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NFL sets salary cap at $182.5 million for 2021 season

NFL: Super Bowl LV-Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

After months and months of speculation, we now know the 2021 NFL salary cap.

It took a big hit as the 2020 salary cap of $198.2 million dropped all the way to $182.5 million this offseason.

That means that teams will have to start getting creative like what we saw the Arizona Cardinals do with the J.J. Watt contract, adding on three voidable years to spread a large chunk of his money down the road.

It makes today’s decisions tomorrow’s problems.

It also explains why the Cardinals are willing to risk letting players like Haason Reddick and Patrick Peterson hit free agency. The NFL as a whole will have to figure out what they want to spend in a year where numbers are down.

Look at the list of free agent edge rushers and Reddick probably ranks around the 10th best.

The NFL offseason is likely to look a lot different in 2021 than it does most years, and it started with today’s announcement.