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New report suggests NFL salary cap should be north of $180 million in 2021

That is higher than originally thought.

After hitting $198 million as the salary cap in 2020, NFL clubs naturally expected the cap to keep going up in 2021. It’s never gone down before and revenues have always been up year over year. But the COVID-19 pandemic changed that, and the NFL’s revenue shrank considerably just like the revenue of most companies in the entertainment industry. Instead of $210 million or more, the league and NFLPA reached a deal where the cap would go no lower than $175 million.

On Sunday, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that NFL teams now expect that number to be closer to $180-181 million in 2021. The NFL and NFLPA could still tinker with that number to artificially lessen the burden on teams in a one-year shortfall, but it’s at least a little bit of good news for now.

The Buffalo Bills currently have $185 million in their top-51 salary-cap commitments and $187 million in their total cap commitments. They also have roughly $3.7 million to roll over from the 2020 cap to add space. At a $181 million cap, they would be right at the number before any contracts are doled out or cut.

The Buffalo Bills don’t have starters under contract for at least four positions; right tackle, both guard spots, and the second cornerback spot—plus they’ll need to figure out a way to address the weak-side linebacker spot this offseason. That’s a long list to handle in just the NFL Draft, so they’ll need to figure out ways to generate more space.

Over the next few weeks, we will detail how the Bills can add more salary-cap space with some smart contract restructures and veteran cuts, but that’s where the Bills stand right now.