- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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We’ve had some recent moves in the NFC South, so it’s time to update where each of the division’s four teams stand in terms of money committed toward a 2011 salary cap.
The latest numbers factor in the re-signing of Ronde Barber in Tampa Bay and the release of Jeremy Shockey by New Orleans as well as a few other minor moves. Even with the Barber contract, which is worth an even $4 million in terms of cash and cap space, the Bucs still have the least amount of money committed to next seasons cap. Carolina is second in the league.
Tampa Bay currently stands at $63.8 million. The Bucs are placing restricted tags on guard Davin Joseph and some others, but those numbers aren’t factored in here. That’s due to the fact there is no labor agreement in place so we don’t know if restricted tags and franchise tags (like the one Carolina used on center Ryan Kalil) will be valid or what the numbers will be.
Carolina is at $73 million. But the Panthers are likely to take about a $10 million hit on Kalil and their numbers will jump even more if the restrict tags they plan to use on running back DeAngelo Williams and defensive Charles Johnson turn out to be valid.
After the Panthers and Bucs, there is a big jump to the other two NFC South teams in terms of 2011 salary-cap commitment. The league average is $101 million and New Orleans and Atlanta are sitting slightly above that.
The Saints are at $104.8 million and the Falcons at $103.5 million. We won’t know exactly what the cap will be until a labor deal is reached. The 2010 season was uncapped, so the best reference point is the 2009 cap, which was about $130 million.