The NFL salary cap is expected to once again increase during the 2020 offseason, rolling into the new league year. It was reported by multiple outlets at the owner’s meeting in Dallas on Tuesday it would once again be going up.
NFL teams were told at today's meeting in Dallas that next season's salary cap is expected to be between $196.8 million and $201.2 million per team.— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) December 10, 2019
We can assume the cap will be close to $200 million in the 2020 season, which means the Jacksonville Jaguars would start the year close to the cap and forced to make some cuts, but this was anticipated and the way the Jaguars structured a lot of their deals, they can clear quite a bit of cap room depending on who is in charge and what their plan would be.
As it stands right now, the Jaguars will also have around $11 million in roll over to push to the new season, so for all intents and purposes they will have an adjusted cap figure of about $210 million, which would show the team as it is right now with $6 million in cap space.
As mentioned however, it’s pretty easy for the team to clear chunks of cap room. First off will be the inevitable release of veteran defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, who carries a cap figure of $22.5 million, however there is only $2.5 million in dead money if he is released, which means it’s a clear $20 million in savings. The other two easy cuts, at least in my opinion, are wide receiver Marqise Lee and linebacker Jake Ryan. Their combined savings if released is $9.5 million, which would bring the cap number to $37 million with just those three moves alone.
This is plenty of room for the Jaguars to do something like sign or franchise tag defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, and sign a couple of free agents.
Depending on the plan of the inevitable new regime however, the team could use 2020 as a year to clear off bloated contracts and start to build a new core. The team could cut 34-year old Calais Campbell and save an additional $15 million, as well as either restructuring or cutting the bloated deal for cornerback A.J. Bouye, which would save $11.5 million if released. Those two additional moves would put the Jaguars with just under $64 million in cap space.
Then you have some other possible cuts like Andrew Norwell (+$5.5M) and Brandon Linder (+$8M) if you really want to wipe the slate clean.
Then if you want to get real fun, you can make all of these moves and flat out release quarterback Nick Foles and end up with a salary cap figure of $65.5 million.
As I’ve stressed, the salary cap situation is not nearly as dire as it looks on the surface, even with some albatross deals. The one good thing this regime has done is set themselves up with good outs on a big contracts to clear cap space if the deal is a bust or they need to shed cap room.