With training camps underway we now begin a phase of the NFL offseason where transactions pick up and players are routinely cut and signed from the various teams. On days when the transactions are a bit more meaningful to everyone I’ll try to do a bit of a recap of the moves and the finances behind them.
The Denver Broncos released tight end Joel Dreessen with a failed physical designation. Dreessen was a capable player whose most productive seasons came in Houston from 2007 through 2011 where he caught 105 passes over the five year period. Dreessen came to Denver in 2012 on a three year $8.5 million contract and started 15 games in 2012. Dreessen had a limited role on the team in 2013 and, with a number of contracts due for renewal next season, financially it made sense to release him, especally if injury was going to be a concern in camp.The Broncos saved $2.5 million by releasing Dreessen.
San Diego finally released LB Larry English, one of the big flops from the 2010 NFL draft. Most expected English’s contract to void due to playing time incentives he reached as a rookie but apparently he must have just fallen short and remained property of the Chargers. In his four seasons with the Chargers English started just 9 games, registered 11 sacks and spent seemingly as much time injured as he did playing. This is one of those moves that should have been made in March to allow the player a chance to find a new home to resurrect his career. Why they did not do it back then is an unknown to me. The Chargers saved $1,542,500 by releasing English.
The Cleveland Browns were awarded center Nick McDonald off waivers from the Chargers. McDonald had received a $17,500 bonus from San Diego. The Chargers are responsible for the bonus money while the Browns will pick up McDonald’s $645,000 salary.
Right tackle Brennan Williams was selected in the third round of the 2013 NFL draft by the Houston Texans. Just one season in, he is out of a job. Williams seemed to face countless injuries his rookie year, landed on IR and was released with a failed physical designation. Williams had received a $542,900 signing bonus. His cap charge in Houston this year will now be $135,725 and next season will be $271,450. Houston avoids paying him $506,000 in salary.
Despite going unclaimed on waivers, Williams could get another job and possibly quickly, depending on his health. Players like Williams would be signed to contracts for the minimum salaries, which for Williams would be $420,000, $495,000, and $585,000 over the next three seasons. Had he been claimed his salaries would have been $506,000, $596,000, and $686,000.
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.