Show Me the Money

The free agent season is more than a month away, but with 19 teams more than $21 million under the salary cap, there are going to be a ton of mega-buck deals signed once the flag drops and free agency begins in earnest.

Last year at this time, there was panic sweeping the NFL. Without a collective bargaining agreement extension in place, it was feared that 2007 would be an uncapped year and the league would turn into the wild, wild West – with teams able to spend whatever they chose and labor peace being put in severe jeopardy.

After delaying free agency twice, a deal was struck that assured there wouldn't be a work stoppage, but it provided much more money for teams to work with under the salary cap – so much so that, with a month to go before the official start of free agency, 19 of the league's 32 teams have more than $21 million in available salary cap space.

While the numbers below will be subject to change as players are signed, released and bonuses kick in, it looks to be an active free agent season. According to a report in the St. Petersburg Times, the Vikings are estimated to be more than $32 million under the salary cap. However, after the signings of linebacker E.J. Henderson and defensive tackle Kevin Williams in December, it is believed that number shrank to just over $23 million. Either way, they have the money under the cap to compete for whatever top players make it to market on March 2 if they choose. But they will have plenty of competition.

Here are the team-by-team salary cap totals, according to the report in the St. Petersburg Times. (In most other reports, the Vikings are thought to about $23 million under the cap after the Williams and Henderson extensions):

1. San Francisco $42.1M
2. Buffalo $39.7M
3. Arizona $36.7M
4. Tennessee $36M
5. Cleveland $33.3M
6. Minnesota $32.4M
7. (tie) Jacksonville $32M
7. (tie) St. Louis $32M
9. New England $30.4M
10. Cincinnati $30.2M
11. New Orleans $29.9M
12. Green Bay $29.5M
13. New York Jets $26.1M
14. San Diego $24.6M
15. Tampa Bay $24.2M
16. Detroit $23.8M
17. Chicago $23.4M
18. Seattle $22.5M
19. Dallas $21.5M
20. Miami $17.8M
21. New York Giants $15.7M
22. Oakland $14.1M
23. Houston $13.3M
24. Atlanta $10M
25. Philadelphia $12.4M
26. Denver $7.6M
27. Kansas City $7M
28. Baltimore $5.7M
29. Indianapolis $4.9M
30. Carolina $3.4M
31. Washington $951,000
32. Pittsburgh $150,000

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