Reminder: Teams can exceed cap today

While we have a moment, let's make sure we're all clear on an important intersection of NFL rules pertaining the salary cap and franchise players.

As ESPN business analyst Andrew Brandt notes, teams can temporarily exceed the league's salary cap limit during this franchise period. Teams do not need to be in cap compliance until the new league year begins March 13.

So it would be wrong for any of us to assume the Detroit Lions had $11 million (or so) in cap space available Monday when they franchised defensive end Cliff Avril. In all likelihood, they'll need to pull a few tricks to get under the cap by next week if Avril hasn't agreed to a long-term deal by then. And the Green Bay Packers wouldn't need to clear $14 million Monday if they make a last-minute decision to franchise quarterback Matt Flynn.

If I contributed to any confusion on this matter, I apologize. Carry on.