Top 25 NFL Cap Hit Increases for 2014

USA TodayMike Wallace’s cap value increases $14M in 2014.

One of the more common approaches to managing the salary cap in the modern NFL structure is the use of an “extension” to reduce salary cap hits in the current year, while spreading out old and new money over more years. The same process occurs when a contract is “restructured”. In both cases the effect can be vastly higher cap figures in the next year of the contract. We’ll take a look at 25 NFL players who have the greatest increase in cap hit from 2013 to 2014.

# Player Age 2013 Cap 2014 Cap Change ($)
1 Mike Wallace (WR, MIA) 27 $3,250,000 $17,250,000 $14,000,000
2 Ndamukong Suh (DT, DET) 26 $10,492,500 $22,412,500 $11,920,000
3 Tony Romo (QB, DAL) 33 $11,818,833 $21,773,000 $9,954,167
4 Vincent Jackson (WR, TB) 30 $3,272,000 $12,432,000 $9,160,000
5 Percy Harvin (WR, SEA) 25 $4,900,000 $13,400,000 $8,500,000
6 Antonio Cromartie (CB, NYJ) 29 $6,520,000 $14,980,000 $8,460,000
7 Joe Flacco (QB, Bal) 28 $6,800,000 $14,800,000 $8,000,000
Dwayne Bowe (WR, KC) 29 $4,000,000 $12,000,000 $8,000,000
9 DeMarcus Ware (DE, DAL) 31 $8,093,750 $16,003,750 $7,910,000
10 Matt Ryan (QB, ATL) 28 $9,600,000 $17,500,000 $7,900,000
11 Larry Fitzgerald (WR, ARI) 30 $10,250,000 $18,000,000 $7,750,000
12 Charles Johnson (DE, CAR) 27 $8,740,000 $16,420,000 $7,680,000
13 Brandon Carr (CB, DAL) 27 $5,432,000 $12,217,000 $6,785,000
14 Mario Williams (DE, BUF) 28 $12,400,000 $18,800,000 $6,400,000
15 Will Smith (LB, NO) 32 $7,602,447 $13,902,451 $6,300,004
16 Carl Nicks (G, TB) 28 $3,072,000 $9,357,000 $6,285,000
17 D’Brickashaw Ferguson (OT, NYJ) 30 $5,588,665 $11,698,665 $6,110,000
18 Ike Taylor (CB, PIT) 33 $5,882,401 $11,942,401 $6,060,000
19 Lawrence Timmons (LB, PIT) 27 $5,816,260 $11,816,260 $6,000,000
Carson Palmer (QB, ARI) 33 $4,000,000 $10,000,000 $6,000,000
20 Chris Long (DE, STL) 28 $8,750,000 $14,700,000 $5,950,000
21 Aaron Rodgers (QB, GB) 30 $12,000,000 $17,900,000 $5,900,000
22 Cliff Avril (DE, SEA) 27 $3,750,000 $9,250,000 $5,500,000
23 Antonio Brown (WR, PIT) 25 $3,120,000 $8,470,000 $5,350,000
24 Ben Roethlisberger (QB, PIT) 31 $13,595,000 $18,895,000 $5,300,000
25 Louis Delmas (S, DET) 26 $1,215,000 $6,500,000 $5,285,000

Related: The Top 25 NFL Cap Hits for 2014


Of the 25 players, to no surprise, 7 are quarterbacks. Tony Romo, Joe Flacco,  Aaron Rodgers, and Matt Ryan will all be entering year two of their extensions. Ben Roethlisberger’s $18.9M cap figure for 2014 is the effect of three straight seasons of contract restructures.

Sam Bradford’s contract was built to escalate in 2014, before dropping off slightly in 2015, his contract year. It’s possible the Rams move on from Bradford and this contract as much of the bonus money/guarantees have passed. Carson Palmer’s 2 year deal with the Cardinals was built to protect the 11 year veteran in terms of money. His $6 million jump in cap is also the amount of “dead cap” he holds in 2014, to go along with a $10 million cap figure.

The Dolphins made the big splash in 2013 free agency when they penned wide receiver Mike Wallace to a $60 million contract. The deal contained a $1 million salary in 2013, and a $15 million guaranteed salary in 2014. The most important factor here is the guarantee. It’s nearly a sure bet that the Dolphins will restructure Mike Wallace’s 2014 numbers to push that $15 million over the course of the next 4 years in order to spread out cap dollars.

Vincent Jackson’s $12.4M cap figure is a victim of a $12.16 million restructure prior to 2013 (a process that should be similar to Mike Wallace in 2014). VJax will remain about $12 million against the Buccaneers cap through 2016.

Percy Harvin has barely played a snap in Seattle, but 5 days after the Super Bowl his $11 million salary for 2014 will become guaranteed. It’s likely Harvin will receive a similar restructure to Wallace, though Seattle may choose to wait a year (Harvin’s 2015 salary is $10.5 million).

Ndamukong Suh has restructured more than $20 million of his $65 million contract in Detroit and the maneuvering will finally catch up in 2014. Suh’s $21.4 million cap figure next year is #2 in the NFL (Romo $21.7). The only likely way out of his figure is the “Tom Brady Pay Cut”, where the Lions would offer to extend Suh a number of years more in order to restructure the restructure, keeping base salaries low.

The New York Jets restructures $8.46 million of Antonio Cromarties’ 2013 salary in order to maintain some value for him on the roster. The same most likely won’t be said for 2014, where the 8 year veteran cornerback’s cap figure jumps to $14.98M, with just $5.48 million in terms of dead cap. The Jets will likely move on to clear room for young blood on a very good defense.

Notable 2014 Cap Savings

Linebacker David Harris has put together another solid and consistent year in the center of the Jets defense. The 29-year-olds $13 million cap figure in 2013 drops to just $7 million next year – the final year of his contract.

The $5 million CB Cortland Finnegan’s 2014 cap figure drops might not be enough to keep the 29 year old around in St. Louis next year. The 8 year veteran was the worst-rated cornerback in football according to Pro Football Focus, and his $10 million cap ties him for #8 among CBs in 2014.

Eli Manning’s abysmal 2013, mixed with the #1 cap value in the NFL was a recipe for disaster in New York. His cap drops just $450,000 this year, #3 overall as it currently stands. It’s possible the Giants will look to extend the deal a few years in order to restructure.

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Article by: Michael Ginnitti