On Saturday the NFL will open up the bidding on free agents, and with the salary cap rising to $133 million it should be interesting to see how many teams plan to use up most of the available space.
Despite the $10 million salary cap increase most teams continue to purge the roster of bloated salaries. That has become the norm in the NFL, where contracts aren't guaranteed, and the league has consistently gotten younger each year as teams push veterans out and replace them with younger, cheaper options.
In today's NFL the only way to make GOOD money is to be in your mid-20s, and unnrestricted when you finally reach free agency.
That is the case for many players like safety Jairus Byrd, offensive tackles Eugene Monroe and Jared Veldheer, receiver Hakeem Nicks, tailback Ben Tate and Knowshon Moreno, cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Alterraun Verner, who should all set the free agent market for their positions because they didn't get slapped with the franchise tag on Monday.
Unlike Greg Hardy, Brian Orakpo, Jimmy Graham, Nick Folk, Alex Mack and Jason Worilds, the six players who either got the franchise or transition tag this year, the previously named youngster, upper echelon free agents will be able to push the envelop by creating a bidding war. It will be interesting to see the outcome of the NFL's open market.
I'm curious to see if anybody gets a contract worth more than $50 million this year. And more importantly, if the guaranteed money payout exceeds the $27 million Mike Wallace got last offseason from the $60 million deal the Dolphins gave him, which was the biggest free agent contract of 2013.
That is where the contracting market has been set. Will it rebound in 2014 now that there's $10 million more in the system per team?
For now all we've got to go on is the price of the franchise tags, which is determined by a complicated formula that averages out the five highest paid salaries at each position, and factors in the salary cap increase for the upcoming year.
Here are the 2014 franchise and transition tag prices, which most teams weren't willing to use to lock up their team's top free agents.
Franchise Tender Amount
Transition Tender Amount
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