This year, every team started out with a $167,000,000 salary cap. Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson, as always, has money remaining in the kitty. There are different ways to do salary cap calculations, but by one method (not counting paying new draftees) Green Bay’s cap estimate is $24.7 million. That leaves the Packers with the eighth most remaining salary cap space.
From that, you have to reserve enough to pay your draftees – that estimate for the Packers in $5.8 million. Teams near the top of the draft list will have to pay out more for their draft picks. Cleveland, for example, is expected to have to pay out $14.2 million for its draftees. If you take into account having to pay draftees, 12 teams have under $10 million in cap space.
You don’t want to get into a bidding war with these teams: 49ers ($63.5 million in cap space), Browns ($52.5 million), Titans ($43.8 million), or Jaguars ($42.7 million). If you subtract out money expected to go to paying draftees, the Eagles and Chiefs are currently in the hole. Teams such as these might be highly motivated to make a trade or two.
I give Ted Thompson a lot of credit for consistently maintaining reserve funds over the years. He’s been fiscally sound. However, critics have also accused him of hoarding money when emergency personnel needs arose, only to be left unaddressed.