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)

Questions about this article? Reach Jason Fitzgerald on Twitter at @Jason_OTC