After much speculation, the NFL has finally decided on what the salary cap will be set at for the 2014 league year. It was initially reported that the cap would be set around $126 million, but as the offseason had rolled on, reports of a higher cap have come out almost weekly. But starting on March 11, all 32 teams will be allotted $133 million to spend on their players, according to Albert Breer of the NFL Network.
That means the Bengals will have around $30 million to spend in free agency this year, and with players like offensive tackle Anthony Collins and defensive end Michael Johnson set to hit free agency, having that much money ensures Cincinnati will have enough money to offer both of those players "fair value" for their services.
I say "fair value" because teams like the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders routinely overpay for players, causing an imbalance in the market that causes players to ask for more money than they're worth. Mike Brown and the rest of the Bengals front office will determine how much both of those players are worth, offer them a contract and let the rest play out.
As of now, Johnson is likely to leave, and having more salary cap only ensures a team like the Raiders will overpay to sign him. As for the Bengals, having more money only increases the chances of extending their own players.
As Josh noted earlier this week, the Bengals' top 51 players currently under contract have a total salary of $110 million in 2014. That could increase significantly if receiver A.J. Green and/or quarterback Andy Dalton are signed to long-term extensions. Both of them are in the final year of their rookie contracts, though Green can have the transition tag applied to him in order to add a fifth year onto his deal.