If the NFL and NFLPA get a new Collective Bargaining Agreement into place in time to play a 2011 season, no one is quite sure exactly what the league's new salary cap will look like. According to data pulled by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas, however, we do know exactly how much NFL teams are spending on players right now.
For example: the Buffalo Bills currently have $96.4 million committed to players for the 2011 season. That number is the sum total of every player currently under contract, and does not include free agents.
That number may seem low - it's good enough to rank the Bills in the bottom half of the league - but there are currently ten teams with (much) lower salary numbers than the Bills have. Three teams - Carolina, Jacksonville and Kansas City - are under $80 million. A fourth team, Tampa Bay, has the lowest salary figure by a country mile, coming in at $59.7 million. (They were 10-6!)
Kansas City, Oakland, Philadelphia, San Diego, Seattle and Tampa Bay are all expected to compete for the playoffs next season - again, if there's a season - and all will likely do so with lighter payrolls. Buffalo's problems extend beyond the mere fact that they lack elite talent, folks - they're paying their current players far too much money.