Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport
2014 Cap Hit: $4,750,000
Dead Money If Cut: $2,000,000
Cap Savings If Cut: $2,750,000
Why He Might Be a Salary-Cap Casualty
Powers is probably the most unlikely cut, considering Arians connection with him from their days in Indianapolis. However, the sixth-year veteran needs to be looking over his shoulder.
This year’s draft class is deep at the cornerback position, and Powers struggled in coverage as the season wore on. Per PFF, opposing quarterbacks registered a quarterback rating of 89.9 when throwing into his coverage area.
Additionally, quarterbacks completed 59.8 percent of their throws when they targeted him. As far as cornerbacks on Arizona’s roster go, that was the highest completion percentage for anyone who played at least 50 percent of the team’s defensive snaps.
Another glaring weakness in his game was his ability to wrap up pass-catchers in the open field. He missed nine tackles total. That was the fourth-highest number on the team. Only Dansby, Washington and Calais Campbell had more missed tackles at season’s end.
Why He Might Not Be a Salary-Cap Casualty
The Cardinals are thin at the defensive back position because of a few impending free agents and Tyrann Mathieu’s knee injury. So it’s clear Powers is in a favorable position to return. Plus, his ability to effectively play the run helps his cause as well.
Of the 16 games he appeared in, he finished with 11 positively graded games. Surprisingly, that’s the same number of positively graded games as fellow All-Pro corner Patrick Peterson. Peterson is viewed as one of the most well-rounded cornerbacks in the NFL, which makes his performances against the run noteworthy.
Moreover, Powers is still young. He turns 27 before the 2014 season starts, which means he has another three to four years of productive play left. If he can find some sort of consistency in coverage, he is more than capable of turning into a guy who can complement Peterson.
Nonetheless, $4.75 million for a slightly above-average corner is unreasonable. The good news is that players typically improve in their second year in a particular defensive system.