shortfall and forced suspension of player benefits, which the union and league agreed to as amendments to the current CBA. Those amendments ensured full paychecks for the season, but $17 million in benefits went unpaid.

If revenue exceeds that cap ceiling, which seems plausible given the new TV deals and return to full capacity at stadiums, that excess cash flow will help to satisfy those canceled benefits while allowing for an accelerated cap recovery.

Dan Graziano noted that this development puts the league ahead of where some feared.

On a micro level, this is appears to be a somewhat positive turn of events for the Buccaneers. While it’s not a guarantee that the official cap will be that $208.2 million, it’s almost certain to be higher than this year’s figure. After maneuvering the fiscal constraints to keep the Super Bowl roster essentially intact, the team already has roughly $183 million in commitments for next year.

While it was unrealistic to expect another complete return, the team should have some room to negotiate deals for at least a few of their top pending free agents, including WR Chris Godwin, CB Carlton Davis, OL Ryan Jensen, and S Jordan Whitehead.

Several of those names will be looking for a big pay day, pending this year’s results, so GM Jason Licht and Co. can use all the help possible.