The NFL and NFLPA have agreed on a deal that will spread lost revenue this year over the next few years, in terms of lower team salary caps next year, and perhaps/probably the next few years. The NFL will take a significant hit to revenue as stadiums will be largely empty this year, due to the pandemic. That revenue loss could also be compounded to the extent games are not played as well.
Part of the agreement, apparently, is that the salary cap next year will be set at a minimum of $175 million per team. This year, the salary cap is $198.2 million per team, and prior to Covid-19, expectations for the salary cap in 2021 were about $210 million. If revenues come in better than expected, the salary cap could increase, but as it stands, basically a $35 million reduction in the salary cap next season vs. expectations could likely result in some older, pricey veterans near the end of their contracts being cut loose.
For the Vikings, that would put a target squarely on Riley Reiff, whose $13+ million salary cap hit this year and next looks increasing unaffordable for the Vikings. The fact that cutting him would result in only $2.2 million in dead cap this year and next means the Vikings would save $11 million in salary cap this year, and $11.75 million next year.
Other guys that could become salary cap casualties at some point include Eric Wilson, Pat Elflein, and Shamar Stephen. Extensions for Anthony Harris and Dalvin Cook could also be impacted by lower salary caps going forward, although I would think the Vikings would be able to manage to extend at least one of those two players. But not without cutting some other veterans near the end of their deals.
Eric Wilson is a $3.259 salary cap hit this year (no dead cap), and between Ben Gedeon, Troy Dye, and Cameron Smith as potential replacements, they may be willing to cut him loose.
Similarly, Pat Elflein is set to be a $2.381 million salary cap hit this year, with only $234K in dead cap, so if he doesn’t earn a starting job this season, he could easily become a salary cap casualty as well, with several other interior lineman on the roster making less than half of Elflein’s salary.
Lastly, there is Shamar Stephen. I wouldn’t expect him to be cut this year, as the cap savings is modest compared to his dead cap hit ($2.6 million and $2.433 million respectively), but then again they cut Josh Kline who was in a similar situation. Stephen is a $5 million salary cap hit this year and next, but I suspect if he’s not cut this will be his last season. He could be approached about restructuring his deal too.
Beyond that, nobody else jumps out as a potential salary cap casualty, although potential contract restructures could be done to save some additional cap space if need be.
Given the Vikings salary cap situation and trade-offs, do you think the Viking should cut Riley Reiff?
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