Earlier this week beat writer Omar Kelly with the Sun-Sentinel wrote that the Cincinnati Bengals have $80.6 million against the salary cap for next season, giving them incredible breathing room for a salary cap that's projected to be roughly $121-125 million in 2012. Jamison Hensley with ESPN's AFC North blog confirms that the salary cap Cincinnati has to play with, citing that the team is $44 million under the cap.
Now you're thinking, oh my god they never spend money, Mike Brown is cheap, etc. Maybe. However the team has been well under the cap since last year due to the team's resolve not to risk Carson Palmer's return, who could have pressed his exorbitant cap number against the team's cap number and forced the team to take on his salary. Luckily Mike Brown is a mad scientist genius that rivals a James Bond villain, having helped establish a core of young players, acquiring two draft picks through drafts for this year's NFL Draft and roughly $35-38 million to play with for incoming free agents (reduced due to the expected rookie pool).
Yet unless the team ridiculously overpays free agents, that cap number won't skyrocket north any time soon. And we still have an issue that a team with this much cap room didn't employ enough resolve (or foresight) preventing Houston from snagging Johnathan Joseph in the middle of the night. Not that we're still moaning about something that happened months ago.