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: March 29, 2013, 12:34:32 AM













How six NFL teams will use their salary-cap space

 By Gregg Rosenthal

Around The League Editor   NFL.com

Published:  March 28, 2013 at 08:46 p.m.







We posted the remaining salary-cap room for all 32 NFL teams Wednesday. The short version: A lot of teams have a lot of cap room. The average team has more than $10 million available.


Only a few high-priced players remain in free agency, so what are the teams with huge cap space going to do with all the room? Glad I asked.

Here's a look at the teams with the most cap space and where they might spend it.

1. Cincinnati Bengals: $28.9 million


Offensive tackle Andre Smith probably is the most expensive player left in free agency. He is likely to return to the Bengals. They also want to bring back cornerback Terence Newman (if his agent calls him back). That will eat up some cap space, but the real coin should be spent on a long-term contract for defensive tackle Geno Atkins. The Bengals would love to re-sign one of the best defensive players in football before his contract year.

The Bengals should carry over plenty of cap space into next season to make new deals for wide receiver A.J. Green and quarterback Andy Dalton easier at that point. (Green and Dalton can't sign new contracts, per the new CBA, until they play three seasons.)

2. Cleveland Browns: $28.8 million


New quarterback Jason Campbell's contract will chip away at this total, and the Browns probably aren't done signing free agents (Brent Grimes?). Still, there aren't a lot of candidates for extensions on the roster. Center Alex Mack is a strong guess; cornerback Joe Haden is another possibility. Haden's contract doesn't run out until after 2014.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: $26.8 million


The Bucs locked up right tackle Demar Dotson on Thursday, but that's not the big-ticket item their fans are hoping for. Tampa Bay has the cap space to trade for New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis without having to push the cap "pain" into the future. At this point, I expect the deal to happen.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars: $26.6 million

New GM David Caldwell made it clear he won't spend big bucks on free agents. At least not this season. Offensive tackle Eugene Monroe is a perfect candidate to get a big contract, but the Jaguars will carry over a lot of cap space into next season.

5. Philadelphia Eagles: $26.3 million


The Eagles' smart offseason approach has afforded them flexibility. It's hard to imagine the Eagles investing much long-term in any of their players until they see how they look under Chip Kelly. The Eagles should carry most of this money over to next season.

6. Green Bay Packers: $18.3 million


Aaron Rodgers figures to become the highest-paid player in the NFL sometime before the draft. Linebacker Clay Matthews might become one of the highest-paid defensive players sometime before the season. If there's any money left over, nose tackle B.J. Raji might get it. Using the franchise tag on Raji next year seems more likely.
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