Financially Assessing the 2017 NFL Playoff Teams

Financially Assessing the 2017 NFL Playoff Teams
Untitled Document

As the 2017 NFL season flips from regular to postseason, 20 teams are turning the page to offseason mode, while 12 are headed into January football. We'll take a quick look at the financial spending for each postseason roster, further highlighting their stability heading toward the 2018 offseason.

Related Links


2017 Postseason Team Spending
  • The chart below represents % of cap dollars allocated positionally - including all players on the team's table (active, injured, starters, backups, etc).
  • These 12 playoff teams have an average of 9.8% allocated to starting + backup quarterbacks.
  • Running backs account for just 5.8% of postseason cap dollars.
  • At 39%, the Falcons lead all playoff teams in combined QB/RB/WR/TE allocations (the Chiefs carry just 22%).
  • At 57% the Steelers hold the most offensive cap allocations (Titans, 38%), while at 52% the Titans lead the way defensively (Bills, 28%)
2018 Team Financial Analysis

Atlanta Falcons

Projected 2018 Cap Space: $16.5M
No. of Draft Picks: 6
Potential Cap Casualties:

Levine Toilolo (TE, $5M), Matt Schaub (QB, $5.5M)

Offseason Notes:

Adrian Clayborn finally had his breakout season (in a contract year) and will head into March as one of the top free agents should Atlanta not lock him up. Elsewhere QB Matt Ryan is set to enter a contract year in 2018 and will likely command $29M/year on a new extension.

Notable Free Agents:

Buffalo Bills

Projected 2018 Cap Space: $39M
No. of Draft Picks: 8 (2 1st, 2 2nd)
Potential Cap Casualties:

Cordy Glenn (OT, $14.45M),  Tyrod Taylor (QB, $18.08M)

Offseason Notes:

The Bills did just enough to crack into the postseason (much thanks to the Bengals late-game heroics), but it still may not be enough to keep Taylor in the fold in 2018. With ample cap space & plenty of draft assets, the Bills front office has ammunition going forward.

Notable Free Agents:

Carolina Panthers

Projected 2018 Cap Space: $17.4M
No. of Draft Picks: 8
Potential Cap Casualties:

Jonathan Stewart  (RB, $5.25M), Russell Shepard (WR, $3.55M)

Offseason Notes:

Andrew Norwell has been a top-5 rated guard all season, and will command a new contract north of $10M per year. Carolina will need to find cap space in a few places to put themselves in a position to get better this March.

Notable Free Agents:

Jacksonville Jaguars

Projected 2018 Cap Space: $23M
No. of Draft Picks: 7
Potential Cap Casualties:

Chris Ivory  (RB, $7M), Blake Bortles  (QB, $19M)

Offseason Notes:

The Jags pushed through their glass ceiling in 2017, but still don't appear sold on QB Bortles in any long-term fashion. They can cut/trade him prior to March 14th with no dead cap, saving $19M against their 2018 cap table. Jacksonville will need to address the WR position this spring as both Marqise Lee & Allen Robinson's contracts expire.

Notable Free Agents:

Kansas City Chiefs

Projected 2018 Cap Space: -$6.6M
No. of Draft Picks: 4 (no 1st)
Potential Cap Casualties:

Alex Smith (QB, $20.6M), Tamba Hali (OLB, $9.7M), Dee Ford  (OLB, $8.7M), Ron Parker (SS, $7M)

Offseason Notes:

The Chiefs are in arguably the worst cap situation in all of football heading into 2018. They can improve their business situation by releasing QB Alex Smith, resulting in $17M in savings. Toss in a few likely cap cuts on the defensive side of the ball and KC can get financially OK quicky - but they'll be hardpressed to maintain their level of play on the field in 2018.

Notable Free Agents:

Los Angeles Rams

Projected 2018 Cap Space: $48M
No. of Draft Picks: 7 (no 2nd)
Potential Cap Casualties:

Tavon Austin  (WR, $8M)

Offseason Notes:

The Rams took 10 steps forward in 2017, but will need to shell out some cash this offseason to keep the train moving. The majority of their secondary will need to be re-signed, replaced, along with at least 1 primary receiver position (likely 2 after Tavon Austin is released), And most notably, it's time for the best DT in all of football Aaron Donald to get paid, a contract that will near $20M per year when it's said and done.

Notable Free Agents:

Minnesota Vikings

Projected 2018 Cap Space: $52M
No. of Draft Picks: 5
Potential Cap Casualties:

Brian Robison  (DE, $3.5M)

Offseason Notes:

The Vikings have 3 able QBs on their 2017 roster, but none of them are under contract in 2018. Keenum's updated market value sits at $18.5M after a strong finish to the regular season. It's likely his services are retained by Minnesota, but not a sure thing.

Notable Free Agents:

New England Patriots

Projected 2018 Cap Space: $15.4M
No. of Draft Picks: 6 (2 2nds)
Potential Cap Casualties:

Martellus Bennett (TE, $6.45M), Alan Branch (DT, $4.7M)

Offseason Notes:

As ususal the Patriots will head into the offseason with limited cap space, but much of their roster under contract. After signing 3 running backs in the 2017 offseason, New England will need to make a decision on their most productive weapon Dion Lewis, whose contract will expire in a few weeks. Also nearing expiring is 29-year old left tackle Nate Solder, who will command at least $12M a year.

Notable Free Agents:

New Orleans Saints

Projected 2018 Cap Space: $20M
No. of Draft Picks: 8 (no 2nd)
Potential Cap Casualties:

Coby Fleener (TE, $8M)

Offseason Notes:

The Saints $20M in projected cap space includes $18M in dead cap for QB Drew Brees, whose contract will void at the start of the league year. By extending their long-time leader, New Orleans can spread out this dead cap in increments of $6M. New Orleans will need to be creative to build on a productive 2017, including getting younger and cheaper in a few areas.

Notable Free Agents:

Philadelphia Eagles

Projected 2018 Space: -$2M
No. of Draft Picks: 6 (no 2nd or 3rd)
Potential Cap Casualties:

Nick Foles (QB, $7.6M), Brent Celek (TE, $5M), Jason Peters (OT, $11.6M)

Offseason Notes:

Wentz's injury put a damper on breakout season for Philly, who stare down a mess of a cap situation in 2018. Foles may be asked to take a paycut to stick around, but another injury to left tackle Jason Peters puts his future in dire - even though he's still producing at a very high level. Trey Burton should be a name to watch for this free agent period.

Notable Free Agents:

Pittsburgh Steelers

Projected 2018 Cap Space: $2M
No. of Draft Picks: 6
Potential Cap Casualties:

Darrius Heyward-Bey  (WR, $1.3M), Coty Sensabaugh  (CB, $1.6M), Ramon Foster (OG, $3.6M)

Offseason Notes:

Pittsburgh has an interesting offseason upcoming, with little to no cap space, the best running back in football on an expiring contract, a QB who once again will be considered in retirement discussion, a star linebacker working his way back from an awful neck injury, and nearly all their highest-paid players still producing at above average levels. Something will need to break here to get them into financial stability, especially if the plan with Bell is another franchise tag ($14.5M)

Notable Free Agents:

Tennessee Titans

Projected 2018 Cap Space: $52M
No. of Draft Picks: 7
Potential Cap Casualties:

DeMarco Murray  (RB, $6.5M), Da'Norris Searcy  (SS, $4.925M)

Offseason Notes:

The Titans overachieved in 2017 despite up and down play from QB Marcus Mariota. Tennessee has a few fish to feed on the defensive side of the ball, and will likely move on from the higher priced RB Murray this spring to clear even more space. Look for TEN to be free agent players this March, especially targeting the offensive line and depth WR positions.

Notable Free Agents: