With the start of free agency looming and the subsequent constant mentions of the NFL salary cap, it makes sense to take stock of the situation. What will the salary cap for the 2013 NFL season be? More importantly, where do the Texans stand in terms of being or getting under that number?
The answer to the first question, according to PFT, is $121,500,000.00. That's slightly up from the $120,600,000.00 cap that governed the 2012 season. Not to go off on a tangent, but something else to bear in mind...a lot of writers/fans (including me) were laboring under the impression that the salary cap would dramatically increase upon the NFL signing new television deals in 2014. That's apparently not in the cards:
Per a source with extensive knowledge of the design and implementation of the cap, the formula will experience a "smoothing" in the coming years, with no one year resulting in a dramatic leap. The thinking is that, if the cap shoots up dramatically from one year to the next, it won’t be fair to the players who signed a big contract in the year in which the cap was lower.
Back to 2013...if the cap is expected to be $121,500,000.00 this year, what is the Texans' current cap situation? SB Nation, via Spotrac, has an estimate of every team's current figure. According to that data, your Houston Texans are presently on the hook for $104,928,345.00. That would leave them with $16,571,655.00 in available cap space before any restructures are done, releases are made, or signings are consummated. Keep in mind that a portion of a team's cap is earmarked for the rookie draft pool, so it's not like the Texans have that full number to allocate toward adding veterans. And I'd be remiss if I didn't note that there's no real way to verify the accuracy of those numbers, or any cap numbers; no one outside the league truly knows where every cent is committed.
Nevertheless, I leave you with this: Assuming the cap numbers listed by Spotrac are correct or close thereto, look at the astounding amount of cap room the Bengals and Colts have. It's nice to talk about players taking less to play somewhere, but there are a few teams that can throw enough money at the players they want to make it awfully tough for anyone to embrace a below-market deal.