Players are guaranteed a minimum of $180 million.
With the distinct weirdness that the COVID-19 pandemic inflicted upon the world of sports, one of the major questions directed toward just about every league was one of paychecks. The NFL, in particular, spent a decent amount of time in negotiations last summer to determine a way to prevent lost revenue from driving down player salaries. Originally, the plan was to set the salary floor at $175 million, but it seems the situation has improved slightly.
The NFL announced today that in the midst of their discussions on salary caps, all players will be guaranteed a minimum salary of $180 million. This won’t be the final figure of salaries, just a baseline floor to establish the bottom end of things. According to a memo sent to players, the final cap for 2021 “will be set following review of the final 2020 revenue figure and other audit and accounting adjustments.”
“As you know, one aspect of the agreements negotiated last summer with the NFLPA to address operations during the pandemic provides that the 2021 Salary Cap will be no less than $175 million,” the NFL’s memo said. “Following discussions with the union that addressed both actual 2020 revenues and projected attendance for the 2021 season, we have agreed to increase the minimum Salary Cap for the 2021 League Year to $180 million. We will promptly advise all clubs as soon as the Salary Cap is set.”
With the lower end set to $180 million, teams will be required to “borrow” approximately $20 million in value from all future salary caps in order to make ends meet.
ESPN writer Dan Graziano provided an example of this slightly confusing system. “If revenue projections deliver a $220 million salary cap in 2022 and a $230 million cap in 2023, the sides could agree to reduce those numbers by $10 million each of those two years to make up for this year’s $20 million discrepancy,” he wrote.
#NFL Salary Cap through the years…
The minimum salary cap this year has been set at $180M…
— NFL Stats (@NFL_Stats) February 18, 2021
Sports analysts are still trying to project what the ultimate attendance numbers for 2021 will be. 2020 doesn’t really work as a baseline for the obvious reason, but as we still don’t know how much longer the pandemic will be affecting attendance, projections are extremely murky at best.