With the lockout finally lifted, and a new salary cap in place, many teams around the league are notifying long-time veterans that their services are no longer needed.
The Patriots released long time linebacker Tully Banta-Cain, which has puzzled many thus far. The Patriots have had little to no pass rush over the last three or four years, and while Banta-Cain is not a superstar, he does bring the limited pressure you see from the Patriots defense.
Meanwhile, the Packers have given Nick Barnett his walking papers. The Packers have said that if they cannot trade the long-time starter that he will be released. Barnett has consistently been a great, game changing middle linebacker for the Packers. Instead of paying Barnett five million dollars in salary, the Packers re-signed two younger linebackers (AJ Hawk and Desmond Bishop) and have basically told Barnett, “thanks for the memories.”
The biggest veteran cuts so far in the young offseason have come at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys and Baltimore Ravens.
The Cowboys have released former pro-bowlers Marion Barber, Leonard Davis and Roy Williams in an effort to get under the cap after they were reportedly approximately $18 million over the new $120 million cap. With these three cuts alone, the Cowboys are saving nearly $15 million in salary cap space.
Dallas finally admitted to a Texas-sized gaffe when they sent a 1st, 3rd, and 6th round draft picks to Detroit and $20 million guarantee to Roy Williams in exchange for the wideout's services. The Dallas backfield is full of talent and potential. They also added DeMarco Murray in the draft all but assured that Marion Barber would never see the $4 million plus owed to him. Leonard Davis, arguably the best player of the three is also the oldest and the most costly to retain.
The Ravens on the other hand have released long time DT, Kelly Gregg (10 seasons with Baltimore), TE Todd Heap (10 seasons with Baltimore), WR Derrick Mason (six seasons with Baltimore), and RB Willis McGahee (four seasons with Baltimore). The Ravens have already expressed their interest in re-signing Todd Heap and Kelly Gregg, barring the cost is salary cap friendly. Mason, the 37 year old wideout has publicly stated that if the Ravens want him back in purple, that he is eager and willing to re-sign.
Numerous veterans have met the executioners block and none of fared well thus far. The scariest part is that we are only two days removed from the players and owners coming to an agreement on a new CBA. It makes you wonder what we have in store in the days ahead.