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NFL sets salary cap right in the middle of expected range

After weeks of negotiations, the league and the NFLPA have come to an agreement about 2021’s salary cap.

NFL: OCT 26 Rams at Chiefs Photo by William Purnell/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

According to multiple reports, the NFL has set 2021’s salary cap at 182.5 million — a decrease of 7.9% over the 2020 figure of 198.2 million.

It is the first time the cap has decreased from one season to the next since the uncapped season that preceded the signing of the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement.

This number puts the Kansas City Chiefs $21.2 million over the salary cap for the coming season, per Spotrac. The team will need to get under the cap before the new league year begins at 3 p.m. Arrowhead Time this coming Wednesday, March 17.

Originally, informed speculation suggested the cap would fall between the floor of $175 million and $195 million — that minimum amount negotiated between the league and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) before the 2020 season began. A more recent announcement set a floor of $180 million. At that time, reports indicated that the cap would fall between that figure and $185 million. Now — after weeks of talks — it appears that the league and NFLPA have ended up splitting the difference.

Some teams have already begun making adjustments to their rosters in order to get under the cap. Other teams — including the Chiefs — have waited until they know exactly how much money will be available to them.

“I would say it’s challenging, but it’s like that for most teams,” general manager Brett Veach said recently. “I think when you budget years in advance and when you’re doing things in real time and you’re looking toward the future and you’re always projecting the progression of the cap and so I think originally the last couple of years prior to last offseason, we were banking on a cap of 210. You feel about, all right, we’re going to be in a really good position and then all of a sudden, we go through what we went through last year and now you’re at 180. It’s certainly not ideal, but I would say that probably half the league is in the same boat, so I think there will be some unusual cuts made within the next few weeks just because teams have to get creative and find solutions to stay under the cap.”

You can expect a lot of news in the next week.