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Who To Cut, Who To Keep


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Who To Cut, Who to Keep

We've already seen the "It's just business" portion of the NFL lurk its stridently cap-compliant head this offseason. Start in New York. Ahmad Bradshaw is a pretty good NFL running back, won't be 27 until next month and, as pointed out this week, "… is one of the finest draft choices in the franchise's history, blossoming after being selected in the seventh round, 250th overall, in 2007. He became one of six Giants with at least 3,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards (1,087)."

And now he needs a job.

The Giants cut Bradshaw, saving $2.5 million against next year's salary cap, or about two games of Mark Sanchez. But that's the NFL, and that's the current salary cap, a figure the players union almost certainly regrets agreeing to in the course of staving off missed games. You make cuts where and when you can, those decisions only half the time based on what you expect from the player, the other half based on the cap.

So with the harsh reality of that cap in mind, here are players who should be cut, and some who could be cut but shouldn't be.

Offense

Quarterback

Do cut: Kevin Kolb

There are economics departments offering "Kevin Kolb: Sunk Costs 201" among course offerings for the fall semester. The first two years of his high-priced tenure in Arizona have been a waste (2011) and signs of hope (2012), but paying him at a cap-hit level of $13.5 million in 2013 is out of the question. The Cardinals should look to renegotiate, and if they fail to get Kolb below about $5 million, they should cut him. The draft, Matt Cassel, Alex Smith and other options are all in play at this point, and all offer as much or more hope than Kolb.

Don't cut: Michael Vick

Vick saw pressure on a higher percentage of dropbacks (41.4 percent) than any QB in the NFL in 2012. But that's partly on him. He fails to make quick reads and holds onto the ball way too long -- an average of 3.07 seconds, according to Pro Football Focus. But he holds the ball because he refuses to give up on plays, knowing he can run.

Enter Chip Kelly. It's false to say Kelly constantly puts his QBs at risk as runners, but his offense at Oregon thrived on the threat of the run. The Eagles should cut Vick if he insists on being paid the $15.5M he's owed for 2013, but if he'll renegotiate, he and Philly should consider the grand experiment of Vick, Kelly, LLC.

Running back

Do cut: Michael Turner

It's a lie to say Turner is less mobile than an orange traffic barrel -- he created more missed tackles than Reggie Bush on fewer carries in 2012 -- but he was a vastly inferior runner to his backup (Jacquizz Rodgers), and he represents an $8.9M cap hit in 2013. He also represents a restructuring at best.

Don't cut: DeAngelo Williams

The Panthers have 47 running backs, and they have work to do with the passing game, which is why they also have a new GM. But they should at least look to restructure the deal of the back who was easily the best one on the roster in 2012. Cutting Williams saves about $4.8M against the 2013 cap, but Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert were far less efficient.

Tight end

Do cut: Jermichael Finley

If his deal is maintained, he has an $8.75M cap hit for 2013. That's a problem for Finley, who has inconsistent hands, is below average when left in as a pass-blocker (rare) and ranked 43rd in run blocking, per PFF. Mark Bavaro would have been more productive for the Packers last year.

Don't cut: Marcedes Lewis

Cutting Lewis would save the Jags about $4.2M in 2013, but it would also take away one of the true red zone mismatch threats in the league from a team that really shouldn't do anything to diminish its passing game. Lewis is underrated because he's actually a very good run-blocker, meaning he helps the offense when he's on the field, period, not just when he's catching the ball.

Wide receiver

Do cut: Darrius Heyward-Bey

Is he a total bust? No. Is he worth a $10.6 million 2013 cap hit? Absolutely not. He may never live up to a No. 7 pick slot, but that he wasn't nearly as good as undrafted rookie Rod Streater in 2012 is all the Raiders need to know. They're still trying to climb the walls from salary-cap jail, and cutting DHB is part of the escape route. That said, given the Oakland WR depth chart, if he'd restructure, they should talk.

Don't cut: Anquan Boldin

The Ravens might need to cut Boldin because of their cap situation, and he's no longer an explosive receiver. But Boldin was thrown at exactly 108 times in 2012, and only twice did he drop the football. What he lacks in speed he can make up for in savvy and reliability. If the Ravens can find a cap number better than the $7.5M Boldin accounts for in 2013, they should use it.

Don't cut: Jeremy Maclin

He'd represent more than $3 million in savings. He was awful in 2012, but he might also have trade value at that number.

Offensive line

Do cut: Doug Free

Free costs a hefty bleepin' fee in 2013, which is a problem because even at right tackle, he balanced an inability to run block with an inability to pass block. A $10 million-plus cap hit in 2013 for an underperforming right tackle isn't an investment any team can make.

Don't cut: Willie Colon

Yes, he's a tackle overpaid at guard (to which he was moved in 2012). But if the Steelers can renegotiate with Colon, they get a player who was a very good guard and could help create a very good interior next to Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro in 2013. The Steelers will get ravaged by cuts this offseason, but Colon might be worth keeping around if the price is right.

Defense

Defensive line

Do cut: Tyson Jackson

His 2013 cap hit is $17.47 million in 2013, and in 2012, he was less difficult to defend than spam email. He should, and will, be cut quickly. Whoever picks him up should consider a position switch.

Don't cut: Julius Peppers

Based on the cap, if you cut him you save a whopping $8 million! And if you cut him, you still pay $9 million! The problem for the Bears is that while Peppers might be expensive, he was also far better than any replacement they have, and cutting him would diminish their chances in 2013, a year before they might have to make major decisions with regards to roster turnover.

Linebacker

Do cut: Bart Scott and Rolando McClain

Run. Don't walk. The Jets are an absolute cap disaster, and Bart Scott in 2012 should have been represented in the program by "Below Replacement." McClain is as bad off the field as he is on it, and that's saying something.

Don't cut: James Harrison

Based on what he's owed, the Steelers may need to cut Harrison if he isn't willing to agree to a restructured contract. Right now, he represents a cap hit of over $10 million in 2013. When healthy, Harrison is still a really good football player, and as long as he has enough money to pay the fines, there's evidence he'd be good again in 2013.

Secondary

Do cut: Dunta Robinson

You have to find cuts to maintain a veteran team that plans to be in the mix to win a Super Bowl (and needs to pay Matt Ryan), and Robinson could be the odd man out. The Falcons could save $8 million against the cap if they cut Robinson, and his leverage isn't great because Robert McClain played better for almost a fraction of the cost in 2012. He'll need to restructure to stick around.

Re-do: Charles Woodson

The Packers could cut Woodson without a big dropoff, as great as he's been. They drafted both Casey Hayward and Jerron McMillian in 2012, and, given the presence of Hayward,Sam Shields and Davon House, few teams are in better shape in the secondary. But Woodson has made his money, and should be willing to talk if the Packers look to restructure. If he's not, they may not want to carry his $9.43 million cap hit.

Don't cut: Champ Bailey

We've been waiting for Bailey to struggle at corner and take his Rod Woodson-inspired pre-retirement trip to safety for about three years, and every year he shows up and is the best corner the Broncos have. In his age 31-34 seasons, Bailey has played in 60 of 64 possible games. Denver saves $9.5 million against the cap if he's not around in 2013, but that shouldn't be the goal. Bailey was one of the five best corners in the league in 2012, and he still hasn't been set out to the proverbial safety pasture. Denver needs to find a way to restructure.

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cut Dunta, Turner, and Abraham. Resign Grimes, Asante, Moore and Decoud. with current draft picks go Offensive line first then defense. With fantasy Draft trade up and get impactful MBL and SLB with first 2 picks and switch to a 3-4 with Babs, Avril (FA) and Bierman up front

Asanta is signed for 2 more years and DeCoud is signed for 4 more years.

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cut Dunta, Turner, and Abraham. Resign Grimes, Asante, Moore and Decoud. with current draft picks go Offensive line first then defense. With fantasy Draft trade up and get impactful MBL and SLB with first 2 picks and switch to a 3-4 with Babs, Avril (FA) and Bierman up front

You obviously play a lot of Madden and have never taken a serious look at the upcoming draft.

Just saying. The situation you propose makes less sense than Greenland being icy and Iceland being green.

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You obviously play a lot of Madden and have never taken a serious look at the upcoming draft.

Just saying. The situation you propose makes less sense than Greenland being icy and Iceland being green.

I love madden. That a problem? I did miss that Ducoud was already under contract tho so i guess i deserve the flame. Asante must be restructured tho.
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Do think the most cost effective thing is to cut Dunta.... We need that Cap space and McClain stepping up showed us we have a young NB with #2 CB potential...

But.... The fact that we have not cut Dunta yet.... I have the feeling that he is agreeing to take a big pay cut to stay.

Im also glad Vick is staying with the Eagles.... We should get that 3.5 mil of cap space.

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I love madden. That a problem? I did miss that Ducoud was already under contract tho so i guess i deserve the flame. Asante must be restructured tho.

The flame wasn't solely because of Decoud. Restructuring Asante is mindblowingly stupid because we already got him at a bargain. Abraham is our best pass rusher and without him, unless we get rid of Ray Hamilton, none of our DL will develop. Offensive line over defense is also stupid for the most part; we've spent a lot of early picks on OL recently. On top of that, if we did that "fantasy draft" to trade up and get a ILB and SLB, we'd be idiots, because we're far more set right now to get an ILB and SLB at the picks we have now. There's no one we could trade up for that would really make sense. Not to mention, Babs, Avril, and Biermann would be the worst front 3 of a 3-4 of all time. Babs could maybe be a 3-4 DE, but Avril and Biermann are more suited to playing OLB in a 3-4 if anything. This just doesn't make any sense. At all.

Edited by TuggIe2
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