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Higher Salary Cap Could Help or Hurt Bengals

The Bengals have a number of free agents who need to be re-signed, and while a higher salary cap could theoretically help keep them, it could also give another team more money to lure free agents away from Cincinnati.

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Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

As the 2014 NF Scouting Combine winds down, the focus now begins shifting to NFL free agency. When March 9th is here, teams can begin negotiating with free agents in hopes to sign them once the signing window opens on March 11. The Cincinnati Bengals got some great news this weekend after it was reported that the salary cap for the 2014-15 NFL season would be set at $132 million.

That's a big increase from what many projected the cap to be in 2014. Several reports, including this one from Tania Ganguli of ESPN, projected the salary cap to be closer to $126 million, so this is $6 million more than what was expected. Needless to say, teams like the Bengals could have a better chance of keeping their free agents.

Or, it could mean teams have more ammunition to overpay for a guy like Anthony Collins to pry him away from Cincinnati. Ultimately, having more salary cap only helps with extending the contracts of players who still have a year or two left on their deal. It could also help a term debating on whether to use the franchise tag, which the Bengals may or may not be doing with Collins.

Re-signing him would be very beneficial to what was the No. 2 offensive line in pass efficiency in both the 2012 and 2013 seasons, according to Pro Football Focus. But unless the team uses the tag,m more salary cap means another team, like the Miami Dolphins, could overpay for him, which the Bengals will not do.

As for other Bengals due for big paydays, All-Pro receiver A.J. Green is in the final year of his rookie contract, so he's eligible for a new deal, as is quarterback Andy Dalton.

The Bengals would be smart to try to sign Green this offseason and let Dalton prove in 2014 that he's worth a long-term deal in the 2015 offseason.

Whatever the Bengals decide to do in free agency, having a few extra million dollars to spend will certainly help them accomplish their goals when it comes to re-signing their own players, but it could also help another team snatch their free agents.