The Buffalo Bills have a healthy amount of cap space to carry over from 2012, putting them in prime position for another substantial signing period over the next two months.
A new provision in the most recent collective bargaining agreement allows NFL teams to carry over salary cap space from one year to the next, adding to the capital a team can use in free agency. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk obtained and published the figures from the 2012 season on Wednesday.
The Buffalo Bills have the ability to carry over $9.8 million, per Florio. That's them the eighth-highest figure in the league. Last year, the Bills carried over the entire $21 million in cap space from the 2011 season and used it to sign Stevie Johnson, Fred Jackson, Mario Williams and Mark Anderson, among others.
It seems like a no-brainer - and Buffalo will likely elect to carry the money over - but it's not as cut and dry as you might think. With the salary cap, there is also a salary floor. In simpler terms, teams have a minimum amount of cap space they must spend. Since that floor is based on a percentage, some teams in the future may elect to not carry that money over - but it would be difficult to justify that to a fan base.
Editor's Note: Immediately following publication of this article, Florio updated the conversation with another story. The Bills and every other NFL team have carried this money over already. The deadline was December 29, which is two months sooner than a year ago. He also corrected my "no-brainer" paragraph, stating that the salary floor is only for the current year's salary cap and not the adjusted figure with rolled over space. - MRW
The salary cap is widely expected to be between $120 and $121 million in 2013. That number was surprisingly low to some general managers, who expected a modest increase from 2012's number of $120.6 million. Yahoo! Sports calculates the Bills' actual cap space to currently be $15.46 million. That figure includes the money necessary to sign the 2013 draft class.
With that amount of money available - not to mention players that could come off the books, including Chris Kelsay ($5 million cap hit in 2013), Terrence McGee ($4.6 million) and Brad Smith ($3.75 million), among others - the Bills will have the cap space to re-sign key free agents, as well as pursue other team's players if they so choose.