Bengals now about $16 million under cap

August, 6, 2014
Aug 6
7:15
PM ET
CINCINNATI -- After signing quarterback Andy Dalton earlier this week to a six-year contract extension that could pay him up to $115 million through 2020, the Cincinnati Bengals committed a significant portion of their once-massive salary-cap figure.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the Bengals had about $15.9 million remaining in cap space for the 2014 season, according to NFL Players Association records. Before Dalton's extension, they were about $23.7 million under the cap, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Dalton's deal, which will average about $16 million per year, is now scheduled to give the Bengals a cap charge of around $9.1 million this season. Before the extension, he had been set for a $1.7 million cap charge in this, his fourth season.

Prior to Dalton's signing, only the Jacksonville Jaguars had more remaining cap space than the Bengals -- with nearly $27 million left over, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Cincinnati still has one of the larger remaining salary-cap figures, but it is much closer to having spent all its money on this salary-cap cycle.

With the way they structured Dalton's deal, the Bengals did leave room for another deal or two to get done either just before or during this season. Odds are higher that another deal would come at some point this preseason rather than during the regular season, judging from the Bengals' recent history of favoring summertime deals over those at any other time of the year.

Some believe receiver A.J. Green could be next in line for a new deal. Sports Illustrated's Peter King tweeted Monday night that Bengals coach Marvin Lewis texted Green on Sunday after the organization learned Dalton's extension was about to go through. King said Lewis told Green to get his agents ready: It was time he signed long-term, too.

Based on Green's perceived value as a top 3 or, at the very least top 5, receiver, it's possible he could earn a deal just south of Dalton's that would pay him $14-15 million per year. The two highest paid receivers in the league, Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, are averaging just more than $16 million. Depending on how a deal with Green gets structured, in theory, the Bengals could make it work this season.

While there may still be some wiggle room to make such a deal happen, the Bengals don't necessarily have to be in a rush to try to get one done. They have already exercised his fifth-year option for next season, meaning they are assured of the receiver's talents at least through the 2015 season. It's also possible that if they needed to, the Bengals could offer him a franchise tag in 2016 to keep him in town that season, too.

Also on the Bengals' contractual radar: linebacker Vontaze Burfict. The Pro Bowl player entering his final year on an undrafted free agent's contract, was in talks with the Bengals for a contract extension before negotiations reportedly stalled last week. Burfict could be closer to the $5 million per season range, meaning it might be more likely the Bengals revisit his negotiations before they start with Green.

Coley Harvey

ESPN Cincinnati Bengals reporter

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