League raises salary cap to $133 million
(Reuters) - The National Football League's salary cap will be increased by nearly $10 million next year to $133 million per team, the league told teams on Friday.
The rise is larger than initial estimates and gives teams a little extra breathing room under the cap, which is tied to projected revenue from all of the NFL's commercial agreements for the upcoming season and meets requirements under the Players' Association's Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
The 2014 level represents the highest salary cap set by the league, though that is expected to rise in 2015 when new television contracts are factored into the equation.
The 2011 CBA gives players 55 percent of revenue from TV deals, 45 percent of revenue from league properties and 40 percent of local revenue.
Individual teams are required to spend an average of 89 percent of the salary cap from 2013-16, while teams across the league must spend an average of 95 percent of the salary cap over the four-year period.
The Pittsburgh Steelers ($138.7m) and Dallas Cowboys ($150.9m) are the only two teams projected to be above the salary cap and the increased limit for the 2014 season will allow them greater opportunity to hold onto players.
Teams have until March 11, the start of the league's 2014 year and free agency, to cut or trade away players on their roster or renegotiate contracts to ensure they meet the cap requirements. Teams above the cap are fined by the league.
Players like New Orleans tight-end Jimmy Graham, who are franchise tagged, will benefit from the increased level as their salaries are tied to a percentage of the cap.
(Reporting by Ben Everill in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)