2016 NFL Offseason: Top Players Who Could Be Cut
After the Super Bowl, the excitement that is the NFL never seems to end.
Following the Big Game one of the first orders of business of every team involves examining the roster—extensions, signings, trades, free agency and players who will be cut.
Most of the time, a team cuts a player because of his level of play. However, sometimes a player is cut merely because he makes too much money and his play doesn't warrant the amount of dough he is set to make.
A lack of cap space is also another notorious reason some guys are let go.
As of now, six teams have $5 million or less in cap space—the Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and New Orleans Saints.
This article will not feature Cleveland Browns (or soon-to-be former) quarterback Johnny Manziel, as the team's executive vice president of football operations, Sashi Brown, released a statement that indicates the Browns plan to move on from the embattled quarterback, according to Albert Breer of NFL Network. Breer also notes that the Browns' plan to cut him is on hold because of a cap-space formality.
Nonetheless, this article will feature 10 players who are likely (as opposed to definitely, in Manziel's case) to get cut.
I know, you're sad—a non-Manziel article.
Dwayne Bowe, WR, Cleveland Browns
I mean, come on—he caught five passes this season.
Cutting Bowe will save the Browns $3.4 million as opposed to the $8 million cap hit they would absorb if they kept him on the roster.
Bowe is gone.
Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants
A team favorite, the salsa-dancing New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz may be salsa-dancing in another end zone next season.
I'm sure you all remember it well—the brutal knee injury Cruz suffered in 2014 that would ultimately keep him from playing in all of 2015.
However, a restructure of his current deal is entirely possible. Not only would Cruz probably want to stay with the Giants, but they need wide receiver help, with fellow wideout Rueben Randle set to hit the open market.
The Giants have time, though, as it would make more sense to cut Cruz after June 1, when the team would save $8 million in cap space, whereas it would save just $6.1 million if it cut him before June 1.
Cruz represents a $9.9 million cap hit if the team leaves the contract alone.
If Cruz and the Giants are unable to work out a new deal, not only will Cruz be elsewhere, but the Giants will have the receiver position to address moving forward.
Harry Douglas, WR, Tennessee Titans
Originally signed in 2015, Tennessee Titans wide receiver Harry Douglas owns the 38th-richest contract among NFL wide receivers.
While his veteran presence was a phenomenal asset for this young Titans receiving corps, Douglas is not worth the same money he was signed to last season.
With fellow wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham now having his rookie season under his belt, the Titans will likely utilize him more this season, and Douglas's snaps would suffer as a result.
With Douglas set to be nearly a $4.5 million cap hit in 2016, the Titans would save a bit more than $3 million by cutting ties with the former Atlanta Falcons wide receiver.
Douglas just isn't worth the money he's being paid, and the team is better off moving on and relying on its young receivers. The Titans can address the position in the draft or with cheaper options in free agency.
Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans
Houston Texans running back Arian Foster's five-year contract will end one season early.
Under contract until the conclusion of 2016, he would present $6.625 million in cap savings for the Texans if he were cut.
Cutting Foster would be bittersweet as he has been a cornerstone of the Texans since his 1,600-yard season in 2010.
However, he tore his Achilles tendon in Week 7. Not only is the injury brutal to suffer in general, but it's especially worrisome for a running back in the NFL who's approaching 30 years old.
Last year it was wide receiver Andre Johnson, and this year it will be Foster who is on the move.
Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins
Perhaps the worst-kept secret in the NFL, it's just a matter of time before the Washington Redskins release their former No. 2 overall pick, quarterback Robert Griffin III.
With fellow quarterback Kirk Cousins now the man in Washington, D.C. and the Redskins set to save north of $16 million by cutting Griffin, he's about as sure a bet to be let go as is the sun to rise tomorrow morning.
Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos
While it's probable that Super Bowl 50 will be Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning's "last rodeo," there is still a chance he returns.
During media day at Super Bowl 50, Manning was noncommittal to say the least about his future beyond this season, according to Katherine Terrell of the Times-Picayune.
If Manning does return, the Broncos would be on the hook for $19 million and a cap hit of $21.5 million.
Unless you were under a rock all season, Manning's nine passing touchdowns to his 17 interceptions during the regular season do not warrant that kind of payday.
Whether or not he wins the Super Bowl, the Broncos will be more interested in saving $19 million in cap space than watching what could be another disastrous season for Manning.
Jerod Mayo, LB, New England Patriots
The AFC Championship Game was likely New England Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo's last game with the team.
It's simple, really: The Patriots just have much better options at the position, and Mayo has not been performing.
Not only is Mayo ranked sixth among seven listed linebackers on his own team, but he is the 49th-ranked linebacker among all linebackers who have played in at least 25 percent of their respective team's snaps.
Playing in more than 400 snaps this season, he was only able to muster a single sack.
Releasing Mayo would save the Patriots $7 million in cap space and get them out of the group of teams with $5 million or less in cap space.
Andre Roberts, WR, Washington Redskins
Before writing any article, there is always some research involved, and this article was no different.
As I scoured OverTheCap.com, along came Washington Redskins wide receiver Andre Roberts.
Boy, were his contract details shocking.
If the Redskins are patient enough and wait until after June 1, 2016, to cut him, they will save $4 million in cap space.
While bringing Roberts back is possible, paying $4 million to a wide receiver who caught 11 passes for 135 yards with no touchdowns is just way too much.
Roberts will either be brought back on a much cheaper deal, or he'll be looking for a new home.
Mike Wallace, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Cutting Wallace will save the Vikings $11.5 million in cap space, with no burden of dead money left on the table.
Since leaving the Pittsburgh Steelers, he definitely hasn't had a problem getting paid, but he has had problems with performing on the field.
A team that would work for Wallace would have to include a quarterback with a strong arm who can throw the deep ball well and utilize Wallace's main skill—speed.
Mario Williams, DE, Buffalo Bills
Once a highly touted free agent, Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Williams will likely be cut after the season, according to the Associated Press and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
While we can speculate about the reason for his poor play, the Bills did not pay Williams almost $100 million (over six years) to get five sacks in 2015 over 900 snaps.
According to Tyler Dunne of the Buffalo News, an anonymous Bills teammate even went as far as to say that Williams gave "zero effort" this season.
Whatever the problem was in Buffalo, hopefully Williams can be the same defensive player we have been accustomed to seeing over the years—he'll just have to do it somewhere else.
Cutting Williams will save the team $12.9 million in cap space.
The Bills sit nearly $3.5 million over the cap.
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