2017 salary cap currently pegged at $166-169 million
On the surface, the salary cap seems to be an objective, unambiguous formula. In reality, the specific team-by-team spending limit is finalized via back-and-forth negotiations between the NFL and the NFL Players Association.
For 2017, the final number will be announced soon, since each team must be in compliance with it by March 9. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the cap currently is expected to be in the range of $166 million to $169 million.
Last year, the cap was $155.27 million. In 2015, the cap was $143.28 million. The year before, $133 million. In 2013, it was $123 million.
Prior to that, the cap was going up much more slowly; in 2012, the cap was $120.6 million per team.
The end result, assuming the low end of the currently projected range for 2017, is a total increase of 37.6 percent in only five years. Which means a lot more money for teams to spend -- and a lot more money for players to make.