Future NFL Financial Power Rankings

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With the 2015 NFL season winding down, it's time to turn focus to 2016 rosters and salary cap tables. We've compiled a mini "power ranking" formula to determine the financial health of each team heading toward the new league year. This report will update automatically as transactions process.

How We're Calculating
What we've done here is carried over starting lineups for each 2015 NFL team and assessed how many of those players are under contract through the 2016 season. From there, we brought in Total 2016 Cap $, and using a projected $154M team cap limit, estimated cap space for each team. We then combined the 2016 cap hits for all signed projected starters to show how much of a team's 2016 total cap $ were being allocated to the starters specifically. And finally we ranked each team in accordance to Estimated Cap Space, Signed Starters, and Percent of Cap $ allocated to starters, to formulate a Future Power Ranking for 2016.

*Note: cap space does NOT include 2015 rollover $ or rookie draft pools as they are not yet confirmed.

A Future Look at 2016 NFL Team Caps vs. Projected Starters
A look at the # of players signed and total cap dollars allocated to 2016 for each NFL team, followed by the number of 2015 starters under contract in 2016 (11 Off, 11 Def, 2 S/T), and the percent of cap dollars currently allocated to those starters.
Team 2016
2016 Cap $ Est. Cap Space Signed 2015 Starters Signed Starters Cap $ % of Starters
Cap vs. Total
1 Cleveland Browns 55 $131,395,141 $45,291,153 19 $85,076,469 64.75%
2 Carolina Panthers 53 $140,404,900 $17,588,241 18 $86,852,471 61.86%
3 Green Bay Packers 51 $155,380,025 $8,059,264 20 $108,923,376 70.1%
4 Miami Dolphins 50 $152,560,347 $14,206,972 20 $86,060,725 56.41%
5 New Orleans Saints 53 $146,288,954 $9,273,108 19 $84,736,198 57.92%
6 Buffalo Bills 53 $152,340,574 $5,035,157 20 $108,006,043 70.9%
7 Jacksonville Jaguars 52 $151,632,217 $38,669,493 22 $79,560,154 52.47%
8 Tennessee Titans 53 $150,462,723 $25,895,103 20 $81,765,754 54.34%
9 Indianapolis Colts 53 $152,482,343 $8,126,686 17 $88,729,190 58.19%
10 Dallas Cowboys 51 $153,909,923 $5,351,260 19 $91,119,163 59.2%
11 New England Patriots 53 $148,847,888 $10,794,563 20 $81,127,462 54.5%
12 Denver Broncos 53 $147,213,128 $6,881,913 14 $89,502,430 60.8%
13 Washington Redskins 53 $147,289,126 $14,674,898 18 $79,502,422 53.98%
14 Houston Texans 53 $152,060,968 $5,125,112 16 $93,720,980 61.63%
15 Detroit Lions 53 $150,891,669 $6,419,547 19 $84,329,091 55.89%
16 San Francisco 49ers 53 $134,002,183 $42,579,751 15 $63,363,678 47.29%
17 Pittsburgh Steelers 53 $151,419,973 $6,209,005 19 $84,411,532 55.75%
18 Philadelphia Eagles 52 $153,130,894 $8,439,468 20 $72,674,396 47.46%
19 Atlanta Falcons 52 $153,820,903 $4,980,768 19 $86,144,707 56%
20 Seattle Seahawks 51 $150,301,345 $4,221,582 15 $87,522,331 58.23%
21 New York Giants 53 $156,074,229 $11,245,930 16 $67,666,809 43.36%
22 Arizona Cardinals 53 $155,855,865 $3,112,551 16 $88,790,183 56.97%
23 Los Angeles Rams 53 $150,830,650 $4,834,539 18 $82,408,400 54.64%
24 New York Jets 54 $159,256,299 $-1,727,565 16 $90,725,416 56.97%
25 Minnesota Vikings 53 $158,374,886 $-1,460,169 19 $87,652,392 55.34%
26 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 54 $155,725,098 $5,413,268 18 $71,066,990 45.64%
27 Kansas City Chiefs 53 $153,684,280 $4,271,650 19 $77,586,997 50.48%
28 Baltimore Ravens 53 $152,132,443 $3,046,312 20 $79,502,478 52.26%
29 Chicago Bears 53 $149,496,553 $7,092,326 14 $61,033,831 40.83%
30 Cincinnati Bengals 53 $157,569,246 $5,108,306 16 $69,351,340 44.01%
31 San Diego Chargers 53 $155,470,367 $1,304,400 18 $73,455,020 47.25%
32 Oakland Raiders 53 $165,508,096 $2,824,657 17 $77,721,206 46.96%
The Browns appear to be starting from scratch yet again, both as a staff, and at the QB position. They'll take a cap hit by releasing Johnny Manziel, but with $45,291,153 to work with, they can certainly handle it. WR Travis Benjamin and OT Mitchell Schwartz highlight an uninspiring list of pending UFAs, and both are likely to remain in Cleveland.
Biggest Contract Needs: QB, WR, ILB, S
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
The Panthers carry over a nice cap situation into 2016, boasting $17,588,241 in cap space, with 53 already under contract - including 18 starters from 2015. Josh Norman, Roman Harper, and Peanut Tillman highlight a list of 39 pending UFAs.
Biggest Contract Needs: DB, DT, WR
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
The Packers have 20 of their 2015 starters under contract next year. Add in $8,059,264 in current cap space, and as usual, Green Bay are in a nice position to build upon their roster. They'll have decisions to make on RB James Stark, DT B.J. Raji, and LB Nick Perry, who highlight a list of 37 pending UFAs.
Biggest Contract Needs: DE/OLB, TE, RB
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
The Dolphins enter 2016 with one of the worst cap situations in the league. They'll soon find a chunk of relief with a base salary restructure to Ndamukong Suh, but will still need to manuever to fill some other holes. On the positive side, Miami has 50 players under contract, including 20 2015 starters.
Biggest Contract Need: CB, OL, RB
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
It's been no secret that the Saints are currently in "cap hell", and the solution doesn't appear to be easy. New Orleans stands at $9,273,108 in space, with 53 under contract, and hold 57 pending UFAs. It's a bad situation about to get worse. Drew Brees' $30M cap figure certainly can't stand, so some sort of move is fortcoming - likely a restructure/extension. Long-time WR Marques Colston is likely on his way out, along with a few other notable bubble players.
Biggest Contract Need: OLB/DE, OG, CB, Backup QB
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
The Bills look to be in a bit of a cap mess ($5,035,157 in est. space), but a few quick moves can get them back on track. Unfortunately those moves will likely come in the form of cap casualties, notably DE/OLB Mario Williams. Buffalo will likely take a wait-and-see approach with QB Tyrod Taylor in 2016, who carries a $2.1M cap hit next season. LT Cordy Glenn, LB Nigel Bradham, and OG Richie Incognito lead a small list of pending UFAs. However the Bills do have 20 2015 starters under contract currently.
Biggest Contract Need: OT, OG, LB
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
The Jaguars took a step forward in 2015, and boast a whopping $38,669,493 in current space to work with. Additionally 22 of 24 starters from last year are already under contract in 2016, for a total of 52 on the cap. The triplet of Bortles, Yeldon, and Robinson appears to have the Jaguars positioned well.
Biggest Contract Needs: OC, Backup QB
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
The Titans are in a nice spot to get better quickly, holding $25,895,103 in space, with 53 under contract (20 2015 starters). Their pending UFA list is a bit light, but points to the fact that the defensive line needs an overhaul. The #1 overall pick will certainly help to that effect.
Biggest Contract Need: DL, OT, S
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
After a heavy dose of "life without Luck" in 2015, the Colts will look to regroup in the offseason. They carry over 17 2015 starters, and hold $8,126,686 in estimated cap space to start things off. LB Jerrell Freeman, and TEs Coby Fleener/Dwayne Allen highlight a list of 56 pending UFAs to be decided on.
Biggest Contract Need: DB, DE/OLB, RB
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
While the Cowboys are currenty low on cap space ($5,351,260), they've done well to get their core under contract for the short-term. Their 2016 cap contains 51 players, 19 of which were starters in 2015. Morris Claiborne, Greg Hardy, and Jeremy Mincey highlight a list of 48 pending UFAs, making it clear that Dallas will be using free agency and their #4 overall draft pick to likely target the defensive side of the ball.
Biggest Contract Needs: Defensive Line, Guard
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
The Patriots are actually up against the cap a bit early on ($10,794,563 in est. space). But with 53 under contract (20 of which were 2015 starters), they may just be rolling over the roster for another year. They'll likely cut ties with a few players on the bubble to free up some dollars, and should be fine when it all matters.
Biggest Contract Need: CB, WR
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
The $6,881,913 in est. 2016 cap space is a bit deceiving, as Denver has just 53 under contract currently in 2016. Additionally, OLB Von Miller, ILB Danny Trevathan, and QB Brock Osweiler headline a list of 58 UFAs pending. The Broncos should pick up an additional $8-$9M in space with the release of veteran OT Ryan Clady.
Biggest Contract Needs: OT, OG, QB, LB
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
The Redskins' cap space will increase mightily when RG3's $16.155M option comes off the table soon. With 53 (18 returning starters) under contract, cuts are likely coming in order to make a few splashes in free agency. Getting Kirk Cousins under contract (likely via the franchise tag to start) will be priority number one. WRs Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson are both on the cap casualty list this offseason.
Biggest Contract Needs: Running Back, Defensive Tackle
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
The Texans have 53 players under contract, and still hold $5,125,112 in estimated cap space. That likely still won't stop them from moving on from long-time RB Arian Foster, whose release will clear $6.625M from their cap. OL Ben Jones and Brandon Brooks highlight their modest list of UFAs, and it's possible an overhaul to the offensive line is on the horizon. Not to mention they'll likely look to upgrade from Brian Hoyer at QB.
Biggest Contract Needs: QB, OC, OG,
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
A year ago the Lions wouldn't be 5 miles from the top of an "efficient cap" ranking, but they've turned the corner on many bloated contracts and are setup nicely through 2016. Their $6,419,547 in estimated cap space could increase another $13M should Calvin Johnson retire. The defense boasts a number of notable free agents that will need to be addressed.
Biggest Contract Need: Defensive Line, Linebackers
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
The fact that only 15 2015 starters are currently under contract might be a blessing for a 49ers team that took a huge step back. San Fran has 53 players allocated to their cap table, and still hold $42,579,751 in est. space. OG Alex Boone, WR Anquan Boldin, and DT Ian Williams lead a small but potent list of pending UFAs.
Biggest Contract Needs: WR, OG, OT, DT
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
The Steelers have a bit of work to do, with an estimated $6,209,005 to work with currently. It's possible that a few long-time veterans may become cap casualties this offseason in order to build for the future, as 19 2015 starters are currently under contract.
Biggest Contract Needs: OG, OLB
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
With the Chip Kelly era in the rear-view, the Eagles are back to square one at the QB position (though Mark Sanchez is signed through 2016). Philly needs to upgrade nearly all pieces of the offensive line as well, and should be free agent players with $8,439,468 in space to work with currently. 20 2015 starters are under contract in 2016, and QB Sam Bradford leads a list of 34 pending UFAs.
Biggest Contract Need: OG, QB, OT
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
The Falcons seemed to right the shape to round out 2015, and will look to bolster things in year two of the Dan Quinn experiment. With a few more likely cap casualties to come, Atlanta will soon build up the $4,980,768 in est. cap space, which should be allocated mostly to the defensive side of the ball. OL Chris Chester and Jake Long highlight a list of notable pending UFAs.
Biggest Contract Need: TE, LB
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
Certainly one of the stories of the offseason, the Seahawks have positioned themselves to stay relevant, if they can keep their finances in order. While the $4,221,582 seems like plenty, with just 51 players signed (15 of 24 2015 starters) there are major holes to fill. LTRussell Okung and LB Bruce Irvin highlight a group of 55 UFAs pending. The future of Marshawn Lynch is also a question mark, and his Post June 1st trade/release/retirement would clear $9M from their cap.
Biggest Contract Needs: OT, OLB/DE, RB
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
The Giants start the offseason in "average shape", boast ing $11,245,930 in est. space, with 53 under contract. But a pending UFA of 55 players leaves plenty of holes to fill, and the Giants will likely be extremely active next month.
Biggest Contract Need: DE/OLB, RB, DB
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
The Cardinals are built to win for the immediate future, with 16 2015 starters currently under contract, accounting for nearly 56.97% of their total cap $. They're sitting with around $3,112,551 in space (projected $154M cap) and will likely look to get younger at the outside pass rush this offseason. 50 are currently pending free agency.
Biggest Contract Needs: DB, DE/OLB, TE
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
The Jets stand with an estimated $-1,727,565 in space to work with early on, but with 54 under contract, it's not as bad as it looks. Unfortunately their starting QB (Ryan Fitzpatrick), and breakout RB (Chris Ivory) along with one of their top defensive linemen in Mo Wilkersonare set to hit free agency. Cap relief is likely coming in the form of a few cap casualties and the Jets haven't been shy with trading away assets in the offseason either.
Biggest Contract Need: OLB, OT, OG, QB, RB
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
With $-1,460,169 in estimated space currently, and 53 players already on the cap, the Vikings don't necessarily NEED to make drastic changes. With somewhat thin free agent pools and WR/OG (their top needs), it's possible that Minnesota will simply look to restructure a few of their own to clear up some space. With 19 2015 starters currently under contract, the Vikings are in a great spot heading toward the offseason.
Biggest Contract Needs: WR, OG, DB
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
Tampa Bay boasts a strong $5,413,268 in estimated cap space, enough to make a dent both in free agency and on draft day. They'll be looking to get younger and better in the secondary and at the interior of their O-Line, while also deciding on whether to bring back RB Doug Martin, or shop elsewhere.
Biggest Contract Needs: DB, OG, RB
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
Getting Justin Houston under contract for the long-term was a big step forward for this Chiefs franchise, who still have $4,271,650 in space to try to reel in some of their 43 pending UFAs, notably Eric Berry, Tamba Hali, and Derrick Johnson.
Biggest Contract Needs: Secondary
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
The Ravens' lack of cap space ($3,046,312) is large in part to QB Joe Flacco's $28.55M cap figure for the upcoming season. A restructured/extension should help fix that (for now). Until then, Baltimore needs to upgrade his WR arsenal, lock in a usable backup QB, re-sign K Justin Tucker, and improve the pass rush.
Biggest Contract Need: DE/OLB, WR, Backup QB
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
The Bears took a step forward in 2015, with injuries holding back what could have been a decent season numbers-wise. While RB Matt Forte, and WR Alshon Jeffery highlight the list of pending UFAs, Chicago would do best to prioritize the pass rush this offseason.
Biggest Contract Need: DE/OLB, DB, WR
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
The Bengals ended 2015 on a sour note (to say the least), but are in a position to build upon their success. They'll need to address major potential free agent losses to CB Adam Jones, FS Reggie Nelson, and SS George Iloka. The good news? They hold an estimated $5,108,306 in space heading through January, with 51 players allocated to the cap. However only 16 of them were starters in 2015.
Biggest Contract Needs: DB, LB, OT
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
With Rivers under contract, the Chargers can focus on filling holes elsewhere and carry $1,304,400 in space and the #3 overall draft pick to do so. The loss of Malcolm Floyd to retirement combined with the pending free agency of Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green make the WR/TE positions an easy priority. Toss in the worst-graded play from the center position, and and a total of 55 pending UFAs, and plenty of change appears to be coming.
Biggest Contract Needs: WR/TE, OC, Backup QB
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters
The Raiders have 17 of their 2015 starters already in the fold - a whopping 46.96% of their overall cap total thus far. Toss in $2,824,657 in space to work with, and a fast-improving team can get better quickly. The defense will be the focus this offseason, with Charles Woodson retiring, and OLB Aldon Smith highlighting a list of 41 free agents.
Biggest Contract Needs: OT, S
» View Projected 2016 Signed Starters