Unknown financial implications from the coronavirus pandemic might force the NFL to reduce the 2021 salary cap by as much as 50 percent, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.
With uncertainty around the 2020 season, including whether fans will be able to attend games at any point, and other revenue-tied variables up in the air, the NFL enters the summer months planning for the limbo that could follow next offseason.
The annual salary cap each NFL club must abide by is tallied based on net revenue. It reached an all-time high of just under $198.2 million for the 2020 season when the official figure was provided to teams in March, ahead of free agency and the shutdown of the United States because of COVID-19 concerns.
Schefter estimated a loss in revenue of $3.2 billion in 2020 if games are played without fans.
“The various estimates I’ve gotten from executives to owners is that the cap could be down anywhere $30 million to $80 million in 2021,” Schefter said.
The NFL and players association could make adjustments or borrow against future projected earnings from broadcasting rights deals to keep the cap at a more palatable number.
The annual salary cap for NFL teams cleared $100 million in 2006 and hasn’t been under $120 million since 2012.