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Cap could hit $160 million in 2016

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When the salary cap jumped from $123 million to $133 million last week, some suggested it could move to $140 million in 2015 and $150 million in 2016.

Think higher.

One source with knowledge of the process (but not the same source who was on the money -- pun lame but intended -- when providing info about the 2014 cap) tells PFT that the cap could spike to $145 million in 2015 and a whopping $160 million in 2016.

A large jump wouldn’t be a major surprise. While the new TV deals kick in this year (including the recent Thursday night CBS simulcast), the revenue increase won’t hit the cap until next year.

That raises an intriguing question: Why did the cap go up by $320 million based on 2013 revenues? With a 50-50 split in revenue between the owners and players, the increase reflects $640 million in new money.

The full truth as to the bump, annually negotiated by the NFL and NFLPA, never will be known. The teams, however, didn’t anticipate it. Last October, owners were told that the cap would increase by only $3.3 million, to $126.3 million. More recently, the number was pegged increasing by $128.3 million.

As one source explained it to PFT, that’s the number most if not all owners used when establishing their budgets for the upcoming free-agency period. It means that most if not all General Managers will have to persuade their owners to increase the budget in light of the increased cap room.

In Dallas, that would be an interesting conversation.

Moving forward, teams may want to make multiple budgets, because the information the teams are getting from the NFL has been suggesting much lower growth. For now, it’ll be interesting to see whether many/any teams alter their budgets in light of the unexpected spike in the cap.