The NFL announced Friday that its salary cap for the 2024 season will be a record $255.4 million per team — a stunning 13.6 percent increase over last year’s cap and a sign that the league is entering a new phase of exploding revenue.

This year’s salary cap will be $30.6 million more per team than last year’s $224.8 million — by far the largest jump it has taken from one year to the next since the salary cap was introduced in 1994.

The increase could have a significant impact on the free agent market set to open next month, as most teams had been using cap projections in the range of between $240 million and $245 million when budgeting for the upcoming season. As an example, there are three teams — the San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks — that ESPN’s Roster Management System projected to be over the cap as of Friday morning and should be under the cap now that the actual cap number is established.

Part of the reason for the massive jump is that the league has now paid back all of the player benefits that were deferred in 2020 as part of the agreement between the players and the league to keep the league running during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cap growth is directly tied to the league’s revenue growth, but it was limited in 2022 and 2023 because the repayment of those benefits was subtracted from the final calculations. With all of the benefits repaid at this point, the 2024 cap number more closely reflects the increase in revenue.

In its announcement of the 2024 cap number, the NFL said one of the reasons for the sharp increase was “an extraordinary increase in media revenue.” Since the league signed new deals with its broadcast partners in 2021, there has been a belief that 2024 and 2025 would be the first years in which the new TV revenue would really have a noticeable impact on league revenue. Friday’s announcement indicates that that is the case. Given the expected ongoing impact of the broadcast rights deals, significant cap increases likely can be expected in the next several, as well.

The NFL saw a salary cap increase of roughly $10 million to $12 million per year every year from 2013 to 2020. The cap dropped by nearly $17 million (from $198.2 million to $182.5 million) in 2021 as a result of projected revenue losses due to the pandemic, but it jumped back up to $208.2 million in 2022 and $224.8 million in 2023.