• Potential Cap Casualties: NFC East



    With the 2012 season and accompanying postseason fully in the history books, NFL teams are now focused on preparing for the upcoming 2013 Draft as well as the impending free agency period. Free agency officially begins on March 12, but there will be plenty of moves and transactions made before then. As always, we'll see teams release established veterans and valuable players in order to save themselves money and gain flexibility under the salary cap. I'll be going division-by-division and analyzing the salary cap situation of each team in the league, highlighting some players for every club that could potentially be axed in order to save some money. Yesterday we started with the NFC by covering the North division, and today we'll continue our progress by tackling the NFC East.

    Dallas Cowboys:
    Current Projected Cap Space - $18.7M OVER
    Key Free Agents - Anthony Spencer (LB), Victor Butler (LB), Felix Jones (RB), Kevin Ogletree (WR)

    Another season of turmoil and drama in Big D resulted in an 8-8 record for the Cowboys and another year without a postseason berth. And to pile on more dirt, the Cowboys find themselves in one of the worst cap situations in the NFL currently. They're nearly twenty-million dollars over the cap, and need to find quick ways to chop that figure down. The most common way teams accomplish that goal is by cutting players that they feel are being overpaid. However, the way the Cowboys have structured most of their big contracts, they can't really outright release anybody and save a significant enough amount of money in the process. Therefore, the Cowboys are going to have get creative with their cost-cutting measures by giving out extensions and restructuring contracts.

    The best place to start would probably be with the player currently set to have the highest cap hit for the team in 2013, Tony Romo. If Romo is on the team through 2013, the contract becomes voidable anyway, and that's something the Cowboys would have to seriously consider doing to get out of their salary cap hell. Getting him to agree to an extension now would eliminate that concern and also could cut his $16.8M cap hit in about half. Brandon Carr was a big-ticket acquisition in free agency last year, and his contract was designed to be able to be restructured and save approximately $10.5M more in cap space. Getting those two things done would get Dallas just below the cap limit for 2013, but they would be wise to continue from there. Cutting reserve linebacker Dan Connor would free up $3.0M in cap space, and doing the same to Lawrence Vickers would save $1.2M as well. If they were willing to take on dead money in 2014 too, Dallas could wait until after June 1 to cut Doug Free and Jay Ratliff. The penalty from letting them go right away would actually cost them more than keeping them on the team would, but doing so after June 1 would split the damage over the next two years and make it easier to absorb.

    New York Giants:
    Current Projected Cap Space - $4.4M
    Key Free Agents - Will Beatty (OT), Martellus Bennett (TE), Kevin Boothe (G), Kenny Phillips (S)

    The New York Giants were one of the first teams to get to work this offseason, getting right down to business a couple of weeks ago by releasing Ahmad Bradshaw, Michael Boley, and Chris Canty to save around $13.0M in space and get themselves underneath the cap. With two very important free agents to look at bringing back though in Beatty and Bennett, one has to imagine that the Giants aren't done making moves to free up their usable payroll. Luckily for them, even with the cuts they've already made, they don't have a shortage of potential cap casualties. Chief among them would be Corey Webster, who is set to be rewarded for his incredibly awful 2012 season with a whopping $9.8M cap hit in 2013. Cutting him would almost seem like a no-brainer, as the team would save a further $7.25M by doing so.

    Speaking of awful players being paid like not-so-awful players, David Diehl has clearly demonstrated over the past couple of years that he is at the end of his rope. Needless to say, his play on the field definitely does not warrant the $6.8M he'll be earning next season if he's kept around. Letting him go would free up just about $4.75M that instead could be put towards paying players who can still, ya know, play. A dark horse candidate to be released is safety Antrel Rolle, who has yet to live up to the sizable contract he signed prior to 2010. His release would save a further $5.25M and make it much easier for New York to bring back their talented group of key free agents.

    Philadelphia Eagles:
    Current Projected Cap Space - $19.8M
    Key Free Agents - Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (CB), King Dunlap (OT), Darryl Tapp (DE), Derek Landri (DT)

    The Eagles have long been a team that are seen as a shining example of how to effectively and efficiently manage the cap. It continues to remain true this year, as even with hefty contracts to some of their players, they find themselves with a solid amount of cap space and very few big-ticket free agents. However, one very large and glaring $15.0M eyesore on their payroll for 2013 comes in the form of Nnamdi Asomugha. There's virtually no chance that the once All-Universe corner is retained at that figure, so he'll be asked to restructure his deal to make it more team-friendly. If Asomugha is unwilling to compromise, the Eagles are still in a good spot. They can release him and it will only cost them less than a third of his overall cap hit, a much more modest $4.0M.

    Another move that the Eagles could look to make is parting ways with linebacker DeMeco Ryans, who they traded for last offseason and acquired from the Houston Texans. Ryans came into Philly and started out strong in his first year with the team, but faded during the second half of the season and may not have done enough to keep a spot on the roster secure. This is especially true once you remember that the reason the Texans were so ready to get rid of Ryans was because he wasn't a good fit in their 3-4 scheme. With the Eagles moving to a 3-4 defense in 2013 as well, there's a possibility that again he won't take to it. If he's deemed expendable, there would be no penalty for the Eagles either, and they save $6.7M with no strings attached.

    Washington Redskins:
    Current Projected Cap Space - $3.8M OVER
    Key Free Agents - Fred Davis (TE), Cedric Griffin (CB), Kory Lichtensteiger (G), Rob Jackson (LB)

    The Redskins are still strapped with a league-imposed penalty for 2013 for the way that the organization structured some of their contracts during the uncapped 2010 league year. This leaves them a little bit over the cap as everything stands right now, but there is little need for them to fret. That is, of course, as long as they are willing to pull the trigger on notable sieve of the defensive backfield, DeAngelo Hall. The best part for the Redskins is that there will be absolutely no penalty for them to take on if they do so, and Hall's $8.0M cap figure will come clean off of the books. Josh Wilson is about as solid of a #2 cornerback as you'll find in the NFL, and if they bring back Cedric Griffin he has shown the potential to be a starter in the past, when healthy. So the team wouldn't have to worry too much about how to replace Hall.

    Cutting Hall would be enough to get the Redskins underneath the cap, but there are other easy moves they could make in order to free up some more money. Defensive lineman Adam Carriker played just 43 snaps on defense before landing on injured reserve last season, and could be a candidate to get the axe considering he's set to earn $4.0M in 2013. Cutting Carriker would also be a penalty-free move, and free money is always good money. Santana Moss could also be on the chopping block this offseason. He's still a decent contributor for the team as a slot receiver, but at this stage of his career is not worth the near $6.2M he's due in 2013. He'll likely be asked to restructure and return at a more affordable number, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Redskins cut bait and let him go to save themselves roughly $4.5M.

    Comments 11 Comments
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      Agreed on Hall and Moss. How's the draft looks for "hands" receivers?

      The Redskins are probably going to work on their secondary no matter what, so losing Hall isn't a huge deal. He made some plays, but he's a holdover from the old Lil' Danny era and losing him would bring welcome silence.
    1. wxwax's Avatar
      We've discussed the Giants situation elsewhere. To me, this is the fascinating one. They have a lot of important guys they need to re-sign.
    1. Docta's Avatar
      Once the Giants sign back Nicks, Cruz, Bennett, and Beatty, they'll be set on offense. The defense is going to need some work. The secondary is going to be a problem until they all stop getting injured. I agree with Evan in that they should cut Webster, and I'd also add in Tuck. Or they should at least get their contracts restructured.
    1. edave's Avatar
      Evan what cap value are you using for these articles? 121M?

      Chris Snee at $11M seems overpriced to me, but the son in law isn't going anywhere.
    1. Evan Vracar's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by wxwax View Post
      Agreed on Hall and Moss. How's the draft looks for "hands" receivers?

      The Redskins are probably going to work on their secondary no matter what, so losing Hall isn't a huge deal. He made some plays, but he's a holdover from the old Lil' Danny era and losing him would bring welcome silence.
      All depends on where the Redskins might look to take a possession receiver in the Draft, but some of the more notable names include Keenan Allen, Aaron Dobson, Justin Hunter, Da'Rick Rogers, and Ryan Swope. Later round prospects worth a look that could be considered possession guys are Aaron Mellette, Rodney Smith, and Dan Buckner.
    1. Evan Vracar's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by edave View Post
      Evan what cap value are you using for these articles? 121M?

      Chris Snee at $11M seems overpriced to me, but the son in law isn't going anywhere.
      I am using the $121.1M figure that was initially reported to be the projected figure for 2013. Recent news suggests it could end up being higher than that, but I say that all figures are "currently projected" to be where they are for that very reason.

      Chris Snee is someone I looked at for the Giants too, and no doubt he is getting overpaid. However, he is still quite a solid player for the most part. Losing him would be a lot harder to overcome than losing Webster or Rolle would.
    1. edave's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Evan Vracar View Post
      I am using the $121.1M figure that was initially reported to be the projected figure for 2013.
      I figured as much but with the estimates growing by the day I wasn't sure
    1. edave's Avatar
      A couple more names for your free agent list with the Giants:

      Domenik Hixon and/or Ramses Barden
      Chase Blackburn
    1. Evan Vracar's Avatar
      If the projection for the cap was to change, I would go with the new figure for the remainder of the articles. With only two left to do though, I don't think that'll be necessary.

      And I've been going with four free agents to highlight for each team, but I was aware that those players were also about to hit the open market. Hixon I think would be nice to bring back if they can, he still is a solid #3 option for any team when healthy. Not sure the Giants need to keep him around though with Reuben Randle's flashes of potential. Barden has yet to show anything really in four years, I assume he'll be gone. And Blackburn has never really been a good player, he just happened to have a very good run in the 2011 postseason that got his name recognition.
    1. edave's Avatar
      Quote Originally Posted by Evan Vracar View Post
      And I've been going with four free agents to highlight for each team, but I was aware that those players were also about to hit the open market. Hixon I think would be nice to bring back if they can, he still is a solid #3 option for any team when healthy. Not sure the Giants need to keep him around though with Reuben Randle's flashes of potential. Barden has yet to show anything really in four years, I assume he'll be gone. And Blackburn has never really been a good player, he just happened to have a very good run in the 2011 postseason that got his name recognition.
      Mostly agree on everything except Blackburn. Actually, I agree on Blackburn too, but the Giants don't seem to. He had 104 tackles/assists in 2012, that's not a crummy player being used occasionally. He might be every bit as valuable to them as Phillips when you take into consideration the upheaval upfront.
    1. iwatt's Avatar
      The Giants.... of course they would have a good draft pick the eyar there are a lot of OT in the running.

      Still, why do I feel that team is getting old in the trenches?
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