Olivier Vernon, Giants
Cap Saved: $11.5M; Cash Saved: $15.5M; Dead Money: $8M
Vernon was the biggest signing in the Giants 2016 spending spree and hasn’t been healthy enough to really justify the contract. Vernon is still a capable player and will likely land a $10 million a year type contract when released, but it makes more sense for the Giants to move on and allow him to get a fresh start elsewhere rather than try to bring his salary down for the season.
William Gholston, Buccaneers
Cap Saved: $3.75M; Cash Saved: $3.75M; Dead Money: $0
Not sure what the Bucs expected out of Gholston when they signed him but Im sure it was more than 40% playtime, 1 sack, and 5 tackles for loss in two seasons.
Vinny Curry, Buccaneers
Cap Saved: $8M; Cash Saved: $8M; Dead Money: $0
Curry signing with the Bucs last season at this price was one of the more surprising moves. Outside of one season the sack production has never been there with Curry and really his best time is when he is playing far less snaps. You don’t pay $8 million for someone who is probably a 30% playtime, 3 sack player, especially if you are a team that needs to create cap space.
Andre Branch, Dolphins
Cap Saved: $7M; Cash Saved: $7M; Dead Money: $2M
This contract was a bit of a stretch the minute it was signed and a classic example of putting far too much stock in one season. Branch played in less than 50% of the snaps last year and finished with just 1.5 sacks.
Robert Quinn, Dolphins
Cap Saved: $12.9M; Cash Saved: $12.9M; Dead Money: $0
If Miami is serious about taking a step back this year then Quinn should not be in their plans. Quinn has tailed off from his peak years as a pass rusher but can still be effective as a starter, but he probably doesn’t have trade value at this salary unless a team is able to reach terms on an extension.
Justin Houston, Chiefs
Cap Saved: $14M; Cash Saved: $15.5M; Dead Money: $7.1M
Even though Houston has not produced at an elite level after signing this contract this was a pretty solid deal, all things considered. Houston is similar to Vernon in that there are injury considerations here, a massive cap figure, and over priced salary while also having a market if cut. Unlike with Vernon where the sides are probably better apart I think here the sides agree on a new contract that brings Houston’s cap and cash number down by a few million.
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.