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Starting the 2020 regular season is not considered feasible until the NFL and NFL Players Association reach an agreement on how to manage future salary caps, sources told Ian Rapoport, Mike Garafolo, and Judy Battista of NFL Network.
The NFL and NFLPA are preparing to discuss the cap, which is in danger of plummeting in 2021 due to potential revenue losses stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. The salary cap is calculated based on expected revenue.
Each NFL team could miss out on somewhere between $40 million and $80 million if fans are not allowed to attend games in 2020, and the league could see as much as $4 billion to $5 billion vanish. Such extreme losses would likely shrink the cap significantly in 2021.
But new TV deals will lead to an influx of cash in 2022 and could cause the cap to spike again. As a result, teams could struggle with cap volatility as they attempt to construct rosters.
The NFL and NFLPA reportedly hope to reach an agreement on how to proceed before training camps begin. Camps are currently scheduled to open in late July.
One possible solution could reportedly see the sides agree to borrow money from future TV deals in order to stabilize the cap in the short term, though such a move would lead to smaller increases in future seasons.
The 2020 salary cap was previously set at $198.2 million. It has increased by approximately $10 million each year since 2013.