2018 Potential Cuts: Offensive Tackle

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. Continue reading 2018 Potential Cuts: Offensive Tackle »

2018 Potential Cuts: Tight End

1. Martellus Bennett, Patriots
Cap Saved: $6.18 million; Cash Saved: $6.5 million

Bennett took the money and ran last year when he signed this deal with the Packers. It didn’t take long before he started talking retirement and indicated he was too hurt to play. The Packers eventually got fed up and released him and surprisingly the Patriots claimed Bennett off waivers.  Bennett only played two games with the Pats before landing on IR. He may just retire but if he doesn’t he’ll most certainly be released. Continue reading 2018 Potential Cuts: Tight End »

2018 Potential Cuts: Wide Receiver

1. Markus Wheaton, Bears
Cap Saved: $5 million; Cash Saved: $5 million

This was one of the worst signings of 2017. The Bears likely expected some upside of a higher 2 and instead got the performance of a practice squad player. Wheaton had 51 yards in 11 games, finishing the year 4th in snaps despite having the largest contract for a receiver on the team. The Bears desperately need receivers, but Wheaton should not be the answer.

Continue reading 2018 Potential Cuts: Wide Receiver »

2018 Potential Cuts: Running Back

1. Doug Martin, Buccaneers
Cap Saved: $6.75 million, Cash Saved: $6.75 million

There was always a ton of risk involved with Martin whose history in the NFL is filled with ultra high highs and ultra low lows. Since signing his big contract two years ago Martin has averaged under 3 yards per carry and missed games because of suspension. The Bucs had a chance to escape this contract in 2017 but decided to roll the dice one more time hoping that a “contract year” would bring out the best. Don’t expect them to be fooled again.

2. Chris Ivory, Jaguars
Cap Saved: $3.68 million, Cash Saved: $6 million

One of the worst values in the NFL, Ivory only played in 26.4% of the Jaguars offensive snaps despite being the 7th highest paid player in the NFL. Leonard Fournette established himself as the top runner while Ivory fell to third on the depth chart by seasons end.

3. Matt Forte, Jets
Cap Saved: $3 million, Cash Saved: $3 million

Forte is probably the best representation of the Jets overconfidence off a 10 win 2015 season when they decided it made sense to guarantee two seasons for the older running back. Forte hasn’t really fit in with the Jets and didn’t even crack 400 rushing yards this season.

4. Mike Gillislee, Patriots
Cap Saved: $2.18 million, Cash Saved: $2.4 million

Most of us were all guilty of thinking that the Patriots stole away Gillislee from the Bills but the last laugh was on the Patriots who paid close to $4 million for 15% playtime and a bunch of deactivations. Gillislee was basically invisible after week 2.

5. Adrian Peterson, Cardinals
Cap Saved: $2.88 million, Cash Saved: $3.5 million

Peterson has some moments for the Cardinals but they will be getting back David Johnson and Peterson looks like his career should be over. Peterson has finished three of the last four seasons on IR and missed 34 out of 64 games in that time. He has had a hall of fame career but the time has come for the league to move on.

6. Charcandrick West, Chiefs
Cap Saved: $1.7 million, Cash Saved: $1.75 million

West was expected to be a contributor this season but with the emergence of Kareem Hunt became a non-factor. West saw action in just 22% of the Chiefs snaps and was pretty much phased out of the offense down the stretch.  With the team facing cap problems and this being the most West will earn in a year it makes him a likely candidate for release.

7. DeMarco Murray, Titans
Cap Saved: $6.5 million, Cash Saved: $6.5 million

Murray probably still has value to a team, perhaps even the Titans, but not at a $6.5 million price tag. Murray was the inferior player to Derrick Henry and is probably now best suited to spell a younger player taking maybe a third of the snaps, particularly in passing situations.  He could just take a pay cut to stick in Tennessee but it would be very surprising if he was back at this dollar figure.

2018 Potential Cuts: Quarterback

1. Mike Glennon, Bears
Cap Saved: $11.5 million, Cash Saved: $12.5 million

One of the worst, if not the worst, signings of last year, Glennon only lasted four games before being benched. He does have a $2.5 million salary guarantee so the Bears will actually realize close to $1 million more in savings once he finds another job as a backup. Continue reading 2018 Potential Cuts: Quarterback »

Jets Cut Gilchrist

In discussing the Jets potential cuts this offseason Gilchrist was on the top of the list because of his bloated salary of $6 million, health status, and low level of productivity. When the Jets drafted two safeties with their top two draft picks it seemed clear that Gilchrist was done with the team and the Jets made it official today. A bit surprising to me, though, was that this was listed as a post June 1 designation on the official transaction wire.

While the Jets are towards the bottom of the NFL in cap space there is nothing that should have forced them to use a June 1 designation on Gilchrist. The June 1 is generally used when the salary cap impact of cutting a player is simply too high and the team needs to find a way to spread that hit across two seasons. Cutting Gilchrist outright frees up a pretty healthy $4.6 million of cap space, but instead the Jets will now free up $6 million for this year and take a $1.375 million cap charge in 2018 for Gilchrist. I estimated that the Jets had in the ballpark of $7.9 million in cap room before cutting Gilchrist. $12 million in cap room should have been more than enough to cover rookie signings (about $4.8 million) and for expanded accounting in September.

So why use the June 1? My guess is there are two considerations that the Jets have. One deals with injury protection that likely will allow Gilchrist to collect $1.15 million this year. Gilchrist was seriously injured last season and would qualify for injury protection under the CBA because of that. He was cut with a failed physical designation so unless he is able to pass a physical and sign a contract with another team the Jets will be on the hook and deferring the bonus charge until next year kind of offsets the immediate impact and gives the Jets more flexibility.

The other consideration may lie with some other veteran decisions the team could make. If the team trades away Sheldon Richardson it is probable that they would eat $4 million of his salary in order to facilitate a trade. While that would still create a good deal of cap room this would give them a little added breathing room. Though there has been zero indication that the team is considering moving on from Matt Forte he is a player who could be released and cost the Jets on the cap.

Of the two, the part about the injury protection makes far more sense as to why to use the designation since the others wont really cost the Jets anything (Richardson would still save some cap room and they could just June 1 Forte too) while the injury protection liability was out of the Jets control.

For what its worth the Jets restructured Gilchrist’s contract last year to gain cap relief by converting $2.25 million of salary to bonus money, a move that probably would have been better done with another player. The Jets initial contract with Gilchrist for $5.5 million a season was pretty bullish at the time and seemed to represent the front offices faith in the head coach to get better play out of Gilchrist. This was something that seemed to be a constant with Bowles’ defenses in Arizona.

Thus far that has not really worked out for anyone in the secondary on the Jets. Neither Gilchrist nor cornerback Buster Skrine ever justified the cost while Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie were both released after two and one seasons with Bowles. In addition Bowles was unable to make anything out of Dee Milliner (admittedly a major reclamation project) and has yet to do anything significant with Calvin Pryor. The Jets have to hope things turn around with their two new additions to the secondary.

Chargers Release Donald Butler

The cuts continue to roll in as the Chargers have released linebacker Donald Butler. This was an expected move as Butler was set to count for nearly $9.3 million against the cap and had more or less been relegated to the bench. Butler was just two years into a big $1.8 million contract that he signed in 2014 that was one of the more unique contracts in the NFL. Butler’s contract was truly a contract within a contract that called for earning $19.8 million over the first three years of the contract with the Chargers then having an option to kick in another four years at $32 million. As things turned out he didn’t even make it through the initial contract phase. Continue reading Chargers Release Donald Butler »