Jason Cole of Bleacher Report is reporting that the estimated 2016 NFL salary cap will be between 147 and 155 million.
#NFL GMs and cap guys have been told by league office to expect the 2016 cap to come in between $147M to $155M.— Jason Cole (@JasonColeBR) December 1, 2015
If the league raises it to the lower end of that spectrum, it would mark only roughly a $4 million increase over the 2015 cap. Given that the league raised it just about $10 million between the 2014 and 2015 NFL seasons, it would certainly set back a lot of teams' plans moving ahead. With how the NFL has been growing, it was generally expected that the salary cap would go up by around another $10 million, putting it closer to the $153 million range.
Currently, the Ravens have $145.7 million tied up for the 2016 NFL season, meaning that they would be immediately cap hungry before the season ever kicked off, having only 46 players under contracts. While not the worst team in the NFL, there are only 5 other teams in the league with a higher cap number than the Ravens as of right now.
It has pushed discussions this season between fans and analysts of who the Ravens could part with in the offseason. Names like tight end Dennis Pitta, center Jeremy Zuttah, left tackle Eugene Monroe, cornerback Lardarius Webb, and even linebacker Daryl Smith had been raised as options for the team to cut in an effort to regain enough cap space to sign draft players and pick up a few other free agents to field a team at all.
The other big discussion has been the pending restructure of quarterback Joe Flacco's contract. A cap hit of $28.55 million in 2016, everyone knew that he would have to redo his contract this offseason to give the team enough room to survive. With Flacco's torn ACL and MCL, it will be interesting to see if the Ravens drop their price a bit more and press him to sign something even more team friendly.
If the Ravens can cut a few veterans and restructure Flacco's deal, they could go from one of the worst in the league to one with some of the most free money to spend.