2012 NFL Free Agency: Bengals Still Hold The Most Cap Space In Latest Salary Cap Numbers

CLEVELAND - OCTOBER 03: Linebacker Keith Rivers #55 of the Cincinnati Bengals breaks up a pass to tight end Benjamin Watson #82 of the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 3 2010 in Cleveland Ohio. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

After the first week of April passed by with zero Bengals transactions and all eyes on Amobi Akoye, the past few days have taken a decidedly different turn, highlighted by linebacker Keith Rivers being traded to the New York Giants for a late 5th round pick.

This afternoon's cap numbers from Aaron Wilson of Scout.com show that the Bengals still hold the most cap space in the NFL.

Most cap space in the NFL: Bengals ($20.497 mil), Jaguars ($20.475 mil), Browns ($18.5 mil), Titans ($17.9 mil), Seahawks ($17.8). 54 minutes ago via web · Reply · Retweet · Favorite · powered by @socialditto

I'm no capologist, but I can guess that Wilson's numbers probably don't reflect today's free agency moves. So, let's take a look back at the Bengals' recent moves ourselves.

Keep in mind the pluses and minuses in front of the cap numbers refer to the amount of money spent by the Bengals, not the amount of cap room left.

April 6- Safety Chris Crocker released. Estimated 2012 Base Salary: $1,917,000. Buyout: $375,000. Change in 2012 cap: -$1,542,000.

April 6- Offensive Guard Jacob Bell signed. Contract details unknown (Was due $6,000,000 by St. Louis Rams in 2012, before release). Effect on 2012 cap: Probably less than +$1,000,000.

April 11- Offensive Tackle Dennis Roland re-signed. Contract details unknown (2011 contract with Bengals had been 1-year, $470,000). Effect on 2012 cap: Probably around +$500,000.

April 11- Cornerback Terence Newman signed. Contract details unknown (Was due $8,000,000 by Dallas Cowboys in 2012, before release). Effect on 2012 cap: Probably less than +$1,000,000.

April 11- Linebacker Keith Rivers traded. [Edited] Analyzing the cap hit here is very tricky. I'll let the Enquirer's Joe Reedy explain the numbers first:

Keith Rivers cap number for the 2012 season was $3.855 million ($2.160M base, $1.545M prorated bonus, $250,000 workout bonus). Factor in the prorated bonus for 2013 and his hit against the Bengals cap this season is $3,090,004 million.

To summarize, since Rivers has been traded before the expiration of his contract, the prorated bonuses of both 2012 and 2013 will still be paid to Rivers, and will equal a $3,090,004 hit on the 2012 cap. Therefore, the 2012 cap hit of Keith Rivers will be $765,000 less than it was when he was on the team.

Overall, the Bengals have cleared up some cap space with the release of Chris Crocker and trade of Keith Rivers. The signings of Jacob Bell, Terence Newman, and Dennis Roland have all left small cap hits. Because the signing of Bell was only finally announced today, Chris Crocker's release is probably the only transaction reflected in Wilson's numbers.

With that in mind, I estimate that the Bengals currently have around $18.762 million left in cap space for 2012. More than enough to get a deal done with defensive end Matt Roth!

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