NFL salary-cap space for all 32 teams: Who's set to spend, who needs to save?

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Which player do teams need to go after in the NFL offseason? (1:15)

Dan Orlovsky and Laura Rutledge discuss which player a team should be prioritizing in the 2021 NFL offseason. (1:15)

NFL free agency kicks off next week and teams will be working with a salary cap of $182.5 million for the 2021 season, an 8% decrease from the $198.2 million cap in 2020. The cap has risen every year since 2011, but the reduced revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic forced a drop for next season.

That drop should make for a pretty entertaining few weeks as teams try to get below the cap before the start of the new league year on Wednesday. Teams are permitted to start contract negotiations Monday with agents of players who will be free agents and teams can sign players beginning at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday.

The Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts look to make the biggest splash, while several clubs are still trying to dig out of a negative cap hole.

Based on the Roster Management model with some adjustments from our NFL Nation reporters, here's a breakdown of the salary-cap space and needs for every team as of 8 p.m. ET Thursday.

Jump to:
ARI | ATL | BAL | BUF | CAR | CHI | CIN
CLE | DAL | DEN | DET | GB | HOU | IND
JAX | KC | LAC | LAR | MIA | MIN | NE
NO | NYG | NYJ | LV | PHI | PIT | SF
SEA | TB | TEN | WSH

Jacksonville Jaguars

Overall cap space: $74,403,593

Offense: $64,840,018

Defense: $62,368,214

Special teams: $6,753,239

Analysis: The Jaguars have the most salary cap space available, so expect them to be big spenders in free agency. That may not mean they're only going after the big names at positions of need (tight end, receiver, interior defensive line, safety, corner). GM Trent Baalke: "We're looking for value. That isn't always the most expensive player." The good thing is that if the Jaguars do want to spend big they don't have to worry about big-time extensions for homegrown players for at least a couple of years (maybe receiver DJ Chark?). -- Michael DiRocco


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1:08

Can Sam Darnold still be successful in the NFL?

Dan Orlovsky and Dianna Russini make the case that Sam Darnold can succeed in the NFL.

New York Jets

Overall cap space: $70,302,286

Offense: $76,290,281

Defense: $43,424,331

Special teams: $3,589,275

Analysis: While many teams are struggling in a reduced-cap year, the Jets are sitting pretty. They have the ability to acquire any player that becomes available, either in free agency or via trade. It's nice to have that kind of flexibility, but GM Joe Douglas says he doesn't want to build through free agency. That said, look for the Jets to be cautiously aggressive. They hope to address the offensive line and linebacker, and they will look at wide receivers and edge rushers if the prices don't get crazy. They can create another $4.8 million if they trade QB Sam Darnold, which looms as a possibility. -- Rich Cimini


Indianapolis Colts

Overall cap space: $63,660,607

Offense: $63,268,356

Defense: $59,526,628

Special teams: $4,396,666

Analysis: The Colts, as has been the case throughout most of Chris Ballard's time as general manager of the team, have some of the highest cap space available. The pressing needs are left tackle, receiver and pass-rusher. The first two are even more important with the addition of quarterback Carson Wentz, who was acquired from Philadelphia. Ballard prefers to sit back and let the market be set on players first before racing out to try to sign free agents. So don't be surprised if the Colts aren't in the mix for some of the headline-grabbing players who quickly agree to deals. -- Mike Wells


New England Patriots

Projected overall cap space: $56,316,719

Offense: $59,547,746

Defense: $79,004,840

Special teams: $3,387,520

Analysis: After a 2020 offseason in which they were tight to the salary cap, the Patriots endured that pain for this year's big gain -- they are in the envious position of having significant salary cap space at a time when most don't. The expectation is that they will be aggressive to fill a significant number of needs, especially at receiver and tight end. Of course, no spot is more important than quarterback and they have a big question there as well. -- Mike Reiss


Cincinnati Bengals

Projected overall cap space: $43,913,987

Offense: $74,566,137

Defense: $68,280,080

Special teams: $2,749,982

Analysis: The Bengals wanted to be as flexible as possible with the reduced salary cap for 2021 because of limited league revenue during COVID-19. Cincinnati will have plenty of space to contend for high-end players during free agency and fill key needs such as offensive guard, wide receiver and edge rusher. The current cap space also doesn't account for any potential cuts for players such as defensive tackle Geno Atkins, who represents $9.5 million in cap savings. -- Ben Baby


Washington Football Team

Overall cap space: $38,833,822

Offense: $68,463,836

Defense: $85,607,833

Special teams: $2,565,000

Analysis: Washington enters free agency with plenty of cap space but that doesn't mean it will spend wildly. They will be aggressive for some expensive players, but, as in 2020, they'll be equally content to sign bargains. That's how they signed productive players such as running back J.D. McKissic and tight end Logan Thomas last season. Washington will be mindful of the future. Coach Ron Rivera wants to build a sustainable winning roster and knowing they'll have to sign young players to extensions, whether now or in coming years, will factor into their spending. -- John Keim


Denver Broncos

Overall cap space: $31,763,935

Offense: $76,533,740

Defense: $83,860,193

Special teams: $8,063,333

Analysis: The Broncos still have decisions to make on option years for safety Kareem Jackson and linebacker Von Miller and possible pay cuts or other adjustments in the contracts. If one or neither player is retained, the Broncos could clear more than $20 million in additional salary cap space but would also be without two defensive starters. The Broncos have the room to sign safety Justin Simmons to a long-term deal, sign their draft class and be aggressive in free agency. General manager George Paton has floated the idea about sitting out the initial free-agency frenzy to make some targeted signings a bit later. But they have the flexibility to play it both ways. -- Jeff Legwold


Miami Dolphins

Projected overall cap space: $30,423,032

Offense: $69,264,511

Defense: $85,161,448

Special teams: $4,880,413

Analysis: The Dolphins don't have back up the Brinks truck money to spend like last offseason, but their cap situation is still in pretty good shape due to many of their young core players being on rookie contracts, so expect them to be active on the free-agent market. This offseason, the priority upgrades between free agency and the draft should center on playmakers, with receiver and running back of particular interest. -- Cameron Wolfe


Carolina Panthers

Overall cap space: $29,816,792

Offense: $74,717,918

Defense: $55,741,426

Special teams: 2,290,000

Analysis: Carolina has gone from middle-of-the-road to plenty of cap space and can be aggressive in free agency. They are in position to make a deal should a quarterback like Deshaun Watson become available in a trade. A long-term deal with right tackle Taylor Moton is on the priority list. After that, rebuilding the offensive line, adding a top-flight tight end through free agency (see Hunter Henry) or the draft and upgrading at middle linebacker is critical to taking a step forward. -- David Newton


Los Angeles Chargers

Overall cap space: $25,677,147

Offense: $79,100,316

Defense: $79,962,728

Special teams: $2,360,000

Analysis: Unlike a lot of teams in the league, the Chargers find themselves in decent cap shape. And with their franchise quarterback Justin Herbert in the second year of his rookie deal, they don't anticipate a huge jump there. The only questions remain with tight end Hunter Henry, who the Chargers retained with the franchise tag in 2020 before declining to offer it again in 2021, and defensive end Melvin Ingram. The Chargers find themselves in an enviable situation with a strong roster and nine draft picks. -- Shelley Smith


Cleveland Browns

Overall cap space: $25,472,349

Offense: $136,090,685

Defense: $54,875,226

Special teams: $2,778,334

Analysis: After investing heavily in its offense last offseason, Cleveland will shift to the defensive side, where several holes need to be addressed. Despite committing more than $60 million in guaranteed money to the offense last year -- a franchise record -- the Browns still have the space to add an impact player or two to their defense in free agency. Finding a pass-rusher to complement Myles Garrett is the priority, but Cleveland has needs at linebacker and in the secondary, as well. The Browns, however, will have to be judicious with their spending, with several possible internal extensions looming, including, potentially, QB Baker Mayfield. -- Jake Trotter


San Francisco 49ers

Projected overall cap space: $24,658,006

Offense: $87,113,435

Defense: $76,931,949

Special teams: $4,610,331

Analysis: The 49ers aren't exactly flush with space, particularly given how many key free agents they have set to hit the market, but things also aren't so dire that they're going to have to lose all of those players either. A big chunk of this space will be dedicated to trying to keep left tackle Trent Williams and if he stays, the Niners are unlikely to make any splashy outside signings. If he leaves, however, the 49ers could be a bit more active than expected with some of the bigger names on the market, especially on the offensive and defensive lines. -- Nick Wagoner


Houston Texans

Overall cap space: $20,772,667

Offense: $90,069,174

Defense: $69,403,328

Special teams: $7,776,666

Analysis: New general manager Nick Caserio has made several cash-saving moves since he took the job -- releasing J.J. Watt, Nick Martin and Duke Johnson and restructuring David Johnson's contract -- and has created nearly $18 million of cap space for 2021. But while the Texans have several big holes on the roster, don't expect the team to make splashy moves in free agency. -- Sarah Barshop


Seattle Seahawks

Projected overall cap space: $20,654,125

Offense: $84,536,170

Defense: $65,966,122

Special teams: $8,881,538

Analysis: Releasing Carlos Dunlap freed up $14.1 million but also created another hole on the Seahawks' roster. In addition to pass-rushers, they have needs at cornerback, running back and offensive line, where Russell Wilson wants upgrades. But only having around $20 million in cap space and four draft picks -- with no first- or third-rounder -- means the Seahawks will likely stick to their MO of bargain additions instead of high-priced signings. General manager John Schneider always likes to set money aside for in-season pickups, and he'll also want to save some of his spending for June with the expectation that more good players than usual will become available then due to the NFL's lowered salary cap. -- Brady Henderson


Tennessee Titans

Projected overall cap space: $20,503,114

Offense: $102,402,839

Defense: $ 50,097,762

Special teams: $4,860,000

Analysis: After averaging 30.7 points per game (4th-most in the NFL), the Titans are among the NFL leaders in most cap money invested in their offense. That number will increase if they re-sign free agents Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith. Building up a defense that had trouble getting to the quarterback (19 sacks) and keeping teams out of the end zone (69.2% opponent red zone scoring) will be the top priority for Tennessee. The Titans won't have much room to make a plethora of free-agent moves, which makes it critical to find less expensive impact players in the draft. -- Turron Davenport


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1:26

Orlovsky: Dak's new deal comes with sky-high expectations

Dan Orlovsky explains how the expectations have ramped up for Dak Prescott with his new contract.

Dallas Cowboys

Overall cap space: $18,540,136

Offense: $133,529,714

Defense: $63,630,026

Special teams: $6,113,333

Analysis: Even with the addition of Dak Prescott's megacontract, the Cowboys moved under the cap with ease. Prescott will count $22.2 million against the cap, but the team restructured the contracts of offensive linemen Zack Martin, Tyron Smith and La'el Collins to create roughly $17 million in room. While the Cowboys will have the chance to sign top-end free agents, they are more likely to look to keep some of their own and make strategic moves to help the defense unless they see a deal that is too good to pass up. And if they have to they can always look at reworking the contracts of receiver Amari Cooper, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence and running back Ezekiel Elliott to add even more room. But remember, every dollar they add to this year's cap takes away from future caps. -- Todd Archer


Las Vegas Raiders

Overall cap space: $17,762,270

Offense: $97,757,916

Defense: $67,540,124

Special teams: $3,478,334

Analysis: The Raiders will be able to add another $14 million in cap space once the Trent Brown-to-the-Patriots trade becomes official on March 17, getting them up to $33.7 million-plus. Throw in backup QB Marcus Mariota, who has a cap number of $11.35 million, and the Raiders have room to make moves. But where to start? Of course the defense in general, the secondary in particular, needs an overhaul and cornerback Richard Sherman should be a prime second-wave target in free agency to teach youngsters Trayvon Mullen, Damon Arnette and Johnathan Abram not only new DC Gus Bradley's scheme, but how to be pros. Offensively, the Raiders need a vet receiver (re-signing Nelson Agholor without breaking the bank would be nice) as well as a durable and dependable offensive lineman after last week's purge (ditto Denzelle Good). -- Paul Gutierrez


Baltimore Ravens

Overall cap space: $17,601,896

Offense: $61,586,972

Defense: $90,724,466

Special teams: $8,660,000

Analysis: The Ravens' cap space will allow Baltimore to address wide receiver, offensive line, outside linebacker and the defensive line in free agency. Baltimore ranks in the bottom five in the NFL in terms of cap allocated to the offense, but that will change when the Ravens sign quarterback Lamar Jackson and tight end Mark Andrews to big-money extensions. It'll be interesting to see how much the Ravens invest in targets for Jackson in free agency. Right now, Baltimore has allocated $7 million of cap space to its wide receivers, which ranks as the seventh smallest in the NFL. -- Jamison Hensley


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1:30

Does J.J. Watt make the Cardinals contenders?

Dan Graziano and Marcus Spears break down the impact of J.J. Watt signing with the Cardinals.

Arizona Cardinals

Overall cap space: $15,184,209

Offense: $81,808,918

Defense: $82,658,601

Special teams: $2,093,750

Analysis: The Cardinals are in an good place thanks to J.J. Watt not breaking their salary-cap bank and the release of cornerback Robert Alford and his $7.5 million in cap space. They have enough to sign one or two bigger-name players on deals similar to Watt's as well as to stock up on role players they need. They have needs at cornerback, wide receiver and running back and will rely on the draft to get some of that work done. -- Josh Weinfuss


Minnesota Vikings

Overall cap space: $9,123,620

Offense: $75,509,155

Defense: 87,680,380

Special teams: $3,519,166

Analysis: Minnesota got under the cap by releasing tight end Kyle Rudolph, kicker Dan Bailey and left tackle Riley Reiff and restructuring the contract of punter Britton Colquitt all in a matter of a week. The Vikings don't have a ton to spend in free agency but could make an important move on the offensive line with an abundant group of UFA guards, many of whom were released as cap casualties. The team is going to need to be "creative," according to general manager Rick Spielman, as it negotiates extensions and restructures contracts by pushing money into future years, or determines it has to release players outright to free up money to improve other areas of the roster. -- Courtney Cronin


Pittsburgh Steelers

Projected overall cap space: $5,552,089

Offense: $72,659,813

Defense: $92,954,864

Special teams: $6,723,333

Analysis: Once well over the salary cap because of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's league-high $41.2 million hit, the Steelers did what they do best and used accounting wizardry to get under the salary cap by the start of the new league year. The team and Roethlisberger agreed to a new one-year deal that voids after the 2021 season and lowered the cap hit by $15 million. Retirements of Maurkice Pouncey and Vance McDonald, along with restructuring the contracts of a few high-priced veterans, helped bring the Steelers under the cap, but they don't have much wiggle room to sign a significant free-agent class -- at least not without cutting a few veterans. -- Brooke Pryor


Buffalo Bills

Overall cap space: $5,295,320

Offense: $65,997,248

Defense: $110,557,847

Special teams: $1,941,056

Analysis: The Bills spent big on their roster last year, but the drastic drop in the salary cap impacts what they're able to do this offseason. They've already begun the process of clearing cap space by restructuring Mitch Morse's contract, but GM Brandon Beane will have to continue to move money around in order for the Bills to make the moves necessary to keep them in the AFC title hunt. Offensive linemen Jon Feliciano and Daryl Williams are realistic re-signings. -- Marcel Louis-Jacques


Detroit Lions

Projected overall cap space: $4,411,782

Offense: $85,189,836

Defense: $76,134,686

Special teams: $780,000

Analysis: Detroit is full-bore in rebuilding mode and with a tighter cap, the Lions aren't going to have much room to maneuver for free agents. Lions coach Dan Campbell said they could end up going with midlevel free agents early on as they construct the roster and general manager Brad Holmes wants to build through the draft. If the Lions want to restructure Jared Goff's contract when he officially joins the roster at the start of the league year cap space could change. That cap space does not include Tyrell Williams' one-year contract agreed to earlier this week or the release of Justin Coleman on Thursday. -- Michael Rothstein


New York Giants

Overall cap space: $4,368,370

Offense: $81,909,743

Defense: $87,264,828

Special teams: $8,817,250

Analysis: The Giants, like most everybody else, are tight on cap space this year. They will need to sign defensive lineman Leonard Williams to a long-term deal in order to create any type of real flexibility this offseason. Offensive lineman Nate Solder ($16.5 million vs. cap) also still needs to be addressed. Then they will be in position to make some moves. Still, they're not going to spend recklessly in free agency. They're likely to make only one major move. Coach Joe Judge said recently you have success "building your team through the draft," a philosophy with which general manager Dave Gettleman agrees. -- Jordan Raanan


Kansas City Chiefs

Overall cap space: minus-$2,001,679

Offense: $105,496,192

Defense: $96,386,578

Special teams: $5,717,500

Analysis: The Chiefs sliced more than $18 million off their salary cap by releasing tackles Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher. They still have a little more work to do to comply with the salary cap. It's difficult to believe they can be strong bidders for free agents once they are in compliance. Then again, last season they overcame a challenging salary-cap situation that at one point left them with $177 in cap room and re-signed quarterback Patrick Mahomes, defensive tackle Chris Jones and tight end Travis Kelce. -- Adam Teicher


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Projected overall cap space: minus-$7,756,263

Offense: $129,835,180

Defense: $54,213,599

Special teams: $3,650,000

Analysis: It's all about keeping as much of their Super Bowl roster intact as they can, but it's going to take work. Tagging Chris Godwin cost the Bucs $15.8 million, while signing Lavonte David to a two-year extension (two years, $25 million, $20 million guaranteed), will count $3.5 million against the cap in 2021 (the contract includes three voidable years, which allowed the Bucs to spread his cap number across five years). That's what put the Bucs $7.756 million over the cap. But they've been working to extend quarterback Tom Brady by another year, which would lower his cap number from the $28.375 million he's due in 2021. They could follow that model and tack on years to the contracts of left tackle Donovan Smith ($14.25 million), center Ryan Jensen ($10 million) and outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul ($12.8 million), since all have one year remaining, which would allow them to present a competitive offer to outside linebacker Shaq Barrett. But they've still got tight end Rob Gronkowski, kicker Ryan Succop, defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh, wide receiver Antonio Brown and Leonard Fournette to think about. -- Jenna Laine


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1:41

Why Yates would avoid paying Aaron Jones top dollar

Field Yates breaks down the most underrated and overrated players in free agency, suggesting to avoid paying Aaron Jones top dollar and consider paying Carl Lawson.

Green Bay Packers

Overall cap space: minus-$9,214,429

Offense: $98,607,864

Defense: $90,340,469

Special teams: $7,733,726

Analysis: The Packers have until Wednesday to create the more-than-$9 million in cap space they'll need just to comply, but in reality they need even more room if they're going to do anything in free agency, whether it's re-signing one of their own free agents (see Jones, Aaron) or making a play for someone on the open market. They have a couple of easy cuts (with Preston Smith being the most obvious) and contract restructures or extensions (Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, Za'Darius Smith among them) that should put them in good position for this season, but they also need to be mindful of getting themselves into further cap problems in future years. -- Rob Demovsky


Chicago Bears

Overall cap space: minus-$17,453,918

Offense: $78,720,798

Defense: $118,507,640

Special teams: $1

Analysis: Look for the Bears to restructure contracts as the club inches closer to the $182.5 million projected salary cap. The club already opened space by deciding not to bring back veteran cornerback Buster Skrine and right tackle Bobby Massie. Chicago needs financial flexibility at quarterback, wide receiver and on special teams. The Bears just signed place-kicker Cairo Santos but need to do more. -- Jeff Dickerson


Atlanta Falcons

Projected overall cap space: minus-$22,055,452

Offense: $107,672,741

Defense: $74,325,741

Special teams: $3,199,435

Analysis: The Falcons are one of four teams that are more than $20 million over the salary cap and they have to get under the cap by March 17. They've already cut several players (notably Ricardo Allen and Allen Bailey) but expect more cuts and restructures. Quarterback Matt Ryan and receiver Julio Jones have the two highest cap numbers in 2021 and are candidates for restructured deals, especially if new GM Terry Fontenot and head coach Arthur Smith are going to try to maximize the team's chances to win in the next several years as those players reach the end of their careers. Other players to watch as potential cuts and restructures include defensive end Dante Fowler Jr., defensive tackle Grady Jarrett and offensive tackle Jake Matthews. -- Michael DiRocco


Philadelphia Eagles

Overall cap space: minus-$28,381,902

Offense: $129,883,100

Defense: $102,623,957

Special teams: $5,079,833

Analysis: The work continues for the Eagles to get cap compliant. They've already released receiver DeSean Jackson and restructured several veteran contracts, including cornerback Darius Slay's and center Jason Kelce's. More moves are expected, including trading tight end Zach Ertz and moving on from wideout Alshon Jeffery. There is less concern internally about the cap situation than on the outside; with so many ways to move money around, they can find a way to add some players this offseason if they fit the bill. But they took a $30 million-plus dead cap hit by trading Carson Wentz and things are tight right now, limiting how aggressive they can be in free agency. -- Tim McManus


Los Angeles Rams

Overall cap space: minus-$31,260,736

Offense: $96,208,121

Defense: $87,615,995

Special teams: $7,837,000

Analysis: The pending trade of quarterback Jared Goff will amount to a $22.2 million dead-money charge, leaving the Rams with $34,078,757 in dead money in 2021. General manager Les Snead said he's comfortable with the Rams' salary-cap situation, citing the unprecedented year. However, the Rams are significantly over the cap and could be forced into difficult personnel decisions to get under it. "We've had to knock on the door of a lot of our key figures, key pillars and ask them to, in some cases, make sacrifices and in some cases, adjust their contract to help us get under the cap," Snead said. The Rams' goal is to get under the cap via restructuring contracts, but they could end up releasing veteran players. -- Lindsey Thiry


New Orleans Saints

Overall cap space: minus-$38,321,856

Offense: $108,622,218

Defense: $90,916,270

Special teams: $4,915,500

Analysis: The NFL's reduced salary cap hit the Saints harder than maybe any other team in the league since they have been pushing cap costs into future years for the past decade. They started this offseason nearly $100 million over the cap before releasing veterans like receiver Emmanuel Sanders, cornerback Janoris Jenkins, punter Thomas Morstead and tight end Josh Hill. Linebacker Kwon Alexander is expected to be next. However, the Saints are not going into rebuilding mode, even with Drew Brees expected to retire and the team carrying more than $22 million in dead money. They used the franchise tag on safety Marcus Williams even though it wasn't a cap-friendly move. And they appear likely to try to extend elite talents like CB Marshon Lattimore and OT Ryan Ramczyk, even though they could cost nearly $20 million per year. -- Mike Triplett