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NFL Sets Salary Cap At $133M; Browns With Over $56.8M In Room

By DARYL RUITER, 92.3 The Fan Browns Beat Reporter
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Cleveland Browns general manager Ray Farmer / (Photo courtesy of John Reid, Cleveland Browns/NFL www.clevelandbrowns.com)

Cleveland Browns general manager Ray Farmer / (Photo courtesy of John Reid, Cleveland Browns/NFL http://www.clevelandbrowns.com)

DarylRuiter_300 Daryl Ruiter
Cleveland Browns beat writer and member of the Pro Football Writers of...
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CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – NFL teams will have nearly $10 million more in cap space to spend this offseason.

The league sent a memo to all 32 teams Friday afternoon informing them that the 2014 salary cap will be set at exactly $133 million. It marks the league’s highest cap ever (previous was $127.997 million in 2009) and is a $10 million increase (8.1%) from 2013 according to the NFLPA.

According to the website OverTheCap.com, the Browns will have over $56.8 million in cap space to work with after releasing linebacker D’Qwell Jackson Wednesday.

Despite the significant room, general manager Ray Farmer has combed through the roster and won’t hesitate to release players whose age or production doesn’t match their salary or cap numbers going forward – see the release of Jackson.

ProFootballTalk.com speculated Thursday that Ahtyba Rubin, who is set to make $6.6 million in the final year of his contract and has the fourth highest cap number at $8.175 million, could be next to be cut.

Per the terms of the collective bargaining agreement signed in 2011, teams must spend an average of 89 percent of the cap over a 4-year period.

The memo sent to teams also included the transition tag and franchise tag figures for the year.

With center Alex Mack and safety T.J. Ward set to become unrestricted free agents, both are candidates for the franchise tag. The tag for a safety is set at $8.433 million and offensive linemen will cost $11.654 million in 2014.

The Browns and rest of the NFL have until 4 p.m. eastern on Monday to use the designation.

With cornerback Joe Haden, tight end Jordan Cameron and defensive tackle Phil Taylor all entering the final year of their respective contracts, combined with free agency and the draft, the cap space could disappear quickly for Farmer and the Browns.

Below is a Q & A regarding the 2014 cap distributed by the NFL Players Association.

What is the 2014 Salary Cap?
The 2014 Salary Cap is set at $133 million per Club, a $10 million increase over the prior year.

How does that number impact each team?
The $133 million is the per Club salary cap. However, each team may, at its own discretion, carry over unused salary cap room from the prior League Year. Most Clubs elected to carry over Salary Cap room from 2013 to 2014. The average carry over for those teams that elected to do so was $6.1 million per Club. Thus, those Clubs have an average of $139.1 million to spend on player salaries in 2014.

How is the Salary Cap calculated?
The Salary Cap is calculated by taking a percentage of all projected NFL revenues, subtracting projected benefits for the upcoming season, and dividing by 32 teams.

What are team minimum cash spends?
Under the current CBA, Clubs have minimum cash spending requirements. For the years 2013-2016, Clubs are required to spend an average of 89% of the Salary Cap over the four-year period. League-wide, Clubs must spend an average of 95% of the Salary Cap over the four-year period.

This creates a cash-spend floor, forcing historically low-spending Clubs to offer overall competitive compensation for packages.

Are player benefits taken out of this $133 million?
The $133 million Salary Cap is the cap on active player salaries. In addition, each Club will spend in excess of $33 million in benefits. This includes pension, severance, workers’ compensation, insurance premiums, disability benefits, etc.

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