It's around this time of year where NFL fans priorities are more segmented than they will be all season long.
Fans of the Seattle Seahawks are pleasantly sipping their Starbucks coffees, watching and waiting as deflated New England Patriots fans prepare to initiate the Boston Tea Party 2.0 if the NFL decides to hand down any Super Bowl-impacting punishment on their beloved Pats - with specific concern for Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and the ball boy who worked the AFC Championship game.
Fans of the Indianapolis Colts are silently praying for an unprecedented disqualification that would put them in the big game - while also silently praying that there is no DQ, because they know that the Seahawks would obliterate the Colts.
Packers fans...the wound is still fresh. We'll hold off. Too soon.
The rest of us? The rest of us are pouring over mock drafts, half-paying attention to practices being held in Mobile, Alabama, and scouring lists of free-agents-to-be, and dearly hoping that big names like Dez Bryant and Ndamukong Suh hit the open market so that our team's rich owners can start showering them with millions upon millions of guaranteed dollars.
Unfortunately, for some fanbases, those aforementioned rich owners hired some boneheaded general managers who did not foresee this potentially unprecedented free-agent class, in terms of the talent that might be available when the free agency bell rings on March 10, and thus have little cap space going into #FreeAgency2015 (because that's what it will eventually be referred to on Twitter).
Other teams, though, have either planned properly to back up the Brinks truck this spring, or found themselves in a favorable cap situation by sheer luck. Either way, if your team is near the top of this list, you can justify all those hours spent scouring the Internet's never-ending rumor mill (you can justify it to yourself, at least).
*Keep in mind that these numbers will change before March 10. Figures and situations below are based on current standing on January 22st, 2015. Day-to-day fluctuation of cap space situations make these numbers estimates rather than exact data. All numbers provided by www.overthecap.com.
15 Atlanta Falcons ($19,766,008)
14 Buffalo Bills ($24,324,395)
13 Seattle Seahawks ($25,017,629)
12 San Diego Chargers ($25,382,099)
11 Green Bay Packers ($25,462,643)
10 Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($25,845,889)
9 Chicago Bears ($27,644,395)
8 Denver Broncos ($27,802,129)
7 Cincinnati Bengals ($34,298,150)
If I were a betting man, I'd considering making a wager that the Cincinnati Bengals would trade a good chunk - if not all - of their cap space to switch Andy Dalton for almost any other quarterback in the league.
6 Indianapolis Colts ($37,358,059)
5 Tennessee Titans ($41,125,599)
4 New York Jets ($48,985,074)
After what can only be described as a tumultuous season for the Jets, a thorough house-cleaning and some fresh blood might be exactly what the doctor ordered for one of the league's most highly scrutinized franchises. The arrival of Todd Bowles was viewed as a head-scratcher around the league - why get rid of one defensive-minded coach in Rex Ryan to bring in another with barely any head coaching experience?
3 Cleveland Browns ($49,369,654)
The Cleveland Browns have gone all in on Johnny Football, and they are dearly hoping that Manziel puts it all together - ASAP - before things get out of hand in Cleveland. After a promising start, things went off the rails when Brian Hoyer began to struggle and Manziel replaced him. It would appear that the starting job is now Manziel's to lose, and he's going to need all the help he can get.
2 Oakland Raiders ($56,117,366)
1 Jacksonville Jaguars ($63,502,876)
As has been the case for the past several seasons, the Jacksonville Jaguars found themselves at the bottom of the standings and preparing to make a top selection in the Draft. The past few years have sparked an otherwise listless franchise, though, as Gus Bradley's group has shown flashes - the talent level just isn't up to par as it stands. With a high pick and a boatload of cash, the Jags can finally start to fill in the pieces to at least start to recreate the type of defense Bradley began to build in Seattle. Blake Bortles could use some help, too - the Jags allowed a league-worst 71 sacks last season. If Bortles is going to flourish, he'll need much better protection. With the amount of money they have at their disposal, they might even be able to blow a few guys out of the water and sway them over with big contract offers that other teams won't be able to match.
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