The NFL Salary Cap Will Jump to a Record-High in 2023

The NFL Salary Cap Will Jump to a Record-High in 2023
Jul 27, 2022; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

On Monday morning, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network broke news that the NFL salary cap would be increasing to a new record-high in 2023. The salary cap during this upcoming season will jump to $224.8 million, an increase of $16.6 million from the $208.4 million salary cap in 2022.

This is a truly massive leap, especially considering that in 2021 it actually decreased by nearly the same amount due to Covid. Since 2021, we’ve now seen the cap increase by $42.3 million in just two years. Prior to that, in 2019, the cap was $188.2 million, and in 2020, it was $198.2 million.

With this news, we now know that the Vikings effectively sit over the salary cap by $25,733,810, per Over the Cap. They currently are in the fourth-worst cap situation in the NFL ahead of the new league year. Only the Tennessee Titans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and New Orleans Saints sit over the salary cap by a larger amount than the Vikings.

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Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell walks off the field after losing a wild card game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

That being said, Minnesota does have multiple ways to free up cap space, many of which we’ve covered here on PurplePTSD already. Through trades, extensions, and cuts, if the Vikings decided to take some very drastic measures, there are ways for the Vikings to free upwards of $100 million in cap space for free agency as well as the NFL Draft.

Don’t expect Minnesota’s front office to empty the chamber by pulling off every move listed in the linked article, but the point stands, the Vikings salary cap position is not nearly as bad as it appears on paper right now.

Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson (87) reacts after a play against the New York Giants during the second quarter of a wild card game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Currently, down to the southeast of Minnesota, the Vikings NFC North rivals, the Chicago Bears, easily have the most salary cap space in the league. They are heading into free agency with effectively $82,252,399 to work with, over $30 million more than the Atlanta Falcons, again per Over the Cap.

The Green Bay Packers are the only other NFC North team sitting above this new salary cap for 2023, currently being $20,370,125 above Over the Cap’s effective cap. Meanwhile, Detroit sits right in the middle of the league with $2,484,141 in effective cap space.

Knowing the official salary cap is a big first step towards making the first roster moves of the offseason. Some of the notable storylines for the Vikings include a Justin Jefferson extension, whether or not the Vikings will ride with Kirk Cousins through the end of his contract or offer him an extension, as well as a litany of cuts that could be made on the defensive side of the ball.

Time will tell which of the moves will actually happen, but for now, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s first order of business is to free up nearly $30 million in cap space ahead of the free agency period that will begin in March.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.