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2024 NFL free agency: How Cowboys, Dolphins eight other teams with little salary-cap space can help themselves

Some NFL teams have loads to spend in free agency. Others? Not so much. There are lots of ways to free up salary-cap space — renegotiating deals, moving money or outright cutting/trading players. Below are some obvious ways for teams with the least amount of space to find more breathing room.

Note: Salary-cap figures courtesy of Over the Cap. Figures in parentheses represent prospective 2024 cap savings.

10. Cleveland Browns

Projected cap space: $6.8 million

The Browns will probably want to be aggressive in upgrading Deshaun Watson’s supporting cast in an effort to finally maximize their historic investment in the polarizing quarterback. Accordingly, they could need to part with some familiar faces.

9. Kansas City Chiefs

Projected cap space: $3.5 million

The Super Bowl champions are technically in the green, but if they want to make any real movement to defend their crown this offseason, they’ll probably need to choose between their key free agents, including star defender Chris Jones.

8. San Francisco 49ers

Projected over the cap: $285,000

The reigning NFC champions don’t need much to get under the cap, but if they want to make any significant roster shuffling in a bid to return to the Super Bowl, it’ll require more drastic measures.

7. Baltimore Ravens

Projected over the cap: $9.6 million

The Ravens took a big step toward retaining one of their key free agents by tagging Justin Madubuike. Now comes the effort to free up more money to build around Lamar Jackson after 2023’s deep playoff run.

6. Dallas Cowboys

Projected over the cap: $10.6 million

Team owner Jerry Jones has said the Cowboys are “all-in” on 2024. But what does that mean? America’s Team isn’t flush with money to burn, and, in fact, most of their dollars could be allocated to in-house extensions.

5. Denver Broncos

Projected over the cap: $16.4 million

Denver has already swallowed a historic amount of money by cutting ties with Russell Wilson, but the Broncos’ work is not done. Sean Payton will have to get creative if he intends to pursue notable additions outside of the draft.

4. New Orleans Saints

Projected over the cap: $17.1 million

Perpetually in cap-manipulation mode, the Saints have refused for years to commit to a full-on rebuild. This year figures to be no exception, with the team reportedly already reworking deals for Derek Carr and Cameron Jordan.

3. Miami Dolphins

Projected over the cap: $18.8 million

The Dolphins have some big-money extensions on the docket at premium positions, which could help them shift money. They’ve already gone to work in cutting costs, parting ways with veterans like Xavien Howard and Emmanuel Ogbah.

2. Los Angeles Chargers

Projected over the cap: $19.2 million

New coach Jim Harbaugh probably prefers to win sooner rather than later, especially with a franchise quarterback in tow. But Los Angeles has quite a few expensive contracts on the books, setting the stage for some big-name purging.

1. Buffalo Bills

Projected over the cap: $9 million

The Bills are in a tough spot considering they’re built to win now, and have to make some tough decisions to make any legitimate upgrades. Those tough decisions became a reality on Wednesday when the club made a bevy of moves to help balance the books.

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