NFL 2021 The drop in the salary cap and new TV contracts will alter the NFL market
It’s the last quiet days (or hours) in the NFL. All 32 teams in the league are looking forward to let the league define the salary cap for the 2020 season and once that happens, the gates to hell open.
It will be a frantic few days before March 17, when the ‘League Year’ is officially scheduled to begin, which goes hand in hand with the official start of free agency. Technically there can be negotiations from two days before, but hours more or less, the teams have to be by below salary cap by then. The spending limit will be several million less than in 2020 (the latest information from the same league indicates that it would be at least 180 million, which is almost 20 less than in 2020). Consequence: teams will have to restructure contracts and cut players to lighten the salary burden. We are already starting to see it: Kyle Rudolph, Kyle Van Noy, Jurrell Casey and many more have already run out of equipment.
The league anticipates a ‘massacre’ of layoffs and this generates a quite particular dynamic that could lead to creation of ‘Super Teams’ with contracts of only one year for several veteran players. The reasons are various.
The first and most obvious is that teams won’t have much money to spend. In fact, at the moment 11 are over the 180 limit. Few franchises will be able to offer the queen’s pearls for any free agents. For the players it does not make sense be tied for several years to a team for a lower price than they will receive in other circumstances.
The second reason is that the NFL is negotiating the new television rights contracts. It was leaked a few days ago that Amazon would be exclusively buying a Thursday night game pack. CNBC reported in February that the league wants to close these deals before defining the 2021 salary cap and He is asking the television stations for double the money. Truckloads of money will arrive and this will allow teams to spend more, but starting in 2022.
So 2021 will be a hiatus, a free agency with a lot of movement, but there will be no long-term commitments. And if the players were already earning less, why not go through a bad and cheap drink looking for a championship?
Sharp football did an analysis in which he revealed that the teams that spend the most in free agency don’t really improve next season. This makes sense because teams will not let go of those who are truly the best players in the league. If there is no agreement, there is the franchise label as a last resort so that they do not leave. Good players often come to free agency that desperate teams overpay. Overpaying for a not-so-great production doesn’t yield a good return on investment, but it doesn’t mean that free agency is a useless exercise. The important thing is not to overpay.
That’s what the Eagles did to him in 2017, when they won the ring. In the offseason they paid Chris Long, Alshon Jeffery, LeGarrette Blount, Patrick Robinson and Nick Foles. Players who started in the Super Bowl, but in total were the # 21 team in spending in free agency.
Tampa Bay did the same last year. Brady came in for $ 25 million a year (expensive, but less than a franchise QB) and they signed Antonio Brown, Leonard Fournette and Rob Grownkowski, retained Ndamukong Suh and Shaq Barrett, with a few more moves to be the leader. 17 team that spent the most in free agency, because most of them narrowly signed looking to win the ring with TB12. Those who spent the most in 2020? Dolphins, Bengals, Saints, Raiders, Brown, Panthers, Lions, Giants, Bears and Bills. Only three made the playoffs, although Miami did just the right thing to do so. Still, only one team that made it to the conference final appears on the list.
Looking for those ‘cheap’ veterans will be a fixture in 2021 free agency. One year of ‘rent’ on a team to seek Super Bowl glory for the first time in their careers. Free agents per se are going to earn less than other years. Accept cheap contracts a la Bucs 2020 or Eagles 2017 and then seek the millionaire when everyone can spend more in 2022.
What teams could be the most wanted to hunt a ring? The list of teams with space in the salary cap is made up of the worst teams of 2020 (Jaguars, Jets, Bengals), but tThere are also teams that were in the Playoffs last season (Colts, Washington), the dynasty put on hiatus (Patriots) and teams that didn’t make the postseason but have enough talent to get there early (Chargers, 49ers, Dolphins). Nor can we rule out that the teams that had several Playoff games (Bills, Chiefs, Rams, Packers and the Bucs themselves) and that may signing veterans to the bare minimum and doing math gymnastics to balance the scores.
So when free agency starts, you don’t have to look at which teams spent the most, but rather which teams spent the most wisely. Production at a discount price. It seems that in 2021 the gap between good and bad teams will widen due to this parenthesis in the expense caused by the pandemic.
– When does the next NFL season start?
– Where will the next Super Bowl be?
– The free agents of each team for the 2021 season
– Up to 20 teams can change QB in 2021