While the 2017 NFL regular season is entering its home stretch, some in the league are already looking forward to the future: NFL league meetings are currently taking place and one of the topics discussed was the salary cap and how it would look like in 2018. According to a first report by NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the cap is once again expected to rise by a significant number:
During the financial portion of the @NFL league meetings, teams were given a 2018 salary cap projection of $174.2-178.1M, source says. It was $167M last year. The final number comes in the spring.
As things currently stand, the New England Patriots have top 51 salary cap commitments of roughly $162.9 million next year (per overthecap.com). This would leave the team with around $12 million in available cap space to sign rookies, potentially (re-)sign upcoming free agents – including players like Danny Amendola, Rex Burkhead, Dion Lewis, Nate Solder, Malcolm Butler, Matthew Slater and Nate Ebner.
However, the Patriots will not keep all players currently under contract for next season, or at least will adjust their cap hits. It would be a huge surprise, for example, to see tight end Martellus Bennett be on New England's books with $6.4 million next offseason. In short: The team's salary cap will look a lot different in three months, no matter how high the salary cap ceiling will ultimately be set.