Heading into the 2014 offseason, most projected next year's NFL salary cap to be around $126.3 million. ESPN first reported yesterday that NFL executives believe the cap will jump to $130 million and are organizing their offseason plans around that number.
A bump to $130 million would be a five percent increase over the $123 million cap in 2013, which is just what the Chicago Bears need. At $126.3 million, the Bears would have had roughly $5.5 million to spend in free agency, with about $3.5 million earmarked for the incoming draft class. Another $4 million in cap space would be music to GM Phil Emery's ears, as it would give him some much needed wiggle room to be active in free agency.
At $130 million, the Bears would enter the 2014 season, which begins March 11 at 3 p.m. CST, with roughly $6.5 million - $10 million minus $3.5 million for the rookies - to spend in the open market. That's not a lot of cash but it's better than just $2.5 million.
While the cap increase helps the Bears, it doesn't diminish the club's need to clear up more space. Julius Peppers, due more than $18 million next year, is still a prime candidate to be cut.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is entering his fourth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.