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NFL 2021: salary cap space, highest players salary and contracts

The National Football League is big, BIG business and we dive into some of the eye-watering numbers across the NFC and AFC teams.

NFL 2021: salary cap space, highest players salary and contracts

The floor of the NFL salary cap for 2021 has been set at $180 million, an increase of $5 million from last year’s previous agreement between the league and the NFL Players Association. But how has this changed and what are the salaries driving the business models across the teams? Let's dig in...

NFL salary cap evolution

Those in charge of the NFL teams have a tricky tight rope to walk when it comes to the rules surrounding salary caps. Initially brought in back in 1994, the cap has increased each year - with 2011 being the exception due to the lockout - and since 2012 the addition has been at least $10 million per year.

Teams have seen their own cap rise to $198.2 million in 2020, a significant growth from 2012’s $120.6 million, but thanks to the coronavirus pandemic that continues to impact on all facets of the economy, the drop to $180 million was expected. In fact, many experts had predicted a lower value.

NFL salary caps compared

Thanks to spotrac's tracker, you can keep a close eye on where every team's cap allocation is at, including their cap space and total cap. At the time of writing, this snapshot of the top ten shows that the Jacksonville Jaguars are ranked in first place for cap space:

NFL team salary cap details: top 10
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NFL team salary cap details: top 10spotrac.com

NFL player contracts

Unsurprisingly, the top 10 players in terms of contract values include seven quarterbacks. Let's have a look at who they are:

NFL player contract values

Patrick Mahomes$450,000,000$10,000,000
Deshaun Watson$156,000,000$27,000,000
Matt Ryan$150,000,00$46,500,000
Khalil Mack$141,000,000$34,000,000
Russell Wilson$140,000,000$65,000,000
Jimmy Garoppolo$137,500,000$7,000,000
Matthew Stafford$135,000,000$50,000,000
Aaron Donald$135,000,000$40,000,000
Joey Bosa$135,000,000-
Aaron Rodgers$134,000,000$57,500,000

Check out the full list and additional details.

NFL salary rankings

For detailed ranking information on the top salaries, cap hits, cash, earnings, contracts and bonuses for all active NFL players, again we turn to spotrac. Again here is a snapshot of the current situation.

NFL rankings
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NFL rankingsspotrac.com

For all the latest up-to-date figures, check out the listings tracker.