Joe Flacco, Ravens
Cap Saved: $10.5M; Cash Saved: $18.5M; Dead Money: $16M
One of the worst structured contracts in modern NFL memory, the Ravens should have no choice but to move on now that the team has made the turn to Lamar Jackson at quarterback. The Ravens would be better off finding someone that has a similar skillset to Jackson to play as a backup and one who will be cheaper than Flacco. Flacco could have some trade value but it’s probably easier to just release him.
Blake Bortles, Jaguars
Cap Saved: $4.312M; Cash Saved: $9.5M; Dead Money: $16.5M
Jacksonville would like a do over on this contract decision. Last year the Jaguars did a moderate extension for Bortles that gave him an added $7 million in guaranteed salary and pushed a bunch of cap charges to the future. Not surprisingly Bortles ended up benched midway through the season and is now a salary cap eyesore. Jacksonville could try to reduce his salary and bring him back to compete for a job but the stigma is so bad they may just want to get rid of him outright even though they need to still pay him $6.5 million whether or not he is on the team.
Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins
Cap Saved: $13.1M; Cash Saved: $18.75M; Dead Money: $13.4M
Similar to the Jaguars situation with Bortles they could look to reduce his salary since they don’t have any other options but it may just be time to move on. Tannehill has virtually zero upside and can’t stay healthy. This contract was the fault of an over-aggressive front office putting too much stock into draft status and wanting to show belief in the QB. They doubled down by restructuring his deal last season which made absolutely no sense at all and just increased that dead money number even further.
AJ McCarron, Raiders
Cap Saved: $5M; Cash Saved: $5M; Dead Money: $0
Raiders took McCarron on as a backup last year after the Bills basically paid his salary for the season. They should be able to find a cheaper option for next season to backup Carr.
Eli Manning, Giants
Cap Saved: $17M; Cash Saved: $17M; Dead Money: $6.2M
At this point I’d lean more towards Manning remaining a Giant than playing elsewhere though I do expect that the Giants will look for a pay cut this season out of Eli. Manning is on his last legs but the Giants have no other options at this time and I’m not sure they can get a deal done in free agency before his $5 million roster bonus is due on the 5th day of free agency. They misplayed this one badly and desperately need to draft a QB this year.
Case Keenum, Broncos
Cap Saved: $11M; Cash Saved: $11M; Dead Money: $10M
The post-Manning era Broncos have been a disaster when it comes to the QB position with Keenum being the latest attempt to find a starter. Keenum still has $7 million in guarantees and it’s a bit hard to see John Elway and the Broncos just paying him that to leave. Since this should pose Keenum’s best opportunity to stay as a starter, expect the Broncos to offer him a heavily incentivized deal to stay in Denver for just that $7 million guaranteed salary.
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.