The NFL is the most popular sport in the United States, but there’s one area where it lags behind the NBA and MLB. Pro football doesn’t have guaranteed contracts. Players risk severe injury every few seconds during a game, and they are one mishap away from never playing again. And if a player’s performance slips? Well, a team will just cut him rather than keep him around. Plus, quarterbacks are almost always the highest-paid players in the game. Given the volatility surrounding NFL contracts, it makes sense that players want to earn as much as possible when they hit free agency. With that in mind, and with free agency starting on March 13, let’s look at the 10 NFL teams with the most cap space in the 2019 free agency period.
10. Tennessee Titans
Cap space: $45.7 million
The Titans’ offense ranked No. 27 in the NFL in points per game (19.4) last season. The reason Tennessee managed a 9-7 record in 2018 is because the defense yielded just 18.9 per game. If anonymous owner Amy Adams-Strunk gives general manager Jon Robinson the go-ahead to spend freely, you can bet offense is going to be a focus.
9. Cincinnati Bengals
Cap space: $47.9 million
The Bengals went 6-10 in 2018, but as one of the NFL teams with the most cap space, they can improve quickly if they’re smart with their money. Cincinnati was in the middle of the pack both offensively and defensively last year, so a balanced approach to free agency seems like the way to go/
8. Baltimore Ravens
Cap space: $55 million
Former Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell hits free agency in 2019, and we can see Baltimore as one of his possible landing spots. The Ravens don’t have as much money as some of the other teams on our list, but the chance to stick it to the Steelers twice a year might sway him to sign on the bottom line for Baltimore.
7. Oakland Raiders
Cap space: $60.9 million
Jon Gruden is famously one of the highest-paid coaches in the NFL, and we won’t be surprised if some of his players join him. The Raiders hope to put a disastrous 2018 behind them, and as one of the NFL teams with the most cap space, they have the resources to upgrade and improve on last year’s 4-12 showing.
6. San Francisco 49ers
Cap space: $61.4 million
We can see San Francisco being where receiver Antonio Brown ends up, and having more than $61 million in cap room to negotiate a deal doesn’t hurt. Of course, if AB doesn’t head to the bay area, the 49ers can sign multiple wideouts during free agency with all that cap space.
5. Houston Texans
Cap space: $68.3 million
The Texans finished middle of the pack both offensively and defensively last season, but they still made the playoffs. The good news is they’re among the NFL teams with the most cap space, so they can shore up weaknesses on both sides of the ball. And with a division rival poised to spend wildly (more on that in a minute), you can bet Houston will be active on the free agent market.
4. Buffalo Bills
Cap space: $73.3 million
Buffalo came close to landing Antonio Brown via trade, but the deal fell through. The Bills missed on one target, but as one of the NFL teams with the most cap space, they’re sure to add some high-profile free agents for the 2019 season.
3. Cleveland Browns
Cap space: $78.8 million
Quarterback Baker Mayfield’s 2018 breakthrough is one reason the Browns could turn it around in 2019, and the other is that Cleveland is one of the NFL teams with the most cap space. No matter what the Browns feel they need to compete, they can probably afford it to pay for it during the 2019 free agency period.
2. New York Jets
Cap space: $97.8 million
The Jets were the worst team in the AFC East in 2018, and taking a run at New England for the top spot won’t be easy. However, New York has a lot of space under the salary cap to bolster the roster. The downside is that the Jets have only 48 players under contract (the fewest on our list), so they have to spread around the wealth.
1. Indianapolis Colts
Cap space: $105.8