Let me make Lonestar's case here - I'm looking at some numbers and am coming around a bit.
Here are the key FA's I'd like re-signed - i believe these guys are either better than the other FA's available (at cost) and/or they played a critical role in 2012 and will be needed for a similar role in 2013.
first column is 2012 salary (per spotrac), second column is my projected 2013 salary.
2012 salary 2013 projection justification
clady $3,500,000.00 $12,000,000 Joe Thomas money.
bannon $1,000,000.00 $1,000,000.00 just above min wage for 10+ year vet.
brunton $615,000.00 $715,000.00 special teams ace
carter $615,000.00 $1,000,000.00 does anyone doubt Carter will be a millionare next season?
colquit $540,000.00 $1,000,000.00 top 10 punters make >$1.7M
hunter $700,000.00 $840,000.00 nfl min wage
koppen $825,000.00 $940,000.00 nfl min wage
stokley $925,000.00 $940,000.00 nfl min wage
vickers $1,200,000.00 $1,200,000.00 same salary as 2012
That puts us over right there. of course, we will probably cut DJ, Mays, and possibly Hanie and Prater for more wiggle room, but this leaves precious little room for bringing in other FA's and signing draft picks.
further, I don't think we want to be right up against the cap anyways. We have a number of players who will become FA's in 2014 and will need new deals then - Demaryius, Decker, Beadles, Harris, Walton, Woodyard, and Ayers - that's 7 young guys who have started a number of games for us over the past couple of seasons, and will all be due a pretty good pay-bump. These are not NFL minimum guys.
We are going to be hurting in 2014 if we don't start addressing this right now.