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2013 NFL salary cap reportedly set

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The NFL salary cap has reportedly been established for 2013.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 league year is rapidly approaching. It begins on March 12, and as teams start to look ahead to their plans for free agency, which opens the same day, a necessary piece of knowledge is the 2013 NFL salary cap number. While there have been rumblings about the cap for the last few weeks, nothing was official until Thursday night. That's when teams were informed that the salary cap has been set at $123 million, according to Ian Rapoport. (Note: Chris Mortensen reports that teams will get an additional $900,000 in minimum salary benefits.)

Just a month or so ago, the expectation was for the salary cap to see a very minimal increase in 2013. The original projection was $121 million, which would have been only a $400,000 increase from last year's $120.6 million salary cap. Instead, the cap jumped $2.4 million.

Although the increase may still not seem like much to some, that difference could give a team like the Lions enough room to go out and sign an extra free agent or perhaps sweeten a potential offer to a player like Reggie Bush. For a team that doesn't have tens of millions of dollars in cap room, every little bit helps.

Based on the $123 million number and Dave Birkett putting Detroit at $113.9 million on Wednesday, the Lions are currently about $9.1 million under the cap. That number will go way up if they can work out a new deal with Matthew Stafford. Even if they are unable to do that, the Lions will have some room to work with when free agency opens on March 12.