That number could soon grow.
The anticipated salary-cap squeeze this year figures to put the final cap number somewhere between the $180-190 million mark. Television negotiations and other details keep shifting the projection, but it’s going to be down due to a loss of revenue last year.
An executive who manages one team’s cap put it best to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano:
“It’s a real concern. There are major impacts teams are gonna feel over the next month that they aren’t used to.”
That’s more aimed at teams currently in the red, of course. But it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Bengals take the initiative and start chopping up the roster a bit too.
Think, cutting Geno Atkins ($9.6 million in savings), B.J. Finney ($3.25 million) and Bobby Hart ($5.8 million). They love someone like tight end C.J. Uzomah ($5.22 million), but it’s hard to ignore the potential savings.
Generally, the Bengals don’t structure contracts in a way that encourages restructures to save cap. And any free-agent signings could have a modest cap hit in 2021 before escalating in later years for obvious reasons.
But if the Bengals want to get out in front of this dip in the salary cap, make more traditional contract offers and extension offers and still preserve some of that precious rollover cap to the next season, some notable cuts could be on the way.
Also keep in mind something fun — this state of affairs could mean quality players being available for trade cheap as teams look to get out of the red. That’s something worth freeing up cap space for as well.