FentayeJones Posted December 12, 2015 Share Posted December 12, 2015 BY MICHAEL GINNITTIAn early look at notable NFL players who might be on the 2016 “cap casualty” block, via release or trade, come next offseason, and the financial ramifications of doing so.QUARTERBACKSMatthew Stafford (DET, $22,500,000)Despite a gutsy Week 10 win in Green Bay, the Lions 2015 season has been all but lost, somewhat surpisingly. Stafford only hits the trade block if the new administration in Detroit feel a total rebuild is necessary, though it might make more sense to shop Calvin Johnson ahead of a franchise QB, despite Stafford’s injuries and struggles at times. His contract carries $11M in dead cap next season, all from unallocated signing bonus. None of his $33.5M in remaining salary is guaranteed.Peyton Manning (DEN, $21,500,000)While this likely becomes a non-issue if Manning retires as many believe he will, the Broncos might have an interesting decision should he waver/decide otherwise. Denver has $132M allocated to just 34 2016 players currently, and will need to throw a bucket of money to keep Von Miller in the fold. Manning’s release clears $19M – but is he replaceable?Colin Kaepernick (SF, $16,765,753)Kaepernick has done very little to cement his long-term grasp on the quarterback position as the 49ers head toward a much needed rebuild in 2016. Luckily, his contract was built to handle such situations, with rolling salary guarantees that don’t kick in until April 1st of each offseason. With just $7,397,259 in dead cap (unallocated signing bonus), the Niners are in line to more than $9.3M from their 2016 cap should they find a trade partner, or outright release the 28 year old.Robert Griffin III (WAS, $16,155,000)This probably goes without saying, but it’s a given that Washington will not keep a 3rd string quarterback on the roster at $16.155M. While it’s possible he finds himself back on the field to replace a struggling Kirk Cousins, he’s likely elsewhere in 2016.Nick Foles (STL, $8,750,000)The Foles era appears to be over in St. Louis, as reports have come in that Case Keenum will take over the reigns in Week 11. Unfortunately for the Rams, Foles’ $1.75M base salary and $6M roster bonus in 2016 are already fully guaranteed, totaling $9.75M in dead cap should they look to part ways next offseason – a loss of $1M in cap space.Brian Hoyer (HOU, $5,250,000)Hoyer lost the starting job in Houston seemingly before the national anthem was finished on opening day. His $5.25M cap figure isn’t overwhelming, but he’ll likely need to take a paycut at the very least to remain on the Texans’ roster next offseason.Josh McCown (CLE, $5,041,666)McCown was brought in to be the veteran leader for a Browns team seemingly on the rise. But poor play, injuries, and a lackluster effort across the roster has found him a spot on the bench. A $5M cap hit is too steep for a veteran backup, so a pay cut might be in order, but the Browns can clear $2.7M in space by releasing McCown next offseason ($3.375M after June 1st).E.J. Manuel (BUF, $2,827,141)Manuel’s tenure in Buffalo appeared to come to a close once Tyrod Taylor stepped on the field this past summer. He’s been given limited fill-in snaps in 2015, but the Bills appear ready to move on from their 2013 1st round pick. If they can find a trade partner, they’ll eat just $1.2M in dead cap for the 2016. An outright release leaves behind the full $2,827,141 in cap, however the deal does contain offsets, meaning the Bills would gain relief in the amount of salary that Manuel signs for with another team in 2016.Johnny Manziel (CLE, $2,249,617)Back in the doghouse yet again, it’s becoming more and more likely that the Manziel era in Cleveland will expire after just two seasons. His release means the Browns lose $2.37M in 2016 cap space, as the move leaves behind $4.624M in dead cap.However the deal does contain offsets, meaning the browns would gain relief in the amount of salary that Manziel signs for with another team in 2016.RUNNING BACKSMarshawn Lynch (SEA, $11,500,000)Lynch’s present and future are a bit of a mystery in Seattle. There are still some mouths to feed on this young team (Russell Okung, Jordan Hill, Bruce Irvin), but the depth beneath Lynch took a hit this past offseason. A good draft might put Lynch’s high cap hit in question. His release would clear $6.5M in space.Arian Foster (HOU, $9,300,000)Foster’s shown that when healthy, he’s still a top offensive weapon for the Texans. But annual injuries continuously leave the Houston offense in disarray. Foster will be entering a contract year in 2016, and while a $9.3M cap hit isn’t deafening, if a rebuild is in order, the Texans can clear $7M in space per his trade or release.C.J. Spiller (NO, $4,500,000)Spiller was overpaid before he even put the uniform on in New Orleans, but had a legitimate shot to prove otherwise before yet another injury stood in his way. It’s possible a strong finish to 2015 closes this door, and his release would clear only $750,000 (before March 11th).Toby Gerhart (JAC, $3,500,000)T.J. Yeldon appears every bit as good as advertised, which should mean Gerhart’s $3.5M cap hit in 2016 can be removed. His release would clear all $3.5M.WIDE RECEIVERSCalvin Johnson (DET, $24,008,000)Once an inconceivable thought, should a rebuild come to the forefront in Detroit this offseason, it might be impossible to keep a 31 year old wide receiver with a $24M cap hit on the books, even if he may be un-guardable at times. He carries $12.916M in dead cap via signing bonus, option bonus, and a restructure from 2013. None of his $67.7M in remaining salary is guaranteed.Mike Wallace (MIN, $11,500,000)Wallace was brought in for a much needed change of scenery, and to add a veteran presence to a young WR arsenal for a young QB. He’s done a solid job, but simply doesn’t have a big enough role to produce numbers that warrant an $11.5M cap figure in 2016. While a restructure is possible, Minnesota can clear that entire $11.5M should they find a trade partner or outright release him next offseason.Pierre Garcon (WAS, $10,200,000)Garcon is a solid receiver would was paid based on the “Peyton effect” back in 2012. Washington likely won’t keep his $10M cap hit on the books, and his release will clear $8M.Dwayne Bowe (CLE, $8,000,000)Rumored to be on the chop block just months after signing with the Browns, it’s almost a certainty that he’s giving the slip after the 2015 campaign. He’ll walk with $9.1M cash in hand, clearing $3.4M in 2016 cap space for Cleveland.Victor Cruz (NYG, $9,900,000)Cruz continues to deal with injuries year in and out – still not able to hit the field in 2015 as of yet. His $43M contract back in 2013 appears to be on track to bust next offseason, and his release would clear $6.1M in space for the Giants.Roddy White (ATL, $6,137,500)After a 2014 campaign with 7 TDs and nearly 1,000 yards receiving, White’s production has all but ceased in 2015. He enters Week 11 with just 17 receptions, 230 yards, and 1 score. Financially speaking, White’s contract isn’t a major deterrant to the Falcons ($6.1M cap hit for 2016), but if cap space becomes an issue, Atlanta can clear $2,362,500 per his release or trade ($4.25M if after June 1st).Marques Colston (NO, $5,900,000)Colston trimmed a total of $7.8M from his 2015 and 2016 salaries this past offseason, but the writing may still be on the wall going forward. The Saints may be trending toward some major changes next offseason, though most may come on the defensive side of the ball to start. Colston’s release would clear $3.2M in space to help the cause.Greg Jennings (MIA, $5,500,000)Jennings is a nice veteran complement to a young and talented WR arsenal in Miami. But at $5.5M, he’ll be too rich to keep on the books next season. A pay cut might save his roster spot, but a release would clear $4M in cap space for the Dolphins.TIGHT ENDSJordan Cameron (MIA, $9,500,000)Bringing in Cameron was always going to be a risk as injuries plagued him heading into free agency. He’s done little to cement his spot in the lineup thus far in 2015, reeling in just 21 balls while finding the endzone just once. His $9.5M cap figure for 2016 should never hit the books, but $7.5M of it becomes fully guaranteed on March 16th, meaning the Dolphins will have an early decision to make here. His release would clear the $7.5M.Dennis Pitta (BAL, $7,200,000)Pitta’s been advised to hang it up after a second hip injury that has landed him on the injured reserve. While he may forgoe the advice and attempt a comeback, the Ravens certainly won’t want him carrying a $7.2M cap figure in 2016. A post June 1st release will clear $5M in space.Martellus Bennett (CHI, $6,310,000)After a 2014 season that saw him catch 90 balls for nearly 1,000 yards, Bennett’s role with the Bears has fallen off in 2015. Now placed on season ended injured reserve, some feel his tenure in Chicago is over. His release would leave behind $1,125,000 in dead cap, $5.185 million in 2016 cap space.Brent Celek (PHI, $5,000,000)Celek’s been a long-time reliable option in the Eagles’ passing game. But with the emergence of Zach Ertz, and just 11 receptions thus far, the soon to be 31 year old may be seeing his last action in Philadelphia. His $5M cap figure for 2016 is manageable, but with the QB position unclear, and expiring contracts in their secondary, clearing that $5M from their books might be necessary.DEFENSIVE LINEMENCharles Johnson (CAR, $15,020,000)The Panthers can clear $11M from their 2016 cap by releasing the currently injured defensive end.Cameron Wake (MIA, $9,800,000)He’ll be 34 next year, and with the Miami D off to a rough start in 2015, and cap space an issue for next year already, this could become a tough choice for the (new?) Dolphins staff. Wake’s release would clear a much needed $8.4M in 2016 space.Kyle Williams (BUF, $8,000,000)Williams’ has been excellent when healthy, but the Bills simply might need to get younger and cheaper in some facets to keep their recent success going. Especially if Tyrod Taylor needs to be extended. Buffalo can clear $5M in space per his release.Mario Williams (BUF, $19,900,000)After a largely impactful 2014 campaign (14.5 sacks, 43 tackles), Williams’ production has all but diminished in 2015. He’s posted just 3 sacks and 14 tackles through 11 active games, battling minor injuries to go with it.LINEBACKERSLawrence Timmons (PIT, $15,131,250)Timmons would leave behind $6,381,250 in dead cap, clearing $8,750,000 in 2016 space for the Steelers.Ahmad Brooks (SF, $9,698,750)The 49ers aren’t in 2016 cap trouble as of now, but a downward spiral this season could force a massive firesale/rebuild on the franchise. Dropping Brooks can clear $6.5M in space.Daryl Washington (ARI, $7,500,000)He hasn’t played in the NFL since 2013, suspended indefinitely for substance abuse. If the Cardinals decide enough is enough, they can clear $2M from their 2016 cap.SECONDARYDonte Whitner (CLE, $8,450,000)One of the worst-rated safeties thus far in 2015, Whitner’s well on his way to a cap casualty. He currently stands with the 3rd highest cap hit among all 2016 safeties, and his release would clear $3.95MDashon Goldson (WAS, $8,000,000)The Buccaneers chipped in half of the $8M Goldson was owed in 2015, but it’s not likely Washington will be willing to keep him on in 2016 at the full $8M. It’s possible a restructure could keep the 31-year-old around, but less likely. He’s grading as one of the worst safeties in all of football according to PFF. His release clears the full $8M.Antonio Cromartie (NYJ, $8,000,000)This was really always going to be a 1 year deal, but preparing it as a 4 year $32 million contract made for a bigger news splash. Cromartie’s had a rough year, with passers currently rating north of 120 against him in 2015. None of the remaining $25M is guaranteed, meaning the Jets will clear $8M in 2016 per his release.Alterraun Verner (TB, $6,750,000)$2M of his 2016 salary fully guarantees on March 13th, so the move will likely have to come quickly, but the Bucs can clear his full $6.75M cap hit in doing so.Leodis McKelvin (BUF, $4,900,000)Injuries have kept McKelvin off the field more than he and the Bills would have liked. While his $4.9M cap figure isn’t overwhelming, a cap-strapped Buffalo team with more mouths to feed next offseason may have to move on from Leodis. His release would clear $3.9M.http://www.spotrac.com/blog/early-2016-cap-casualty-candidates/ Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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