The 2017 NFL salary cap numbers are in, and it appears that the Carolina Panthers have plenty to spend.
A league source (and later the NFLPA) confirmed on Tuesday morning that this year’s cap is set at $167 million. That figure is more than a $10 million increase from the 2016 season ($155 million) and a $24 million increase from 2015. This is the fourth year the cap has increased by at least $10 million over the previous year.
$40 million The approximate amount the Carolina Panthers have to work with in free agency and the NFL draft after Kawann Short signs his franchise tag.
For the Panthers this would mean, all things equal, that they have a workable $53-55 million to use (including a $13 million carryover from last year).
That $13 million will likely go to defensive tackle Kawann Short, who is expected to sign the franchise tag the Panthers placed on him earlier this week.
The Panthers will direct some of a three-year, $22.5 million contract to defensive end Mario Addison in 2017. A league source told the Observer that Addison will get $4.35 million against the cap this year. He signed the extension with the Panthers last week.
Carolina will also likely spend between $10-12 million on their draft picks, including the No. 8 pick in this year’s draft. The team has four top-100 picks after earning a compensatory pick in tandem with last year’s release of Josh Norman. Carolina is also expected to shed a little financial weight in free agency, as players like backup linebacker A.J. Klein look elsewhere for opportunity.
After those numbers are factored in, the Panthers have approximately $30 million-plus in cap room to work with in free agency in 2017.