Posted May 07, 2018 10:17:09 The salary cap has reached a critical point in the NFL.
With players making $8 million in 2018, the cap hit for next year is $16.4 million.
The average player makes $9.2 million in base salary and $3.5 million in bonuses.
While the league will likely continue to spend the vast majority of its money on players, a number of teams are looking at how they can get their teams to spend more money in the future.
Some teams, like the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers, are considering spending more on free agents this offseason to improve their rosters.
The New York Giants and Kansas City Chiefs both have a number the highest cap hits of any team, while the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals both have the highest projected cap hits in the league.
What teams should do to improve the roster?
The New England Patriots could spend more on the defense.
The team is currently projected to have a cap hit of $38.4 billion in 2018 and could easily spend a lot more to make up for the salary cap hit this offseason.
With Brady and the rest of the Patriots having their best season of the decade in 2018 they are set to have the league’s highest cap hit in 2019.
While New England would likely have to spend money to sign a free agent quarterback in 2019, they would still be able to spend in free agency, potentially signing a quarterback with a contract for at least $15 million in 2020.
A number of other teams, such as the Kansas City Royals and Arizona Cardinals, have a ton of cap room and can use that to improve rosters in other areas, such the front office.
Some of the other big free agent targets the Patriots could target include wide receiver Sammy Watkins, cornerback Darqueze Dennard, cornerback Stephon Gilmore, safety Marcus Peters, and safety Kenny Vaccaro.
The Patriots could also target another quarterback, like Alex Smith, but that is unlikely to happen, given Smith’s struggles in his first two seasons with the team.
Teams can use the cap space to improve other areas of the roster.
The Kansas City Raiders have the most cap space of any franchise and could potentially use it to sign free agents such as wide receiver Amari Cooper, defensive end Bruce Irvin, cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, defensive tackle Tyreek Hill, safety Eric Berry, and offensive tackle Tyron Smith.
Other teams could look to acquire another wide receiver, as well as a veteran quarterback in the offseason.
Some other teams could use the extra cap space, as the Los Angeles Chargers could target free agents including wide receiver Michael Crabtree, cornerback Sean Smith, and running back Melvin Gordon.
The Chargers would have $42.1 million in cap space in 2019 if they were to spend it on free agent running back Danny Woodhead, while they could use that money to add running back C.J. Spiller, offensive lineman Jonathan Martin, defensive lineman Kevin Williams, defensive tackles Chris Jones, and tight end Anthony Fasano.
The Indianapolis Colts would have the biggest cap hit on the team, at $37.6 million, with their projected cap hit at $24.8 million.
It is unknown if the team will spend money on a quarterback in free agent negotiations, but it is expected that general manager Ryan Grigson will look to add a quarterback and draft in the upcoming draft.
The San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets, and Oakland Raiders all have huge cap issues, with each team having at least three free agents.
The 49ers would have to use $36.9 million in 2019 to sign quarterback Blaine Gabbert, while a deal with the New York Islanders would allow the 49ers to take on Gabbert’s contract.
The Jets would have a $34.8 mn cap hit next year, with $18.8m of that being a 2018 cap hit, and $10.6m in 2019 and 2020.
The Raiders, with a projected cap of $33.3 million, could use some of that money on free agency signings, and could look at using some of it on other players.
The Arizona Cardinals could use $35.1 mn of cap space next year to sign receiver Larry Fitzgerald, and they could also use some that money for free agent signings.
The Los Angeles Rams could use a portion of that $10 million to sign wide receiver Tavon Austin.
The Houston Texans could use at least part of that same money to get offensive lineman Brian Schwenke, while wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins could use part of his $11.9 mn in 2019 cap hit to sign cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
The Washington Redskins could use all of that cap space if they want to sign linebacker Josh Norman.
The Tennessee Titans could use nearly $18 million in salary cap space for 2019 to add linebacker Ryan Anderson.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could use around $15.8M in 2019 salary cap room to sign running back Maurice Jones-Drew.
The Jacksonville Jaguars could