By Omar Kelly
9:13 AM PST, March 5, 2013
Allow the Sun-Sentinel to provide a snapshot of every NFL team's cap space situation as of March 5, and position needs as we prepare to begin free agency.
We'll start with the AFC teams since it is close to home.
Keep in mind that every team's cap space is fluid based on renegotiated deals and players being signed or released. But it should help us distinguish the buyers from the sellers, and which team is looking for what entering next week's start of free agency, and April's 2013 NFL draft.
When factoring in a team's cap space keep in mind that a team's top 51 salaries count against the cap, not the whole 90 player training camp roster. Also, a team must preserve around $6 million in cap space to sign the 2013 draft class.
Teams Cap Space Position Needs
Buffalo $19.6 million QB, DE, LB, WR, CB, S
New York Jets $8.2 million QB, OG, LB, FS, RB
New England $27.1 million S, WR, DT, CB, O-line
Miami $36.3 million WR, CB, O-line, TE, FS
The Dolphins and Patriots will be shopping in free agency. Miami must use free agency to upgrade the roster by signing proven players, and the Patriots will because they don't have three draft picks because of previous trades. New England has some of their own free agents to re-sign, but that might not stop the Patriots from getting involved in a bidding war (cough, cough Mike Wallace) to upgrade their team, or drive up the price for the competition. The Jets will need to purge more of their roster to re-sign key players like Dustin Keller. Buffalo is Buffalo. Most NFL players don't go there willingly, with defensive end Mario Williams being one of the few exceptions.
Baltimore $14.1 million OT, ILB, OLB, C, WR
Cincinnati $46.2 million SS, LB, WR, RB, O-line
Cleveland $48.6 million OLB, CB, OG, FS, TE
Pittsburgh $3.6 million OT, RB, front 7, WR, CB
The Ravens got Joe Flacco's deal done, but the Super Bowl champions are about to be picked apart in free agency. The Ravens should lose half of their homegrown talent. The Bengals always have cap space, and rarely ever spend it. This year will likely be no different. The Steelers keep robbing Peter to pay Paul, consistently pushing back their cap problems to future years to make one more run at a championship. The Steelers need to rework some deals simply to sign the draft class. The Browns typically have a hard time convincing elite free agents to play in Cleveland unless they are drastically overbidding.
Houston $8.3 million WR, 3-4 NT, CB, LB, OL
Indianapolis $44.3 million OL, 3-4 OLB, DL, WR, S
Tennessee $20.4 million S, DT, OG, DE, TE
Jacksonville $28.5 million DE, OL, QB, WR, CB
The Colts have everything they need to build a powerhouse this offseason, and should make calculated moves in the draft to improve last year's playoff team. Most of their moves will likely be made on defense. Tennessee and Jacksonville have the cap space to make two to three major signings, but might opt to re-sign their own. The Texans will be shopping for bargains.
Denver $8.3 million S, MLB, OL, Slot WR, RB
San Diego $7.2 million OT, OG, CB, DE/OLB, RB
Kansas City -$2.4 million QB, DB, 3-4 DE, OL, ILB
Oakland $1.7 million 3-4 DL, QB, 3-4 OLB, CB, OL
The entire AFC West will be bargain shopping, if not purging more of their roster. Considering the Broncos are on the cusp of a Super Bowl run expect them to push their spending to the league's limits. The Chargers have needs, especially if free agents defect, but will likely address them in the draft. After placing the franchise tag on Brandon Alberts and re-signing Dwayne Bowe to a 5-year, $50 million deal the Chiefs have some belt tightening to do. Cutting Matt Cassel could provide the necessary relief. The Raiders are a hot mess, but nothing is new in Oakland.
Copyright © 2013, South Florida Sun-Sentinel