1. Ben Ijalana, Jets
Cap Saved: $4.67 million; Cash Saved: $5.25 million
I kind of shrugged my shoulders when the Jets re-signed Ijalana at this figure wondering what the intention really was. Maybe at the time they didn’t think they could find or wanted to pay for a better tackle, but just days later they signed Kelvin Beachum and were basically stuck. The Jets almost spent as much on Ijalana as they did on Josh McCown who started most of the year at quarterback which is pretty absurd when you think about it. Ijalana saw action on 56 plays this past season.
2. Menelik Watson, Broncos
Cap Saved: $4.5 million; Cash Saved: $6.1 million
The Broncos apparently have no idea what they are doing at the right tackle position as this is two years in a row they have overspent on players who really are good backup players. Watson struggled and eventually landed on IR. He has $5.5 million that guarantees on the 5th day of the league year and I don’t expect the Broncos to even try to tinker with this the way they did Stephenson last year to lower the guarantee but keep the player. It’s time for a new approach to the line.
3. Cordy Glenn, Bills
Cap Saved: $4.85 million; Cash Saved: $11.25 million
Glenn is passable which in todays NFL is worth $10 million or more, but I think the Bills are looking for more than passable for this money. This was a bad contract that went with the old regime and the new guys have been trying to clear stuff out since taking over. There could be a trade market since tackles are such a commodity, but Glenn has missed 16 games in the last two years and $11.25 million is a risk even if the Bills ask for little in return.
4. Jared Veldheer, Cardinals
Cap Saved: $6.9 million; Cash Saved: $7 million
Veldheer was a good signing a few years ago for Arizona but the last two years he has struggled while missing 11 games. The Cardinals need a bit of a makeover and will need to clear some cap room as well which I think makes Veldheer a likely candidate to go. They could probably negotiate his salary down, but that generally isn’t something I can recall the Cardinals doing too often so they will probably move on.
5. Zach Strief, Saints
Cap Saved: $2.78 million; Cash Saved: $4 million
Strief has had a wonderful 12 year career with the Saints but he will be 35 this season and pretty much lost his job to injury this past year. Could they look to lower his salary and have him as a backup? Possibly, but he can probably earn more somewhere else if he is not going to retire, though after spending his whole career in New Orleans and his being so involved with the community its possible he may not want to leave for a few extra bucks.
6. Jason Peters, Eagles
Cap Saved: $4.33 million; Cash Saved: $7 million
Peters has had a Hall of Fame worthy career, but he missed 9 games this season and the Eagles were able to survive it. While the salary is certainly affordable the Eagles are in a bit of a cap crunch and may see Peters as a luxury at this point. The Eagles already negotiated his contract down last year from about $21 million over two years to $18, so there is a reason to think they would go there. Peters will certainly pick up with another team and probably have potential to earn more and the Eagles could look to trade as well, but I could see this being the end in Philly.
7. Ereck Flowers, Giants
Cap Saved: $0; Cash Saved: $0
It’s a new group of people running the Giants and players like Flowers probably need to be worried. Flowers has struggled as a left tackle and while there could be potential for him elsewhere on the line there is so much negativity from him that it may not be easy to bring him back and play him anywhere. That said his salary is guaranteed so I wouldn’t actually put him high as a possible cut but I have to think the Giants will look to trade him and his salary away which would save about $2.4 million. A new start would be best for everyone.
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.