The cash-strapped Carolina Panthers needed a break in the salary cap and the NFL answered their prayers with a five percent raise over 2013, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
A $123 million figure in 2013 will rise to $130 million this year, giving teams an extra $7 million to use in free agency. This is nice for everyone, but huge for teams facing cap constraints like Carolina. It's premature to consider this the break that will keep Greg Hardy in town or allow the Panthers to splash out for a big free agent, but it's a vital addition to the coffers the team didn't expect.
Most importantly, it expedites the team's movement out of cap hell. The best way to use the extra money would be to cut veterans and absorb their signing bonuses in order to plan for 2015 when Cam Newton needs a contract extension. Make no mistake: This is fabulous news that will make the offseason even more intriguing.