INDIANAPOLIS — It appears NFL teams could have a little more money to work with this season than expected.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the salary cap for the 2014 season is projected to rise to about $130 million, up 5 percent from $123 million last year.
The league should officially announce the salary cap number for the 2014 season in early March, but former agent and salary cap expert Joel Corry said a $130 million cap would be good for a cash-strapped team like the Chiefs, especially because earlier projections had the cap rising only as high as $128 million.
Corry said that as it stands, the Chiefs have $125.76 million in cap obligations with $2.38 million of room to carry over from the 2013 season. This means that if the projected cap is indeed set at $130 million, the Chiefs would have $6.62 million of cap space, including the $3 million or so they saved by cutting veteran cornerback Dunta Robinson two weeks ago.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Thursday at the NFL Combine that general manager John Dorsey, director of football administration Trip MacCracken and salary cap/contract analyst Brandt Tillis have been preparing for any scenario. All teams must be under the salary cap by the start of the new league year March 11.
“They take different numbers and work it out and as you go, you kind of know what you can work with and can’t work with,” Reid said.
It appears the Chiefs won’t be using all of their cap space at the start of free agency.
“You always give yourself a little room there,” Reid said. “You’re not going to take all $130 mil and spend it right at that moment. You always keep a little in reserve there. That’s kind of how that works.”
The Chiefs will also need to fit six rookies under the cap, a cost that Corry estimates will come in at roughly $5.5 million, provided they don’t swap or acquire new picks for the NFL Draft in May.
Despite the Chiefs’ 11-5 record in 2013, they need starters or improved depth in several areas, including the secondary, receiving corps, tight ends and pass rush.
Reid and Dorsey appear to be on the same page when it comes to the necessity of drafting and developing productive players on affordable rookie contracts.
“I’m not a big free-agency guy,” Reid said. “It wasn’t our M.O. (in Philadelphia). My thought on that hasn’t changed. I’m lucky enough to be with John. That’s his feeling. I think you kind of plug things here or there, but if you think you’re going to make a team out of free agency, I don’t think that necessarily works.”