According to this article by Yahoo! Sports writer Doug Farrar (who got his information from ESPN's John Clayton), the NFL will set the 2011 salary cap to $120M as part of the new CBA that is in the process of being agreed upon. The salary cap will include at least $20M per team in ancillary benefits, which according to Clayton, means that every team will have to spend at least $108M in pure player costs this season. However, the salary floor has yet to be determined, so this number could change. The league is exploring ways to help teams who would be over the $120M cap, but since that won't apply to the Panthers, I will leave that part out of this discussion. If you're interested in that part, you can check out the article by Farrar that I've linked above.
If the current predicted transition dates remain in effect, teams will have 3 days to sign their free agents starting June 25th. This means the Panthers will have some time to negotiate with Charles Johnson, James Anderson, and DeAngelo Williams before other teams can come in and offer them the farm.
According to Farrar, the Panthers are one of the 18 teams that do not currently meet the projected $108M salary minimum, so they will have to spend some money in the next few weeks to ensure they are above the salary floor. With all rookies (including #1 overall pick Cam Newton) and our three prime free agents still unsigned, it's likely that the Panthers won't have to do too much outside shopping to reach the salary floor, but I won't be too surprised if they don't bring in a few high-profile free agents.
I don't know how much truth is in this report, but if two sources are reporting it then it has to have some validity to it (at least one would think so). I know I've been in a sour mood over the CBA in recent weeks, having the attitude of "I'll believe it when I see it", but I think this might be the start of something that gets the deal done by early next week, and hopefully we can start arguing over which free agents we should sign. Hopefully this news is correct, because if not I'm going to have a hard time believing anything I read about the CBA negotiations in the future.
What do you think Panther fans? Is $120M a good number for a salary cap? Is it too high, or too low? Or, do you even care what the salary cap is, just as long as there is one? Sound off in the comment section below!