NFL: Projected Salary Cap Space for Every Team in the NFC

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks are the cream of the NFC crop after having won two straight conference championships and averaging 12 wins a season for the last three years. Needless to say, the other 15 teams in the NFC will be setting out to narrow the gap between themselves and the Seahawks this offseason, starting with free agency.

The 2015 NFL free agency period is scheduled to begin on March 10 at 4:00 p.m. ET. As usual, there will be some teams with the salary cap flexibility to be a lot more aggressive than other teams in pursuing the top free agents on the market this offseason. Here is a look at the projected salary cap space for all 16 teams in the NFC. All salary cap data courtesy of Spotrac.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys
All Active Contracts:  $119.30 million
2014 Salary Cap Rollover:  $3.26 million
Dead Money:  $11.74 million
Draft Pool:  $5.01 million
Total Salary Cap Space:  $16.84 million

The Cowboys’ goals this offseason begin and end with locking up wide receiver Dez Bryant and running back DeMarco Murray. Bryant will likely be getting the team’s franchise tag, which will count as almost $13 million against their salary cap, which would leave them a relatively small amount of cap space to get a deal done with Murray. The Cowboys’ defense will also need attention this offseason, but will likely need to be upgraded through the Draft.

New York Giants
All Active Contracts:  $131.93 million
2014 Salary Cap Rollover:  $151,000
Dead Money:  $5.59 million
Draft Pool:  $6.27 million
Total Salary Cap Space:  $16.44 million

The Giants first need to make a decision on Jason Pierre-Paul. They have the option to re-sign him to a long-term deal, franchise tag him, or let him go out and test his value on the free agency market. After attending to JPP, the Giants need to address their offensive tackle, linebacker, and safety positions.

Philadelphia Eagles
All Active Contracts:  $144.22 million
2014 Salary Cap Rollover:  $15.72 million
Dead Money:  $1.95 million
Draft Pool:  $5.35 million
Total Salary Cap Space:  $19.04 million

The Eagles could make more of splash than any other team in the league this offseason. There is a lot of talk surrounding the Eagles and the idea of them mortgaging their future to move up and select former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, but they also have multiple holes in their secondary that may actually be more pressing than finding a new quarterback. With that being said, if they can re-sign wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, and address their secondary needs through free agency, then we very well may see the Eagles make a Draft day move for Mariota.

Washington Redskins
All Active Contracts:  $138.50 million
2014 Salary Cap Rollover:  $108,621
Dead Money:  $1.06 million
Draft Pool:  $6.94 million
Total Salary Cap Space:  $11.72 million

The Redskins are actually in good shape on the offensive side of the ball, but will only go as far as their quarterback – likely Robert Griffin III – play dictates. There is a chance they may add another quarterback this offseason, but they also have holes in the secondary, on their defensive line, and at right tackle that need to be addressed.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

NFC North

Chicago Bears
All Active Contracts:  $120.86 million
2014 Salary Cap Rollover:  $1.55 million
Dead Money:  $105,155
Draft Pool:  $5.70 million
Total Salary Cap Space:  $23.89 million

The Bears would have the salary cap space to be extremely aggressive in free agency if they weren’t facing a $16.5 million cap hit for quarterback Jay Cutler. While they still have a good amount of money to spend, they will likely not be able to address every position that needs improvement this offseason. They are in desperate need of help at linebacker with Lance Briggs likely being done in Chicago and long-time Bears great Brian Urlacher retiring a year ago. After that, they need to improve in the secondary and find an every-down pass rusher.

Detroit Lions
All Active Contracts:  $117.84 million
2014 Salary Cap Rollover:  $939,171
Dead Money:  $13.83 million
Draft Pool:  $4.71 million
Total Salary Cap Space:  $15.18 million

The Lions’ biggest offseason decision revolves around defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. They likely won’t be able to lock up the five-time All-Pro to a long-term extension, and the franchise tag would cost the Lions $36.59 million — $26.89 million for the franchise tag and $9.7 million in dead money — in salary cap space. If Suh ends up leaving the Lions, they will need to find an adequate replacement, which is something that may be very difficult to do. After dealing with Suh, the Lions will need to address needs along their offensive line and at cornerback.

Green Bay Packers
All Active Contracts:  $129.29 million
2014 Salary Cap Rollover:  $7.79 million
Dead Money:  $587,020
Draft Pool:  $4.44 million
Total Salary Cap Space:  $24.29 million

The Packers are in good shape from a salary cap standpoint, and should be able to re-sign every in-house free agent they are interested in. Between free agency and the Draft, Green Bay will be looking to add impact players at inside linebacker and tight end in addition to adding depth along their offensive line.

Minnesota Vikings
All Active Contracts:  $137.72 million
2014 Salary Cap Rollover:  $5.72 million
Dead Money:  $266,728
Draft Pool:  $5.51 million
Total Salary Cap Space:  $18.55 million

Vikings’ General Manager Rick Spielman said that he expects Adrian Peterson to be back with the team in 2015, despite the All-Pro running back’s off-field issues. Peterson’s presence would address a huge need at running back and open the door for the team to pursue help at wide receiver and offensive line.

Elsa/Getty Images

Elsa/Getty Images

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons
All Active Contracts:  $125.14 million
2014 Salary Cap Rollover:  $2.85 million
Dead Money:  $1.43 million
Draft Pool:  $6.26 million
Total Salary Cap Space:  $22.69 million

New head coach Dan Quinn has a top-10 draft pick and a decent amount of salary cap space available to help rebuild the Falcons into a legitimate NFC contender. Their secondary will need to be revamped if Quinn is going to install the defensive scheme he used with the Seattle Seahawks, and their pass rush needs to improve regardless of the scheme they install. Offensively, the Falcons will be looking to add a receiving threat such as Julius Thomas at the tight end position in addition to finding an every-down running back and improving their offensive line.

Carolina Panthers
All Active Contracts:  $132.94 million
2014 Salary Cap Rollover:  $4.94 million
Dead Money:  $7.36 million
Draft Pool:  $4.63 million
Total Salary Cap Space:  $12.68 million

First and foremost, the Panthers need to do a better job of protecting quarterback Cam Newton in 2015. They will likely be in the market for help at offensive tackle, and could very well invest their first round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft in improving the position. After that, they will need to address the defensive end position with Greg Hardy and the team severing ties this offseason, and they will need to add another wide receiver to compliment Kelvin Benjamin.

New Orleans Saints
All Active Contracts:  $172.66 million
2014 Salary Cap Rollover:  $1.71 million
Dead Money:  $926,298
Draft Pool:  $5.29 million
Total Salary Cap Space:  $-23.18 million

The Saints have serious salary cap issues that will keep them from being able to re-sign guys like running back Mark Ingram and cornerback Patrick Robinson. They have their work cut out for them to get under the 2015 salary cap while also addressing needs at center, cornerback, and pass rusher.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
All Active Contracts:  $112.48 million
2014 Salary Cap Rollover:  $1.06 million
Dead Money:  $7.10 million
Draft Pool:  $8.11 million
Total Salary Cap Space:  $27.88 million

All signs point to the Bucs taking quarterback Jameis Winston with the top pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Winston will address the team’s biggest concern, which is the quarterback position, and opens the door for them to improve in other areas. Their most pressing needs are at linebacker and offensive line.

Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images

Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals
All Active Contracts:  $160.80 million
2014 Salary Cap Rollover:  $4.26 million
Dead Money:  $2.42 million
Draft Pool:  $4.67 million
Total Salary Cap Space:  $-8.60

The Cardinals are set to get some salary cap relief as the team and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald have reportedly agreed to a new two-year contract. This will allow them to add depth along their defensive line and at linebacker in addition to pursuing a running back, such as Frank Gore, in free agency.

St. Louis Rams
All Active Contracts:  $148.25 million
2014 Salary Cap Rollover:  $0
Dead Money:  $300,086
Draft Pool:  $4.70 million
Total Salary Cap Space:  $-1.48 million

The Rams have their hands tied until they either release quarterback Sam Bradford or re-work his contract. They clearly need help at quarterback, and may still turn to Bradford if he is willing to take a significant pay cut. After the quarterback position, the Rams will be looking to improve their offensive line and also be looking to add a top-tier wide receiver.

San Francisco 49ers
All Active Contracts:  $151.59 million
2014 Salary Cap Rollover:  $4.21 million
Dead Money:  $6.48 million
Draft Pool:  $5.11 million
Total Salary Cap Space:  $-2.99 million

The 49ers will likely be losing guard Mike Iupati, running back Frank Gore, and wide receiver Michael Crabtree to free agency due to their unenviable salary cap situation. They may have to face the reality that it is time to unload salaries and begin the rebuilding process.

Seattle Seahawks
All Active Contracts:  $116.90 million
2014 Salary Cap Rollover:  $4.83 million
Dead Money:  $7.50 million
Draft Pool:  $4.41 million
Total Salary Cap Space:  $23.33 million

The Seahawks have a decent amount of cap space, but that is before they sign quarterback Russell Wilson to a long-term extension. They also have extensions for offensive tackle Russell Okung, running back Marshawn Lynch, and linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright looming. Of course, there is also the possibility that the Seahawks try to find a way to sign defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who reportedly wants to sign with Seattle.