Signing bonus rule will clear cap space for teams with opt-outs

Michael David Smith
·1 min read

NFL teams will be getting some additional cap space when players who received signing bonuses opt out of the 2020 season.

The prorated portion of a player’s signing bonus will be removed from his team’s 2020 cap space as soon as he officially opts out, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

For a team like the Broncos with offensive tackle Ja’Wuan James, his $10 million 2020 salary is taken off the salary cap and so is the $3 million proration of the $12 million signing bonus on his four-year contract. So the Broncos get $13 million in cap relief for the 2020 season.

As a practical matter, this may not make a big difference to how teams do business. Just because the Broncos suddenly have $13 million in cap space doesn’t mean there’s a $13 million player out there for them to sign: Few free agents remain around the NFL right now. And next year’s salary cap is expected to drop significantly, so teams may decide simply not to spend any extra cap space so they can roll it over to next year.

Still, this is could news for the few remaining free agents hoping to cash in. Jadeveon Clowney, for example, might find that a team which previously showed no interest is suddenly open to signing him now that it has a surplus in cap space. It’s coming late in the offseason, but it may prove to be a lucrative development for a handful of players.

Signing bonus rule will clear cap space for teams with opt-outs originally appeared on Pro Football Talk