Well it has certainly been a very busy day around the NFL as the cut season is officially under way and teams made a number of moves. Rather than fill up our blog portion with multiple posts here is a recap of all of todays action that we had not commented on before.
The Cardinals released defensive tackle Darnell Dockett from the final year of his $33.5 million contract. The soon to be 34 year old Dockett missed all of last season with an injury and was set to count for $9.8 million against the Cardinals salary cap. The team will save $6.8 million by releasing him. Unlike most players cut this time of year I do believe the door will be open for Dockett to return. By releasing him now he can quickly check his market value and then return to the Cardinals if it turns out his market is closer to the Cardinals offers. Arizona should have around $14 million in cap room.
We already touched on the release of Steven Jackson last night, but the Falcons continued to clear out cap space with the releases of guard Justin Blalock and receiver Harry Douglas. The 32 year old Blalock had missed just one start in the last 8 years, but between age, declining performance, and a $7.91 million cap he was expendable despite a $4.12 million dead money charge. This is a good group of free agents at the position which may have made this decision easier for Atlanta.
Douglas started 6 games for Atlanta last season, but was in the final year of his contract and had little upside. The team saved $3.5 million by releasing him and will carry slightly over $895,000 in dead money.
Following the moves, the Falcons should have around $33 million in cap room. This is a team that will likely be very aggressive in free agency.
The Ravens released veteran defensive lineman Chris Canty. Canty is a 10 year veteran who will be 33 years old and had seen less and less time over the course of the last two seasons. The team will save $2.66 million with the move. Expect more activity from the Ravens soon as they are just $4.7 million under the cap with a few high priced players in line for new deals.
The Bengals already had a large cap surplus so their release of Robert Geathers and Greg Little had nothing to do with salary cap considerations. These were pure performance cuts for players that they felt they could upgrade in free agency or the draft. Neither player carries any dead money and they will save $3.05 million with the release of Geathers and $745,000 on Little.
Miami continues the process of basically tearing apart many of the contracts signed by Jeff Ireland in his final year as General Manager of the team, which saw the Dolphins go on their first spending spree in years. Today’s cuts were receiver Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson. Hartline saw his numbers fall off the map this year as he lost his place in the offense despite starting 16 games. He only caught 39 passes for 474 yards after back to back 1,000 yard seasons. Hartline was signed to a contract near the top of the “number 2” receiver market and he produced like a low level 3 in 2014. With a $7.35 million cap hit his fate was sealed. Miami will still take a $4.2 million charge for him but that represents a $3.15 million gain.
Gibson was signed to be the 3rd receiver in what was expected to be a potent passing attack with Mike Wallace, Hartline and Dustin Keller. Gibson never got going sustaining an injury in 2013 and never looking like the player that showed some promise in St. Louis. The dolphins free up $3.26 million with his release. They should have about $11.5 million in cap room with more money to be created soon.
The Vikings released starting guard Charlie Johnson just one year after he was re-signed to a two year deal worth $5 million. The team will save $2.5 million with the release and carry no dead money for Johnson. Minnesota should have around $21 million in cap room with a big decision on their hands with Adrian Peterson. The Vikings can jump pretty high into the cap space column with a few releases.
Washington released two veteran players today from their roster. Following an 8 game season, Barry Cofield was released with two years remaining from his six year contract signed back in 2011. Cofield was set to count for $7.68 million against the cap and the team will create just over $4.1 million with his release. The dead money will be $3.55 million.
Stephen Bowen had also seen action in just 8 games and was an easy choice for release. He had his pay slashed in 2014 and with a cap hit of $8.02 million his fate was sealed. Washington will gain $5.5 million in cap room with his release. Not including the signing of Ricky Jean-Francois the team should have around $27 million in cap room to use.
You can follow along with all the cuts by visiting the OTC Free Agency page and drilling the list down to SFA, which is for players who have been released and are immediately available to sign.
Our salary cap pages will be constantly updated over the next few weeks to try to keep everyone up on reasonable estimates for cap charges for their favorite team and rivals.
Finally you can read my thoughts on all the possible offseason action for most of the teams by checking out our NFL Offseason Salary Cap Reports.
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.