With five weeks left in the NFL season, only one team (Carolina Panthers) has been officially eliminated from playoff contention. The NFC and AFC playoff pictures are muddied with over 10 teams in each conference at least within a game of a final postseason spot.
While the focus is on 2023 for most, the NFL is starting to look ahead to 2024 in a variety of ways. The Cleveland Browns have reportedly locked up one of their pending free agents while many wonder how the Browns salary cap will look moving forward.
A national report says the 2024 salary cap is likely to continue to see significant year-over-year growth:
But people familiar with the matter say surging revenue and diminishing aftershocks of the 2020 pandemic are on track to yield significant cap growth over the next several years, with a 2024 cap likely to land north of $240 million and additional revenue rolling into future caps.
While not a financial or math expert, that last part seems to say “we have so much revenue we are going to have to push some of it to future years so that the jump this year isn’t too much.”
The piece reports that the league is not expected to provide salary cap projections as early as they normally do but notes how the cap rose over $16 million last year and is expected to jump similarly this year.
For Cleveland, the jump last year and this projected jump were what they were expecting and planning around. While many will point to the team projected to be over next year’s salary cap, owner Jimmy Haslam’s willingness to spend money as signing bonuses gives GM Andrew Berry the flexibility and sustainability needed:
The Cleveland Browns are spending $152.4m more than the league average across these years and it is entirely sustainable which is what we will look at in this article as well as why other teams might be struggling to copy this simple model.
We will have to wait to hear the projected and official salary cap numbers for 2024. It will be interesting if the NFLPA pushes back on “additional revenue rolling into future caps” as that does not benefit players and could go against CBA agreements on cap and revenue.
For now, it seems that Berry’s projections of where the salary cap is going were correct and could allow him to continue to add to the team in ways that they see fit. Much like the Philadelphia Eagles, the Browns plan is to always be adding to their roster.
Are you surprised by how much the NFL salary cap continues to grow after last year’s jump?