Today is June 1 and today is the day that salary cap rules change around the NFL. Starting with today’s player cuts any acceleration of bonus money will accelerate into 2017 rather than the 2016 season. This generally allows teams with tight cap situations to release players with large dead money charges that they may not have felt they were able to release prior to June 1. Tomorrow is also the day when the NFL will officially process the June 1 designated cuts from earlier this year, which will bring the Redskins, Falcons, and Saints some added cap relief.
Every year teams are allowed to release up to two players with a special June 1 designation. That allows the team to account on the salary cap as if the player is cut on June 1 despite being cut earlier in the offseason. Teams use it to often escape roster bonus payments and vesting guarantees but in some cases it is just to get the cap benefit that exists starting in June. Up until today those players counted against the cap as if they were still a member of the team. Here is the list of players who will now come off the books:
Paul Soliai, Falcons– Soliai counted for $6.3875 million against the Falcons cap and the Falcons will now gain $5.4375 million in cap room. Without the June 1 cut, Soliai would have saved Atlanta $2.63 million in cap space. The Falcons had just $4 million in cap room so the added $5 million in net cap space will give them the wiggle room they need for the year. Soliai will carry $2.8 million dead charge in 2017. Soliai signed with the Panthers after being released.
Brandon Browner, Saints– Browner counts for $6.3 million on the salary cap and the Saints will gain $2.25 million in cap room with his official release from the books. Browner’s new cap charge will be $4.05 million in 2016 and $1.3 million in 2017. Had they released Browner outright in March they would have only gained $950,000 in room this season. The Saints have under $500,000 in cap room so they clearly need the bigger amount. Browner is currently a member of the Seahawks on a minimum contract. If he plays the full year the Saints should get a $760,000 offset cap credit in 2017.
Chris Culliver, Redskins- Culliver was released just days after the team signed Josh Norman to a big contract. Culliver currently counts for $9.25 million against the cap and the Redskins will gain $8 million in cap room with his release. Had they done a regular release they would have gained $5.5 million which is a pretty big number, but with just $4 million in cap room and some potential contract extensions on the horizon using the full $8 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.