Salary-cap restraints around the NFL could lead to several big names being moved in trades or released this offseason.
According to Albert Breer of The MMQB, New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz, Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins and New Orleans Saints receiver Emmanuel Sanders could all be traded in the coming weeks.
Here are some more players potentially on the block, per Breer:
- Saints LB Kwon Alexander
- Rams DL Michael Brockers
- Eagles G Brandon Brooks
- Raiders OT Trent Brown
- Raiders S LaMarcus Joyner
- Saints RB Latavius Murray
- Jaguars G Andrew Norwell
- Browns TE David Njoku
- Packers DE Preston Smith
- Giants G Kevin Zeitler
- Chargers G Trai Turner
The salary cap is expected to drop for next season because of losses stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. It's likely to land between $180 million and $185 million, per ESPN's Dan Graziano.
Eight teams are already projected to be over the cap before free agency begins, per Spotrac, with the Eagles, Rams and Saints all more than $25 million over the line. Each of these teams will likely have to part with veteran players or reliable contributors before the new league year begins on March 17.
This includes Kwon Alexander, who is "more likely to be cut than traded," per Breer.
The Eagles will hope to find trade partners before being forced to release players, with Brandon Brooks and Ertz both reportedly drawing interest.
Gilmore might be the most surprising name on the list, but Breer reported the cornerback could be traded to a team willing to sign him to a long-term deal. The Patriots have resisted signing him to an extension, and he has only one year left on his current contract.
Injuries limited the 30-year-old in 2020, but he is just one year removed from winning the Defensive Player of the Year award while leading the NFL with six interceptions and 20 passes defended.
The Patriots could save $7.3 million against the cap by trading Gilmore, and there will likely be plenty of teams interested in the two-time All-Pro.