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NFL salary cap for 2022 increases by nearly $26M to $208.2M

March 8, 2022 GMT
FILE - Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki (88) walks on the field ahead of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Miami Dolphins placed the franchise tag on tight end Mike Gesicki on Tuesday, March 8, which will keep him under contract for the 2022 season. (AP Photo/Willfredo Lee, File)
FILE - Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki (88) walks on the field ahead of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Miami Dolphins placed the franchise tag on tight end Mike Gesicki on Tuesday, March 8, which will keep him under contract for the 2022 season. (AP Photo/Willfredo Lee, File)
FILE - Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki (88) walks on the field ahead of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Miami Dolphins placed the franchise tag on tight end Mike Gesicki on Tuesday, March 8, which will keep him under contract for the 2022 season. (AP Photo/Willfredo Lee, File)
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FILE - Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki (88) walks on the field ahead of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Miami Dolphins placed the franchise tag on tight end Mike Gesicki on Tuesday, March 8, which will keep him under contract for the 2022 season. (AP Photo/Willfredo Lee, File)
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FILE - Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki (88) walks on the field ahead of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Miami Dolphins placed the franchise tag on tight end Mike Gesicki on Tuesday, March 8, which will keep him under contract for the 2022 season. (AP Photo/Willfredo Lee, File)

The NFL’s salary cap for 2022 will be $208.2 million, a healthy increase from the previous, pandemic-impacted years.

The cap is going up from $182.5 million, which was down by nearly $10 million from the 2020 season.

Adding in benefits attached to the cap, teams will be allowed to have a total player cost of $284.367 million.

Quarterbacks, of course, will have the highest franchise tag hit at $29.7 million. The 32 teams had until 4 p.m. Tuesday to apply franchise tags, and two star receivers, Green Bay All-Pro Davante Adams and Tampa Bay’s Chris Godwin, got them. The deadline for franchise-tagged players to reach a long-term contract is July 15.

Free agency officially begins Wednesday, March 16, though teams can negotiate with player representatives beginning Monday. Most big deals get done in the two days before the league year officially starts.

The second-highest tag price is for linebacker at $18.7 million, followed closely by wide receivers ($18.4 million), and defensive ends ($17.85 million). Then come defensive tackles ($17.39 million), cornerbacks ($17.28 million), offensive linemen ($16.66 million), safeties ($12.91 million), tight ends ($10.93 million), running backs ($9.57 million) and kickers ($5.22 million).

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Other players who were given franchise tags were tackles Orlando Brown Jr. of Kansas City and Cam Robinson of Jacksonville; Cincinnati safety Jessie Bates III; and tight ends Mike Gesicki of Miami, Dalton Schultz of Dallas, and David Njoku of Cleveland.

None of those tagged was given the exclusive category, meaning any of them could sign elsewhere, but the club losing the player would receive two first-round draft selections as compensation.

Also:

—The Chargers and Mike Williams worked out a three-year, $60 million extension that has $40 million guaranteed. Williams was the seventh overall draft pick by the Chargers in 2017 and is coming off a career season when he set personal highs in catches (76) and yards (1,146). He also had nine touchdowns and averaged 15.1 yards per catch.

—The Bills freed up about $5 million in cap space by cutting linebacker A.J. Klein, who was entering the final year of a three-year contract. In completing his ninth NFL season, Klein had four starts in 15 games, and was the primary backup to Matt Milano and Tremaine Edmunds. Buffalo is still projected to be close to $10 million over the cap.

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