SEATTLE – The NFL’s 2021 salary cap has been set at $182.5 million, the league announced Wednesday, representing an 8% decline from 2020 due to COVID-19-related revenue losses.
According to projections from OverTheCap.com, that leaves the Seahawks with roughly $20.6 million in cap space when the league’s new year begins next week.
The Seahawks have a number of key needs heading into the free-agency period next week.
Seattle’s release of veteran defensive end Carlos Dunlap on Monday saved the team $14.1 million against the cap. But that also means the Seahawks will have to find a new edge rusher.
Shaquill Griffin is heading into free agency and he’s considered one of the top cornerbacks on the market. Will the Seahawks be able to offer him a multiyear deal, or will they be content to settle for a cheaper replacement?
Linebacker K.J. Wright and running back Chris Carson are also free agents. Can the Seahawks afford to bring them back?
On offense, the Seahawks need a running back, a tight end and a No. 3 wide receiver. And, yes, Russell Wilson has made it clear he would prefer an upgrade on the offensive line.
Teams can begin to negotiate with free agents on Monday, the start of the “legal tampering period.” On Wednesday, free agents can sign with teams.
The Seahawks’ $20.6 million in cap space is the 12th most in the NFL, according to OverTheCap.com. That’s just behind NFC West rival San Francisco ($24 million), and ahead of division rivals Arizona ($14.5 million) and the Los Angeles Rams (who are $33 million over the cap).
The Eagles were over by about $35 million and the Saints by $33 million.
On the other side of the ledger, the Jets, Patriots and Jaguars had the most money available, ranging from $65 million to $67 million.
Nine players have been given franchise tags: receivers Chris Godwin (Tampa Bay) and Allen Robinson (Chicago); offensive linemen Taylor Moton (Carolina), Cam Robinson (Jacksonville) and All-Pro Brandon Scherff (Washington); safeties Marcus Maye (New York Jets), Marcus Williams (New Orleans) and Justin Simmons (Denver); and defensive tackle Leonard Williams (New York Giants). Their cap numbers are set by the tag designations.
The rest of the free-agency crop will be seeking big bucks from a diminished pot.
“If you look league-wide at the available cap dollars, it is like 40% of what it has been in the past,” Andrew Berry, Cleveland’s executive vice president of football operations, said last week.
Associated Press reporting contributed to this story.