1. Tramon Williams, Browns
Cap Saved: $7 million/Cash Saved: $7 million
The Browns signed Williams a few years ago in their period of adding fading veterans in an effort to be respectable which certainly did not work. There is absolutely zero reason for the Browns to keep a 34 year old cornerback who is going to make $7 million in 2017, especially one who isn’t very good.
2. Kyle Arrington, Ravens
Cap Saved: $2.1 million/Cash Saved: $2.1 million
Arrington spent the season on IR due to a concussion after having accepted a pay cut to remain in Baltimore. Arrington is a capable corner but should be part of a veteran purge that the Ravens need to begin this season if they want to turn the franchise around.
3. Darrelle Revis, Jets
Cap Saved: $9.3 million/Cash Saved: $10 million
About the only reason that the Jets would not be moving on outright from Revis is the fact that they owe him $6 million this season whether or not he is on the team. Revis was awful early in the season but closed the year closer to average. He has clearly lost a step but could consider a move to safety. Regardless there is no way Revis’ contract will remain intact.
4. Davon House, Jaguars
Cap Saved: $6 million/Cash Saved: $6 million
In the last two or three years the Jaguars have been overloaded with overpriced and underperforming players and House is one of those guys. The bright side with House is that his contract was one of the ones the Jaguars did with no signing bonus so they are free and clear if they choose to move on. House played in less than 26% of the Jaguars defensive plays in 2016.
5. Sam Shields, Packers
Cap Saved: $9 million/Cash Saved: $9 million
I always considered Shields one of the recent “jump” contracts when the Packers extended him a few years back. A jump contract is one that I think occurs when the team jumps the gun on a contract and goes high rather than risking the market moving much more in the wrong direction. Shields is a fine player, when healthy, but he’s never healthy. He has suffered multiple concussions and has never played 16 games in a season in his entire career. He’ll be 30 next year and it might be time to move on.
6. Alterraun Verner, Buccaneers
Cap Saved: $6.5 million/Cash Saved: $6.5 million
Verner is a capable player, but I’m not sure that the value is there for the Bucs at $6.5 million. Verner played in less than 25% of the team’s defensive snaps last season and a close to $7 million corner is generally expected to play over 75% if healthy. Verner didn’t strike gold in free agency so its doubtful he can be traded but this could be a split that works best for both sides.
7. Johnathan Joseph, Texans
Cap Saved: $6.5 million/Cash Saved: $6.5 million
The Texans still have a place for their 32 year old corner but this could simply be a numbers game leaving Joseph as the odd man out. The Texans already have an investment in Kareem Jackson and will have a decision to make on AJ Bouye. Its hard to see Joseph staying at his current salary if they sign Bouye to a big contract. Seeing if he would play on a much lower incentive laden contract would seem like a good way to keep Joseph as a Texan and seeing how Leon Hall fared in free agency should make him agreeable.
8. Justin Bethel, Cardinals
Cap Saved: $3.8 million/Cash Saved: $4.5 million
The Cardinals contract extension with their stud special teamer seemed to indicate they believed he would develop into a defensive contributor which he did not do. In fact he was a liability given more responsibility. His $4.5 million salary is more than he ever made in his career and more than someone would receive for specials. My guess is they bring his salary down and end any notion that he can be anything more than a defensive fill in.
9. Buster Skrine, Jets
Cap Saved: $3.5 million/Cash Saved: $6 million
Skrine is best suited to be a number 3 corner but the Jets made the leap of faith that he could play full time on the outside when they signed him to a $6.25 million a year contract in 2015. Both sides probably got off lucky when other decisions put him in that role in his first year but he had a difficult year in 2016 with more responsibilities. Penalties, poor coverage, missing tackles he just had a poor year. Still the Jets secondary is poor so there might be more logic in seeing if he is open to a pay cut before moving on.
10. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Giants
Cap Saved: $4.5 million/Cash Saved: $6.5 million
I don’t think the Giants will tinker that much with the defense but there is a chance that they could move on from DRC next year as they have other options on the team now. While his loss was felt against the multi-receiver Packers, right now the NFC East, and really most of the NFC, isn’t built that way which may make him an expensive luxury. Generally the Giants lean towards keeping players longer than other teams regardless of price and DRC is more effective than those others so Id probably put the odds here of a cut being pretty low.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.