The NFL's path back to normalcy has met a significant point on the financial side of things.
The league and the NFL Players Association have agreed to a salary cap ceiling of $208.2 million for 2022, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Wednesday. Pelissero noted that there is not currently an agreed-to cap floor and that the final cap figure will not be set until next February.
The ceiling for 2022 is nearly $30 million more than the $182.5 million cap set for 2021, pointing toward an expected spike in future revenue for the league following a season that was primarily played without fans in attendance due to COVID-19.
While this might seem irrelevant to those solely focused on 2021, it's highly important for front offices and player agents as they understand how each side can go about working on long-term deals and planning well beyond 2021. The cap ceiling doesn't guarantee that the 2022 cap will be $208.2 million, but at least gives teams and players a point of reference for their financial planning, and indicates the league is headed back toward a cap number most expected before the COVID-19 pandemic caused revenue shortfalls resulting in 2021's reduced cap number.
The higher cap ceiling is also good news to players who took less money to bet on themselves while holding out for more available financial liquidity in 2022. Again, it's not guaranteed to land at $208.2 million in 2022, but it indicates the NFL and NFLPA expect money from new media deals, the return of fans to games, etc., should bring the salary cap back in line with previous projections -- and perhaps well beyond it in future years.