The NFL salary cap for 2012 is $120.6 million, barely above last year's figure.
The league informed the 32 teams Sunday that the cap has gone up by $225,000. All teams must be under the cap by Tuesday, when free agency begins.
If a club has salary cap room remaining at the end of the season, it can carry it over to 2013 as long as it notifies the NFL by the day before the 2012 season ends.
Unrestricted free agents can sign with a team beginning Tuesday through July 22 or the opening day of the first training camp, whichever is later.
Restricted free agents can sign until April 20. Franchise players have until Nov. 13 to sign — if he hasn't he must sit out the season.
Peyton Manning is the biggest unrestricted free agent on the market. The four-time league MVP released by the Colts has already met with Denver Broncos officials, and was meeting with Arizona Cardinals officials on Sunday.
Among other top free agents are wide receiver Marques Colston and All-Pro guard Carl Nicks of the Saints, quarterback Matt Flynn of the Packers, and defensive end/linebacker Mario Williams of the Texans
For franchise-tagged players, the salary for a one-year contract for quarterbacks is $14.436 million. Next highest is defensive end at $10,605,000, with cornerback at $10,281,000. Wide receiver is at $9,515,000 and running back is at $7,742,000.
Among the 21 franchise players this season — the most ever — are wide receiver Wes Welker and running backs Ray Rice and Matt Forte.