2006 salary cap nearly set

It may be a little higher than $95 million for each NFL team

As scout.com reported over the weekend, the salary cap for the 2006 season will soon be announced. However, according to one NFL team that scout.com talked to today, the official cap announcement could be pushed back another 24 to 48 hours because of recent progress toward a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

There are also rumors that the cap actually might be higher than first reported $95 million.

The unrestricted free agency period is set to begin at midnight on March 3, which is also when the 2006 salary cap goes into effect. Restricted free agents must receive tenders by March 2.

Last year, the salary cap was set at $85.5 million for each team.

If a new CBA is not reached between the NFLPA and league officials before Friday, teams will have to contend with a much different landscape with contracts. That's because even though the collective bargaining agreement doesn't expire until after the 2007 season, next year would be uncapped.

The concept for the last year of the CBA - referred to as the "stub year" - was to make it a year in which both players and owners would have a reason to negotiate a new agreement. If that happens, new deals could be prorated only over four years rather than seven and salaries could only increase by 30 percent per season. Players also face the loss of benefits, if there is no accord. Unrestricted free agency will require six accrued seasons instead of the four required in capped years, and the top eight clubs will be limited (as they were in 1993) as to the number of free agents they can sign.

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