NFL salary cap set at record $133m

Updated: 2014-03-02 07:36

By Reuters in Los Angeles(China Daily)

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The National Football League's salary cap will be increased by nearly $10 million next year to $133 million per team, the league told teams on Friday.

The rise is larger than initial estimates and gives teams a little extra breathing room under the cap, which is tied to projected revenue from all of the NFL's commercial agreements for the upcoming season and meets requirements under the Players' Association's Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

The 2014 level represents the highest salary cap set by the league, though that is expected to rise in 2015 when new television contracts are factored into the equation.

The 2011 CBA gives players 55 percent of revenue from TV deals, 45 percent of revenue from league properties and 40 percent of local revenue.

Individual teams are required to spend an average of 89 percent of the salary cap from 2013-16, while teams across the league must spend an average of 95 percent of the salary cap over the four-year period.

The Pittsburgh Steelers ($138.7m) and Dallas Cowboys ($150.9m) are the only two teams projected to be above the salary cap and the increased limit for the 2014 season will allow them greater opportunity to hold onto players.

Teams have until March 11, the start of the league's 2014 year and free agency, to cut or trade away players on their roster or renegotiate contracts to ensure they meet the cap requirements. Teams above the cap are fined by the league.

Players like New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham, who are franchise tagged, will benefit from the increased level as their salaries are tied to a percentage of the cap.

Tough decisions

The Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks made two "extremely tough decisions" when they released wide receiver Sidney Rice and defensive end Red Bryant on Friday to create additional salary cap space.

With free agency fast approaching on March 11, Seattle offloaded Rice, who was due $8.5 million in base salary for 2014, and Bryant, who was set to earn $4.5 million.

Rice, 27, has been plagued with assorted injuries since signing a five-year contract with the team in 2011 while Bryant, 29, has played limited snaps in his role as a run-stuffing defensive end.

"We want to thank both Red and Sidney for their effort, commitment and contribution to the Seattle Seahawks over the last few years," Seahawks general manager John Schneider said.

"These are extremely tough decisions, but we wanted to give them a head start on free agency. We wish them well in the future."

At last week's NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll also spoke about "difficult decisions" that would have to be made.

"Our whole thing is we would like to keep this team together as best we can," Carroll said.

"There are some very difficult decisions every year you face in the league with contracts and money and (salary) cap and all that stuff.

"Every season is like that, so that brings very challenging decisions for us because we love our team, we love our guys."

Rice, who caught 15 passes for 231 yards and three touchdowns before his 2013 season ended after eight games due to a knee injury, posted two farewell notes to Seahawks fans on his Twitter account.

"The amount of love I have for the #12thman and the @Seahawks organization! Thanks for a wonderful experience! #superbowlchampions #workethic #values #class," Rice tweeted.

"The number #12 will remain on the left side of my chest no matter what! Grateful for the opportunity to share so many special moments w yall."

(China Daily 03/02/2014 page11)