Jason Fitzgerald

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.

Recent Posts by Jason

OTC Podcast: January 2, 2023

In this week’s OTC Podcast:

  • Derek Carr’s contract with the Raiders
  • QB contract strategy discussion
  • All your questions for the week

Listen on Google Play Music

OTC Podcast: December 23, 2022

In this week’s OTC Podcast:

  • The Jets collapse with Zach Wilson
  • New home for Sunday Ticket
  • All your questions for the week

Listen on Google Play Music

OTC Podcast: December 9, 2022

In this week’s OTC Podcast:

  • Jon Robinson fired
  • QB development in the NFL
  • All your questions for the week

Listen on Google Play Music

Looking Ahead to Potential EDGE Cuts in 2023

Last week we looked at possible cuts at wide receiver in 2023 and this week we will take a look at the EDGE position and see who could be some of the names on the move next season. For the most part pass rushers get paid to pressure the QB so what we did here was take a look at QB pressures as tabulated by PFF, adjusted it out to 17 games, and compared it to a players salary cap savings if they were to be cut. To limit the pool of players, only players who have at least a $5 million cap charge are shown. Here are the results as a graph.

The center lines represent the average pressures expected for players with at least a $5M cap charge and the difference between positive and negative cap savings.

If you are located in the top half of the chart odds are you are safe for next season unless you play on a really bad team that is looking to revamp or is facing massive cap troubles. Those in the top right are the ones who would have been the most in danger of release in 23 and odds are that their 2022 performance has protected them.

In the bottom right quadrant we have the underperformers, whether because of injury or ineffectiveness, who offer cap savings to a team. These are probably the names to watch closely. In the bottom left we have underperformers whose contract structures likely protect them at least somewhat from being cut.

To try to order the players a bit better I calculated the pressures per 2023 cap charge to see the value level of the player. Here were the 10 worst values based on 2022 (as you will quickly see this is a position where injury seems to be a high risk):

Romeo Okwara, Lions– Okwara has spent the entire season on PUP and was just activated this week. He has a $14.5 million cap hit next season and his guarantees have run out. Releasing him will save the Lions $7.5 million on the cap and given that the Lions will have multiple first round picks eating up cap room this would be a good place to save some money.

Harold Landry, Titans– I didn’t include Landry in the chart since he has no chance of being cut but this was certainly bad luck for the Titans as Landry missed the entire season with a torn ACL. Landry has signed a $17.5 million  per year contract in March and will have his 2023 and 2024 salaries protected so the Titans need to make sure his rehab really goes well.

Joey Bosa, Chargers– The Chargers have been decimated by injury this year and Bosa has only appeared in 3 games this season before suffering a torn groin. The four time Pro Bowler is not going anywhere but they can’t have a repeat of this next season when his cap charge umps to $31 million.

TJ Watt, Steelers– Essentially the same story as Bosa with Watt appearing in just 5 games so far this season. Like Bosa he is not in any danger you just hope if you are a Steelers fan that the injuries are a thing of the past next year.

Emmanuel Ogbah, Dolphins– Ogbah is currently on IR but only generated 15 pressures over 9 games as he had dramatically tailed off from his last two seasons. Miami opted to bring him back this year on a four year $65.4 million contract despite turning 29. His salary is fully guaranteed next year but we have seen the Dolphins in the past be willing to eat salary to make a move. At this level of play the Dolphins would be facing paying about $800K per pressure.

Cameron Jordan, Saints– Jordan is still a solid football player but his pressure numbers have dropped big from last season probably in part because the Saints are not very good this year and his opportunities have diminished due to that. Jordan will be 34 years old in 2023 and has a $23.7 million cap charge. The Saints don’t save much by releasing him unless they modify his deal soon but this is probably the right time for the two sides to split and Jordan to see if he can land with a contender.  

Tyus Bowser, Ravens– Another injured player making the list here with Bowser only appearing in 4 games so far. He has a $6.5 million cap charge next year and his release would save the team $2.5 million in cap room and $4.5 million in cash. He can help himself with a solid finish.  

Shaquil Barrett, Buccaneers– This could be a fascinating decision for next year. Barrett is coming off a torn Achilles and will have a $21.65 million cap charge. While his numbers have been impacted by missed games his pressures were still on track to be down by 40% and this will mark back to back years with declines in this category. They actually lose cap space with a standard release but would avoid a $15 million salary. There could be a lot of options here including a pay cut.

Bud Dupree, Titans– Dupree is more or less the EDGE version of Kenny Golladay. This has been a disaster signing since day 1 for the Titans. Dupree has been injured and ineffective and there is really no value in bringing him back. The Titans would save $9.35 million if they cut him and will get a chance to earn back another $1.25 million on their 2024 salary cap if he signs with another team.

Frank Clark, Chiefs– Clark took a pretty big pay cut to come back to the Chiefs in 2022 and he would need to do the same to come back next season. Clark’s current salary for 2023 is $21 million and his cap charge is $28.7 million. The Chiefs save $19.6 million on the cap by cutting him.

Though not among the worst values I think some names to keep an eye on will be Carl Lawson, Khalil Mack, Preston Smith, and Leonard Floyd.

Here is the full list of players. You should be able to sort them by clicking on the column header.

PlayerTeamProjected PressuresCap/Pressure2023 Salary Cap ChargeDead MoneySaved if CutSaved if Traded
Romeo OkwaraLions0$14,500,000$7,000,000$7,500,000$7,500,000
Harold LandryTitans0$18,800,000$30,200,000($11,400,000)$3,600,000
Joey BosaChargers14$2,188,235$31,000,000$38,000,000($7,000,000)$17,000,000
T.J. WattSteelers14$2,073,084$29,368,694$48,106,082($18,737,388)$1,262,612
Emmanuel OgbahDolphins21$816,471$17,350,000$21,000,000($3,650,000)$11,350,000
Cameron JordanSaints33$787,257$25,737,250$23,486,500$2,250,750$2,250,750
Tyus BowserRavens9$764,706$6,500,000$4,000,000$2,500,000$2,500,000
Shaquil BarrettBuccaneers31$694,652$21,650,000$22,850,000($1,200,000)($1,200,000)
Bud DupreeTitans30$678,992$20,200,000$10,850,000$9,350,000$10,600,000
Frank ClarkChiefs45$632,537$28,675,000$9,075,000$19,600,000$19,600,000
Randy GregoryBroncos27$598,142$16,100,000$22,400,000($6,300,000)$7,700,000
Khalil MackChargers52$522,734$27,400,000$9,000,000$18,400,000$18,400,000
Charles HarrisLions16$512,620$7,988,333$3,976,667$4,011,666$4,011,666
Leonard FloydRams44$500,949$22,000,000$19,000,000$3,000,000$3,000,000
Demarcus LawrenceCowboys58$447,633$26,000,000$35,000,000($9,000,000)$6,000,000
Bradley ChubbDolphins54$412,337$22,197,488$30,189,956($7,992,468)$11,407,532
Myles GarrettBrowns74$396,056$29,176,120$45,171,360($15,995,240)($5,995,240)
Chandler JonesRaiders54$360,372$19,400,000$25,600,000($6,200,000)$9,800,000
Carl LawsonJets47$327,986$15,333,334$333,333$15,000,001$15,000,001
Preston SmithPackers43$302,175$13,040,000$9,760,000$3,280,000$3,280,000
Von MillerBills64$293,412$18,705,000$40,175,000($21,470,000)$3,885,000
Maxx CrosbyRaiders75$272,790$20,482,000$20,400,000$82,000$10,082,000
John Franklin-MyersJets47$265,241$12,400,000$7,200,000$5,200,000$11,200,000
Matthew JudonPatriots72$243,699$17,607,222$11,214,445$6,392,777$6,392,777
Trey HendricksonBengals68$227,941$15,500,000$5,000,000$10,500,000$10,500,000
Brandon GrahamEagles43$227,365$9,663,000$18,311,000($8,648,000)($8,648,000)
Rashan GaryPackers50$219,189$10,892,000$10,892,000$0$10,892,000
Uchenna NwosuSeahawks60$214,454$12,760,000$4,750,000$8,010,000$8,010,000
Travon WalkerJaguars40$214,129$8,493,778$30,577,602($22,083,824)($9,776,288)
Brian BurnsPanthers75$213,256$16,012,000$16,012,000$0$16,012,000
Nick Bosa49ers88$203,328$17,859,000$17,859,000$0$17,859,000
Danielle HunterVikings67$197,046$13,120,000$18,860,000($5,740,000)($5,740,000)
Montez SweatCommanders63$183,211$11,500,000$11,500,000$0$11,500,000
Za’Darius SmithVikings89$175,537$15,666,666$3,333,334$12,333,332$12,333,332
Josh AllenJaguars62$174,738$10,892,000$10,892,000$0$10,892,000
Sam HubbardBengals58$172,166$10,000,000$6,000,000$4,000,000$4,000,000
Dorance ArmstrongCowboys43$164,706$7,000,000$3,000,000$4,000,000$4,000,000
Kayvon ThibodeauxGiants45$157,114$7,122,509$25,641,033($18,518,524)($7,856,512)
Aidan HutchinsonLions52$154,849$8,116,679$29,222,045($21,105,366)($9,248,350)
Jacob MartinBroncos33$153,453$5,000,000$1,000,000$4,000,000$5,000,000
Denico AutryTitans62$148,396$9,250,000$2,000,000$7,250,000$7,250,000
Deatrich Wise Jr.Patriots57$127,059$7,200,000$4,400,000$2,800,000$2,800,000
Josh SweatEagles48$125,751$6,057,000$19,042,000($12,985,000)($12,985,000)
Haason ReddickEagles57$117,476$6,657,000$26,122,000($19,465,000)($18,385,000)
Jerry HughesTexans61$102,599$6,250,000$2,250,000$4,000,000$5,000,000

OTC Podcast: December 2, 2022

In this week’s OTC Podcast

  • Russell Wilson and the Broncos
  • Potential wide receiver cuts
  • All your questions for the week

Listen on Google Play Music

Looking Ahead to Potential Wide Receiver Cuts in 2023

I wanted to start to take a look ahead at 2023 at potential player cuts at the wide receiver position. What I did here was take every player’s current yards and adjusted it for 17 games (yes I know the limitations to this method due to injuries) and then compared it to a players salary cap savings next year. To limit the pool of players I only included players with a cap charge of at least $5 million next season. Here are the results in a graph.

The center lines here represent the average yards for this group of players and the split between positive and negative cap savings. For those looking for AJ Brown his dead money is so high that I cut him out to keep the graph a bit cleaner.

While some of he players have been hurt by injury my gut feeling is that player’s in that bottom right quadrant are going to be in danger of being cut next year due to this years performance. Those in the bottom left are going to be thankful for the contract protections they may have. Those are players who teams could consider trading if possible. For the players in the top right the decisions probably come down to team salary cap situations. Players in the top left are likely safe.

The worst performers overall, based on 2023 cap charges vs projected 2022 yards are as follows:

Tim Patrick, Broncos– Patrick suffered an ACL injury and did not play a game this year. He has an $11.57 million cap charge next season of which $5.5 million is guaranteed salary. He could be traded if the team goes in a totally different direction next year and they can find a trade partner.

Kenny Golladay, Giants– Golladay has a $21.4 million cap hit next season which would work out to $271,511 per yard if he had the same awful season next year, the worst ratio in the NFL. They still owe him money but will free up $6.7 million when he is cut.

Michael Thomas, Saints– Thomas’ cap/yard number would be about $117,000 which is giving him credit for a few extra yards which he won’t get since he is hurt. Thomas has more or less been injured for the last three years and has a $28.2 million cap charge next year. Due to all of the restructures cutting him only saves $2.8 million but it is hard to see a scenario where he is in New Orleans next year. The team needs to modify his contract so they can June 1 him or hope he is going to retire and then they can process it after June 1.

Braxton Berrios, Jets– Berrios is a gadget player in the offense whose receiver role has basically vanished this year. Berrios is a solid returner but has not had the All Pro season he had last year.  The Jets would save $5 million if they cut him. My assumption would be that the team tries to bring him back down to a special teams level salary next year.

Keenan Allen, Chargers– Allen will be an interesting decision for the Chargers. He has a $21.7 million cap charge next year and has only played in four games in 2022. He will be 31 and the Chargers are not in great shape with the cap next season and his release would free up $14.8 million. His fate will likely be tied to how the season ends now that he is healthy.

Cedrick Wilson, Dolphins– Imagine how different life would be for Miami if they wound up with Wilson having to play the Tyreek Hill role?  This was one of the worst free agent signings this past year and at $54K in cap per yard one of the worst projected values next season. Unfortunately for Miami they only save $1 million in cap room if they cut him since $5 million of his $7 million salary is guaranteed but that would still be a better option than paying him his full salary next year.  

Hunter Renfrow, Raiders– This probably falls into the buyers remorse category as the Raiders extended Renfrow for nearly $16 million per season to watch him play so-so level football in just 6 games. Thy don’t save much if cut and there is a very limited window to trade so I think they will just run it back next year and hope he bounces back.

Robbie Anderson, Cardinals– Anderson was given up on by Carolina and hasn’t been able to make any impact in Arizona putting up just 13 yards in 6 games. They save $12 million by cutting him and this should be as easy a decision as Golladay’s.

Deandre Hopkins, Cardinals– Hopkins won’t be in this position by season’s end as his numbers are taken down by the fact that he was suspended for 6 games. Hopkins has a $30.75 million cap charge in 2023 and the Cardinals can’t carry him at that figure. I think a more progressive team might look at his production over the last few games as a great selling point for a trade provided that Hopkins wants to be traded (he has a no trade clause) but Arizona has almost never really been very forward looking so they probably just restructure and hope that Hopkins is productive next year.

Allen Robinson, Rams– This was the Rams taking a chance that Robinson’s issues were Bears related and much like everything else for the Rams in 2022 it wound up a dud. His salary is fully guaranteed next season so he isn’t getting cut but it would make sense to pay most of his salary and hope they could trade him.

Though they are not among the worst values the other bigger names who are probably at the biggest risk for being cut are Robert Woods, Corey Davis, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. I’d say that how they close the season will determine how things go.

Here is the full list of players. Clicking on the header should sort the table.

NameTeamProjected YardsCap/Yard2023 Salary Cap ChargeDead MoneySaved if CutSaved if Traded
Tim PatrickBroncos0$11,571,666$11,643,334(71,668)5,428,332
Kenny GolladayGiants79271,511$21,400,000$14,700,0006,700,00011,200,000
Michael ThomasSaints242116,669$28,263,000$25,452,0002,811,0002,811,000
Braxton BerriosJets11372,971$8,232,500$3,232,5005,000,0005,500,000
Keenan AllenChargers34063,824$21,700,000$6,900,00014,800,00016,300,000
Cedrick Wilson Jr.Dolphins14853,922$8,000,000$7,000,0001,000,0006,000,000
Hunter RenfrowRaiders29745,109$13,385,000$11,664,0001,721,0006,041,000
Robbie AndersonCardinals31038,678$12,000,000$012,000,00012,000,000
DeAndre HopkinsCardinals81337,815$30,750,000$22,600,0008,150,0008,150,000
Allen RobinsonRams52434,453$18,050,000$26,450,000(8,400,000)6,850,000
Russell GageBuccaneers35734,080$12,166,666$9,333,3342,833,3327,833,332
Brandin CooksTexans80433,112$26,610,370$34,220,741(7,610,371)10,389,629
Michael GallupCowboys42333,061$14,000,000$19,000,000(5,000,000)6,000,000
Jamal AgnewJaguars18432,172$5,916,668$1,166,6684,750,0004,750,000
D.J. MoorePanthers85729,215$25,040,000$35,700,000(10,660,000)10,415,000
Robert WoodsTitans54126,788$14,490,000$2,220,00012,270,00012,270,000
Chris GodwinBuccaneers90426,269$23,750,000$35,000,000(11,250,000)8,750,000
Mike WilliamsChargers78824,106$19,000,000$26,000,000(7,000,000)5,000,000
Adam ThielenVikings85223,449$19,967,647$13,550,0006,417,6476,417,647
Cooper KuppRams1,26621,964$27,800,000$29,400,000(1,600,000)3,400,000
Mike EvansBuccaneers1,08521,844$23,698,500$21,396,5002,302,0002,302,000
Diontae JohnsonSteelers76521,351$16,333,333$11,666,6674,666,6664,666,666
Kendrick BournePatriots32621,211$6,916,668$1,416,6685,500,0005,500,000
Corey DavisJets55620,071$11,166,668$666,66810,500,00010,500,000
Amari CooperBrowns1,22419,425$23,776,000$15,104,0008,672,0008,672,000
Christian KirkJaguars1,12019,189$21,500,000$30,500,000(9,000,000)6,500,000
Curtis SamuelCommanders69818,614$13,000,000$7,200,0005,800,0005,800,000
Marquise BrownCardinals75217,831$13,413,000$13,413,000013,413,000
Courtland SuttonBroncos1,06317,235$18,325,000$25,475,000(7,150,000)6,850,000
Tyreek HillDolphins1,90616,373$31,200,000$46,400,000(15,200,000)10,800,000
Tyler LockettSeahawks1,09615,287$16,750,000$21,150,000(4,400,000)(4,400,000)
Marquez Valdes-ScantlingChiefs79613,821$11,000,000$4,000,0007,000,0007,000,000
D.K. MetcalfSeahawks1,03713,230$13,720,000$34,500,000(20,780,000)(20,780,000)
Stefon DiggsBills1,71511,817$20,271,111$45,466,111(25,195,000)(17,285,000)
Zay JonesJaguars86911,322$9,833,333$10,666,667(833,334)6,166,666
Tyler BoydBengals92011,201$10,300,000$1,400,0008,900,0008,900,000
Deebo Samuel49ers78811,013$8,680,000$35,228,000(26,548,000)(19,763,000)
DeVante ParkerPatriots6499,706$6,300,000$06,300,0006,300,000
Davante AdamsRaiders1,5449,385$14,490,000$31,400,000(16,910,000)(16,910,000)
Terry McLaurinCommanders1,1909,055$10,775,000$27,575,000(16,800,000)(11,625,000)
Ja’Marr ChaseBengals9358,990$8,405,357$18,211,607(9,806,250)(1,481,785)
A.J. BrownEagles1,2846,478$8,318,894$60,449,577(52,130,683)(39,755,683)
DeVonta SmithEagles9555,751$5,493,107$11,901,732(6,408,625)(511,035)
Jaylen WaddleDolphins1,4884,964$7,387,090$16,005,362(8,618,272)(1,142,362)

The Broncos Options with Russell Wilson

Following another poor performance by the Broncos offense I had a number of questions pop up regarding any possible outs in Russell Wilson’s recent $245 million contract extension and what would be the realistic timetable for moving on from Wilson. Much like Aaron Rodgers’ contract the deal is a bit complicated but there is far less chance of retirement or trade in this situation.

Wilson’s contract was very aggressive from the start. Wilson’s contract fully guaranteed him $124 million at signing, the highest level of any contract in the NFL other than Deshaun Watson’s and about $21 million more than Kyler Murray’s $103 million guaranteed at signing. There are more guarantees that he can unlock based on his roster status on certain dates in the offseason. These dates are all early in the league year and very friendly to Wilson.

2023 Salary Cap Scenarios

Wilson’s contract is similar to Aaron Rodgers’ in that he has guaranteed Paragraph 5 salaries which are backed up by option bonuses in his contract. If the option is exercised the P5 reduces accordingly.  If the option is not exercised than the P5 stays at the full amount. Since the expectation is that the option will be picked up the cap numbers we show illustrate the cap charges based on the option being included.

Wilson’s 2023 salary is technically $28 million and will reduce to $8 million when and if the option is exercised. The exercise date of this option is very early in the 2023 league year. Even if the Broncos were considering his release they would pick up the option just for cap purposes.

Things would be more complicated for 2024. Here we technically have a salary of $39 million for the season, all of which is guaranteed. $22 million of this would be moved into the prorated category early in 2024 if the team exercises the option. However, the option date is not until early in the 2024 league year so if Wilson were released in 2023 it would all accelerate onto the salary cap.

So without modifying the contract at all here would be the dead money associated with a release next offseason.

CategoryDead
2022 Bonus$40,000,000
2023 Guarantee$28,000,000
2024 Guarantee$39,000,000
Total Dead Money$107,000,000

Obviously, no team is going to take a $107 million cap charge so any team considering this would instead use a post June 1 designation. There are multiple ways to do that. The first would be to not exercise the option and just June 1 him. Here would be the associated cap charges in 2023 and 2024 if they did that:

Category2023 Dead2024 Dead
2022 Bonus$10,000,000$30,000,000
2023 Guarantee$28,000,000$0
2024 Guarantee$39,000,000$0
Total Dead Money$77,000,000$30,000,000

That reduces the dead money to $77 million in 2023 and allows the team to defer $30 million to 2024.

The next option would be to exercise the option bonus and then designate him a post June 1 release. While there are some rules about renegotiating contracts and post June 1 designations I do believe that exercising the option would be allowed. If I am wrong, then this scenario does not exist.

Category2023 Dead2024 Dead
2022 Bonus$10,000,000$30,000,000
2023 Bonus$4,000,000$16,000,000
2023 Guarantee$8,000,000$0
2024 Guarantee$39,000,000$0
Total Dead Money$61,000,000$46,000,000

This can get the Broncos to a $61M/$46M split which is still massive. Just to put that in perspective the Broncos are estimated to have around $21M in cap room next year and this type of cut would reduce it by close to $40M (Wilson’s 2023 cap charge is currently just $22M).

In order to make the numbers work more efficiently I would assume that the Broncos would need to move up his 2024 option into 2022 by converting the salary to a signing bonus which I imagine they would have the right to do since most teams have auto conversion clauses. The reason they would need to do this in 2022 is that you lose the post June 1 designation if you modify the contract after the season.  

The Broncos have about $11M in cap room to work with this year so they could, if they wanted to, convert almost all of Wilson’s 2024 salary. Let’s say they converted $35 million of it to a 2022 bonus. The new breakdown of the contract from a cap perspective would be as follows assuming they exercise the 2023 option.

Category2023 Dead2024 Dead
2022 Bonus$10,000,000$30,000,000
2022 Bonus 2$7,000,000$21,000,000
2023 Bonus$4,000,000$16,000,000
2023 Guarantee$8,000,000$0
2024 Guarantee$4,000,000$0
2022 Carryover Loss$7,000,000$0
Total Dead Money$40,000,000$67,000,000

This would move the split to the more reasonable $40M/$67M category. Please note that the $40M in dead money is not the actual dead money but the effective impact on the cap. Technically the dead money would be $33 million but the team would lose $7 million in carryover which effectively makes the dead money $40 million. That would still be really hard to work on the cap but in theory it would be manageable. They could further reduce these numbers by also manipulating the 2023 P5 into a 2022 signing bonus as well but it would be a minimal change and they would lose almost all ability to recover any money if Wilson signed with another team assuming he has P5 salary offsets.

Still while this may be feasible on a piece of paper, paying a player $67 million in salary guarantees to go away would pretty much be the death blow for a general manager. While the timing of the Wilson contract extension was always a terrible one I’m not sure how much the new ownership really pays attention to that. $67 million to go away on the other hand….

With all that in mind it is hard to see a scenario where Wilson leaves the team in 2023. If anything, perhaps they trade for a young QB who has already been declared a bust (see Wilson, Zach) and hope they can find something there to compete with Wilson.

2024 Salary Cap Scenarios

The real decision point for the Broncos will come in 2024. If Wilson is on the roster on the 5th day of the league year in 2024 then his 2025 salary will also be fully guaranteed and that salary is large- $37 million. Currently that is only protected for injury. This is why bringing in some competition for Wilson in 2023 makes sense because if Wilson struggles again the team should bench him if only to protect themselves from an injury kicking in the $37 million in salary protection in 2025 as well as $4 million in 2026 injury protection.  

Here would be the costs associated with a regular release of Wilson in 2024.

Category2024 Dead
2022 Bonus$30,000,000
2023 Bonus$16,000,000
2024 Guarantee$39,000,000
Total Dead Money$85,000,000

Clearly this is a big number so again we would be looking at a post June 1 designation. Again you should have the ability to pick up the option for 2024 and then use the June 1 before the 2025 guarantee kicks in. If I am wrong about using the June 1 after the option is exercised they would simply move that option up into 2023 with a bonus conversion to essentially get the same impact here.

Category2024 Dead2025 Dead
2022 Bonus$10,000,000$20,000,000
2023 Bonus$4,000,000$12,000,000
2024 Guarantee$17,000,000$0
2024 Bonus$4,400,000$17,600,000
Total Dead Money$35,400,000$49,600,000

This gets the team a nice split across the two seasons and prevents the 2025 guarantee from kicking in. They could manipulate these numbers a bit more to change the split but this at least seems like a realistic option and they would likely recover a few million in 2024 salary if Wilson signed elsewhere.

2025 Salary Cap Scenarios

If Wilson makes it past the vesting date for his 2025 guarantees (the 5th day of free agency in 2024) to kick in then the numbers get worse for release due to that 2025 salary now being guaranteed.

Category2025 Dead
2022 Bonus$20,000,000
2023 Bonus$12,000,000
2024 Bonus$17,600,000
2025 Guarantee$37,000,000
Total Dead Money$86,600,000

Even with a June 1 split it would be ugly.

Category2025 Dead2026 Dead
2022 Bonus$10,000,000$10,000,000
2023 Bonus$4,000,000$8,000,000
2024 Bonus$4,400,000$13,200,000
2025 Guarantee$37,000,000$0
Total Dead Money$55,400,000$31,200,000

Both scenarios are worse than the 2024 release which is why I would look at Wilson’s 2023 season as being the determining factor. If he returns to playing around a Pro Bowl level you can risk the 2025 guarantee by bringing him back in 2024. If he plays in 2023 the way he has in 2022 there is no way you can justify opting into another $37 million in guarantees because of how ugly it would look to cut him in 2024.

One final thing. These numbers would all change if Wilson were traded, but I did not include any trade scenarios since I can not think of any logical reason a team would trade for him in 2023 or 2024.