Quite a lot happened in regards to the 2020 NFL season yesterday. The NFL and the NFLPA reached an agreement to move forward with training camp and the regular season. With plenty of implications that will impact the 2020 season for the Jaguars and the rest of the teams in the NFL, including player opt-outs, yesterday was a monumental step towards football.
On the player opt-out front, disgruntled pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue could decide to go that route. But he'd be missing out on a season accrued, which would allow the Jaguars to place the franchise tag on him in 2021 and '22. He'd also be losing out on the $17.8 million he'd make by playing under the franchise tag in 2020.
Another implication? The NFL salary cap could be reduced down from about $210 million in 2020 to $175 million in 2021, depending on how much revenue the NFL loses out on this season. For many teams around the league, that would dramatically change what they're able to do from a roster-building standpoint next offseason.
But the Jaguars would still be in a safe spot with their salary cap. According to OverTheCap.com, the Jaguars would have about $64 million in cap space, even if the cap shrank to $175 million.
How are the Jaguars in such a great position financially? A ton of dead money is coming off the cap after the 2020 season. Nick Foles, Telvin Smith, AJ Bouye, Marqise Lee, Calais Campbell, Jake Ryan, Marcell Dareus, and Geoff Swaim are still taking up $36.87 million in 2020 dead cap.
With the fourth most projected cap space in football, the Jaguars would have more than enough freedom to place the franchise tag on Yannick Ngakoue again, sign some younger players like DJ Chark or Taven Bryan to long term deals, and be active in free agency.
The Jaguars could further improve their salary cap positioning by releasing Andrew Norwell after the season, which would free up an additional $9 million. Moving on from AJ Cann would save another $5 million.
While teams like the Eagles, Saints, Falcons, Chiefs, Steelers, Bears, Raiders, and Vikings would need to shed salary just to get under the cap, the Jaguars are sitting pretty.
Jaguars' GM Dave Caldwell and special assistant John Idzik may not be doing well in the win-loss column, but they've been masters at using the salary cap to their advantage during their time in Jacksonville together.
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