Potential Cap Casualties For All 32 Teams

One of the first steps every NFL team takes going into the offseason is to evaluate the roster top to bottom to ensure they’re allocating their cap space in the best way possible. This leads to an annual round of cuts before the start of free agency with teams releasing players they don’t think are worth the salary anymore. 

There’s little room for sentimentality, and teams can be ruthless and cold if they think it will save a buck. The flip side is this adds an influx of talent to the free agent pool. Often some of the best signings of the year are cuts from other teams. 

The Steelers, Bears and Raiders have already kicked off the process with a few cuts. Here’s a look at who else might be on the chopping block around the league:


  • Cap Space: The NFL sets a salary cap which is the maximum amount teams are allowed to spend on players. In 2024, it is projected to be around $242.5 million. To find a team’s cap space, take the salary cap number, add a team’s unspent cap space from the year before and then subtract their obligations which in the offseason are the 51 highest-paid players. Here’s a snapshot of where things currently stand, via Over The Cap
  • Dead money: Money that has already been paid to the player and is spread out over the remaining years of their contract. When a player is cut or traded, all remaining dead money on the deal “accelerates” to the current season as a charge on the salary cap. 
  • June 1 cut: An exception to how dead money normally works. For cuts and trades after June 1, teams are only responsible for the dead money from the current year with the rest accelerating to the following year. Teams can designate two players each offseason as June 1 cuts and release them before that date. 
  • Example: Player A signed a five-year deal with a $10 million signing bonus last year. The team decides to cut him after just one season. If the release is processed normally, Player A will still count $8 million in dead money against the cap. If he’s designated a June 1 cut, he counts $2 million in dead money this year and $6 million next year. 
  • Restructure: Outside of cutting a player, teams can create cap space by restructuring a player’s contract. They do this by taking their compensation and converting it into a signing bonus, spreading that sum over the remainder of the contract up to five years. That amount then becomes dead money. 


For better or worse, the 49ers are committed to their current core of players, which they’re probably content with given it was a Super Bowl-caliber roster. They’ll need to create some cap space through restructures or extensions while being cautious about which players they reduce their flexibility with in future seasons. There’s not much fat on the roster to cut. 

Greenlaw is listed here mainly because of the torn Achilles he suffered in the Super Bowl. Usually it takes six months post-surgery for players to return to the field, which could put Greenlaw back in late August. But it’s a gnarly injury. If Greenlaw weren’t such a valued starter for San Francisco and one of their tone-setters whenever he’s on the field, his outlook would be cloudier. As it is, I would guess he’s back. 

McKivitz has $1 million become guaranteed on April 1 which gives the 49ers a window if they want to upgrade and move on. However, McKivitz has positional flexibility and his cap hit would not be a burden even if he wasn’t a starter. Offensive line depth is important for teams. 

San Francisco signed Oliver last offseason to hopefully secure the starting slot corner job, but it turned into a rotating door for the 49ers. Oliver did play in all 17 games but lost the starting job by midseason. He ended up playing less than half the defensive snaps and did not see a snap on defense during the playoffs.  


Chicago has already cut both S Eddie Jackson ($12.56M) and OL Cody Whitehair ($9.15M). Jackson hung around for a couple of years but $12 million was too much savings for the Bears to turn down and it’s a deep group of free-agent safeties. Whitehair hasn’t been a great fit with the new regime and Chicago will continue to retool the offensive line. 

As for Blasingame, he’s a good role fullback and cheap, but it all depends on what new OC Shane Waldron envisions for the offense. He didn’t use a fullback much in Seattle but Blasingame is a versatile athlete who could carve out a role for himself as a pseudo-tight end or on special teams. 


I left out several veterans like DT B.J. Hill, CB Mike Hilton, C Ted Karras and G Alex Cappa who all told would save the Bengals $25 million if cut. However, all four are still playing at a reasonably high level and there are not necessarily clear upgrades waiting in the wings. For a Bengals team that still sees a wide-open window to compete in 2024, I don’t expect a huge shakeup. 

Mixon, on the other hand, should be concerned. Cincinnati leveraged him into a pay cut last summer and could save a significant chunk by cutting him this year. Running back is a lot easier to upgrade than most positions and there will likely be a plethora of options between free agency and the draft for the Bengals to consider. Mixon’s struggles in pass protection have been a point of frustration for the staff, so they could look for an opportunity to get a better all-around back in. 

That said, Mixon topped 1,000 yards last season and had his best rushing success rate since he was a rookie. His current $8.5 million cap hit in 2024 is not crazy for that kind of production. He’s due a $3 million roster bonus on March 18, so the Bengals can’t let him twist in the wind again. Word on his future will come much earlier. 

Scott didn’t pan out as well as the Bengals hoped but they will need some other players to emerge at safety to make it worth moving on from his contract. He’s still solid depth at that price. Carman has been on the bust track for a while, and if a younger player beats him out in camp, his salary will work against him. 


Buffalo has a ton of work to do on the cap this offseason to even get out of the red. They can restructure contracts for players like QB Josh Allen and knock out a chunk of their deficit, but some cuts will be impossible to avoid. 

The biggest question here is how the Bills handle their secondary. If they cut all the defensive backs listed here and didn’t re-sign pending free agents like S Micah Hyde, CB Dane Jackson or S Taylor Rapp, they would be starting virtually from scratch. Perhaps young DBs like Christian Benford and Kaiir Elam are ready to be starters but that’s a big risk for a team with championship aspirations like the Bills view themselves as. 

Of the bunch, I think Buffalo could prioritize Douglas and Poyer. Douglas’ cap hit could be lowered with an extension and Poyer would allow them to keep some experience. White tore his Achilles and also had a torn ACL in 2021, so injury concerns might tip the scale toward a release. Slot corners are usually easier to find than outside guys, so that’s a strike against Johnson unless Buffalo extends him too. 

Morse is 32 years old and has been the same solid guy for a couple years now. He’s still above average in pass protection but a liability at times in the run game who can be overpowered at the point of attack. His deal represents significant potential savings. Buffalo could cut Morse and lean on OL Ryan Bates as an insurance policy while looking for a center in the draft. 

Bills GM Brandon Beane indicated they want Hines back in 2024 after he missed the entire season due to a torn ACL in a jet ski accident. However, it’s hard to see him coming back at that number. Hines would likely be amenable to a pay cut to have a chance to show out in a contract year playing with Allen. Harty was another attempt by the Bills to add speed to their offense and special teams but if he stays in the same role he had this past year, that wouldn’t justify passing up the $4 million in savings. He and Hines are somewhat redundant together as speedy gadget players and return specialists. 


There are a bunch of big names on this list for the Broncos, and it’s not because all of them played poorly. Denver is just in a weird position with a lot of cash on the books and a need to create roster flexibility to make up for some major trades the past couple of seasons that have depleted its stock of draft picks. 

Bolles remains an above-average to solid player at a premium position, so while he’s 32 the Broncos may be more likely to pursue an extension as a means of lowering his cap hit. Simmons is still a solid player, too, earning a Pro Bowl nod and second-team AP All-Pro honors. But $14.5 million is a lot of potential savings, and replacement-level safeties aren’t hard to find. An extension for him would be riskier than for Bolles as well given he’s on the other side of 30. 

Fortunately the decisions with Jones and Patrick should be fairly cut and dried given the substantial savings and the context. Patrick is coming off a major injury and Jones is a two-down run stuffer. Things aren’t quite so simple with Sutton. He set a new career-high with 10 touchdowns last season but had only 772 yards receiving. It’ll be interesting to see if Denver shops him again and finds a taker for his $13 million base salary. To this point, the Broncos’ asking price has been too high. 

Perine is a great third-down back due to his pass protection skills but $3 million in savings is notable at the running back position and the Broncos have two other solid backs. Smith played 85 percent of the snaps on special teams but $2.5 million is on the high side for a player whose only role is in the third phase. 


The Browns don’t have many cut options that wouldn’t trigger significant dead money charges and hurt their available cap space in 2024. They’ve mortgaged out a few deals and expect them to continue to do so with other contracts. The one situation they have to address is Chubb’s contract. 

This is the business aspect of football that no one likes. Chubb embodied everything the Browns wanted from their players for years and was one of the best in the game at his position. But the season-ending knee injury he suffered last season was severe. He did the same thing in college and beat the odds to return to the field at a high level. It would frankly be a miracle for him to get back to “normal” a second time now that he’s several years older. 

Chubb has earned the right to attempt a comeback and the Browns would love for it to be with them. But there is no way he’s making nearly $12 million next year. The odds are good that the Browns and Chubb figure out some kind of pay cut that makes sense but the threat behind any pay cut is a team’s ability to fire a player. 


Tampa Bay has one more year of belt-tightening and then will be in the clear financially from the after-effects of their Super Bowl pursuit in the Brady era. They don’t have many options to clear cap space outside of restructures or extensions, with Gage the lone exception. The veteran is recovering from a torn patellar tendon and the Bucs found some younger, cheaper replacements this past season. 

The other interesting thing to watch is how the Buccaneers handle Barrett in the final year of his contract. The veteran is due a $15 million option bonus that triggers early in the coming league year. If the Buccaneers designated Barrett a June 1 cut, they would get out from under the bonus and free up just under $5 million in cap space for later this summer while leaving $9.3 million in dead money behind, plus another $17 million next year. 

Barrett’s production has fallen off a cliff the past two seasons, though there have been extenuating circumstances. Barrett tore his Achilles in 2022 and his family lost their young daughter in a tragic drowning accident in May. He’s overcome a lot and is highly regarded in the team building. This seems like a situation where both sides should be able to reach some sort of compromise on a reworked deal. 


Baker and Humphries are the headliners here. Baker just made his fifth-straight Pro Bowl and sixth overall but this most recent one might have been off of name recognition. He had no picks, no forced fumbles, no pass deflections and no sacks in 2023, which is a stark lack of splash plays. He missed five games due to injury and was also in a contract dispute with the team last offseason. It might catch people off guard, but I might be more surprised if the Cardinals turned down nearly $15 million in cap savings than if they kept Baker. At minimum, I would think Arizona negotiates some kind of way to lower his cap hit. 

Humphries’ situation is a little more complicated because he tore his ACL at the end of the season, meaning the standard rehab timeline would put his availability and health at the start of next season in question. Combined with the cap savings, there’s a good chance the Cardinals would prefer to just cut bait and look for a younger option as long as there’s not too much red tape to sort through related to injury protections or things like that. It’s a tough break for Humphries but sometimes this is how the NFL works. 

After those two, there are a number of veterans on mid-range deals who could be cut for cheaper replacements, including LB Kyzir White, C Hjalte Froholdt and G Will Hernandez. But all of them played reasonably well last season and aren’t expensive. Prater had a good season, too, but he’s 39. Arizona could bring in a kicker during the spring on face value of “keeping Prater fresh,” but if that player shows out, the Cardinals can easily go with the younger, cheaper option. Even kickers as established as Prater have limits to their job security. 


We went deep on the cap situation with the Chargers late last season, so we won’t rehash too much of that here. Essentially they need to make some big cuts to get back in the black, let alone make additions to the team. 

Linsley is retiring so his number will come off the books, but even if the Chargers cut Williams, Kendricks and Fox, they’d still need to make more moves. Mack and Allen both played well last season but are at the age where extensions become tricky, and their high base salaries make a trade complicated. Bosa is a little younger but in a similar boat due to injuries. New Chargers HC Jim Harbaugh and GM Joe Hortiz have some big decisions ahead. 

Williams and Kendricks feel like safe bets to be cut, especially since Williams is coming off a torn ACL. He could elect to take a pay cut to stay as well. Fox played well in a smaller role last year but it remains to be seen if he fits the new system. 


The Chiefs’ salary situation will look dramatically better if they pull the max restructure lever on QB Patrick Mahomes’ contract and add over $35 million in salary cap space. Most of their budget will likely come from this move, although they haven’t maxed out restructures for Mahomes in the past. They have other restructure candidates to explore as well, which is good because the Chiefs have a ton of pending free agents to budget for. 

While Valdes-Scantling came up big in the Super Bowl and playoffs after a balky regular season marred by drops, don’t expect that to change his fate. Kansas City will take the $12 million in savings and try to find a more consistent field-stretching deep threat to open up the offense. 

Omenihu played well when he was on the field, but a suspension limited him to just 11 games in 2023. Then he tore his ACL in the AFC title game, putting his availability for at least a portion of the 2024 season in serious doubt. It also happens to be a contract year for Omenihu and his deal contains a $2 million bonus that becomes guaranteed if he’s on the roster on March 16. Because of how well he played, the Chiefs could try to negotiate some kind of pay cut or extension, but they need the cap space too much to just let things sit as they are. 


In a way, the Colts were the first team to start on cap cuts by letting go of veteran LB Shaq Leonard at midseason last year. His time in Indianapolis was clearly coming to an end and the Colts had turned things over to Zaire Franklin and E.J. Speed. His deal is already off the books. 

More big changes could be considered in Indianapolis. Kelly and Smith had resurgent years in 2023 after being a big part of the Colts’ struggles in 2022 when the team bottomed out. But the catch is injuries. Smith hasn’t played a full season since 2019 and missed seven games last season, while Kelly missed three. Kelly turns 31 this year and Smith turns 28, so they’re at the age where care has to be taken with restructures or extensions. 

Both played well enough to the point where it would be considered a surprise if the Colts just up and cut either player. There aren’t super obvious replacements already on the roster either. The Colts also aren’t hard-pressed for cap space, but they do have a lot of things on their to-do list this offseason, enough to where an extra $10 million in cap space could be helpful. 

The Colts can get that in a less painful way, though. Revamping the tight end room by letting go of Alie-Cox and Granson would get them most of the way there. Granson is still on his rookie deal but qualified for the proven performance escalator to raise his base salary. Unfortunately it’s not guaranteed, and the Colts can leverage Granson into a pay cut if they don’t want to pay it. Dulin tore his ACL in August and was primarily a special teamer. 


Washington’s new regime takes over in great position with more than $70 million in cap space to reshape the roster, the most in the NFL. They can create even more, too, with a few cuts. Leno has been an okay option at left tackle but there’s plenty of room for Washington to upgrade. They might wait to cut Leno until they lock in a new left tackle, or figure out some kind of pay reduction. 

The situation with Thomas is likely more cut and dried. He was a favorite of the last staff but new OC Kliff Kingsbury will likely have his own ideas about what he wants at tight end, and that’s a notable amount of savings. 

Way’s still a very good punter but that’s a notable amount of savings if the new brass decides it wants to go young. 


The main avenues to free up cap space for the Cowboys will come from restructures and extensions, but there are a couple cuts they could make. Dallas could look to revamp its receiving corps outside of WR CeeDee Lamb this offseason as they’re otherwise short on weapons. They need to get more explosive than what Gallup offers them at this stage of his career, and fortunately there’s an out in the deal that would save them $9.5 million to use in the summer. Gallup has a $4 million injury guarantee early in the league year, so expect a resolution on that situation sooner rather than later. 

Cooks was more productive than Gallup, but he’s now gone two straight seasons without topping 1,000 yards. He’s due an $8 million salary in 2024 and Dallas would save $4 million in cap space by cutting him. Those aren’t huge numbers but the Cowboys could do better in terms of investment at receiver. 

Cutting Vander Esch doesn’t save a lot but it’s unclear if he’ll be able to resume his playing career after another neck injury, so it seems like he’ll be let go this offseason. 


Miami is one of the teams with the most work to do to balance the books this coming offseason. That will likely mean several notable names exiting, with Howard the biggest of the bunch. The veteran’s play took a step back this past season and he’s set to count nearly $26 million against the cap in 2024. The Dolphins could save $18.5 million of that by designating him a June 1 cut. It wouldn’t help them in free agency, but it would help them in the summer when there are still veteran free agents who can help teams, as well as with a potential trade addition or just rollover for the future. 

It wouldn’t help the Dolphins get under the cap by the start of the league year, so other cuts like Ogbah and Baker will be necessary. In Ogbah’s case, that’s just too much cap space to pass up for a player who’s had 6.5 sacks the past two seasons. Baker is a solid player but linebacker has been an area the Dolphins have been hoping to improve over the past couple of seasons. It will be interesting to see if Miami tries to get him to take a pay cut. 

Long signed with the team this past year but didn’t mesh with former DC Vic Fangio as well as the Dolphins hoped. There’s now a new system coming in, so if Long doesn’t fit, $4.5 million is nice chunk of savings. Riley and Crossen are primarily special teams contributors. At this point, the Dolphins might need to go dollar store hunting for those. 


The Eagles are one of the most aggressive teams in the league in terms of using void years, probably right on par with the Saints in a lot of ways. They also have already pretty much maxed out all of the possibilities for cap savings on the current roster with just a few exceptions, so what you see is what you get when it comes to their current cap space. 

The big exception is Byard, who did not quite work out as a midseason trade addition from the Titans. The Eagles don’t owe him any guarantees on the remainder of his deal and he’s an easy cut if it means saving $13 million. 

Maddox is one of just a tiny handful of players who aren’t already on minimum salaries for 2024 or rookie contracts. He’s set to make a $6.85 million base salary in 2024, none of which is guaranteed. The veteran slot corner has played just 13 of 34 possible games the past two seasons, so it seems more likely than not something is done, even just to save the cash. 

A pay cut is one possibility. Because of the work the Eagles have already done restructuring him, a pay cut could actually save them more than just releasing Maddox would. Cutting Maddox would net less than $2 million in cap savings because of the rest of the dead money accelerating to 2024. But if they just reduce his salary, they could save $5 million, give or take several hundred thousand. 

They could also use a June 1 designation, which would increase the amount to $7.1 million. However, the Eagles save those sometimes to cut ties with other veterans, and have some other candidates with C Jason Kelce and possibly DT Fletcher Cox and DE Brandon Graham coming to the end of their time in Philadelphia. 


Atlanta is in an interesting situation with Jarrett who signed a contract extension two seasons ago. There are no guarantees remaining on the veteran’s deal and while Atlanta isn’t particularly hard up for cap space this offseason, $12 million is a significant number. Jarrett turns 31 this offseason and before tearing his ACL last season he was on pace for a below-average season, at least by his usual standards. 

Situations like this are always a little more complicated with players of Jarrett’s stature, as 2024 would be his 10th season in Atlanta. If he wasn’t such an accomplished pro, there wouldn’t be much doubt about how this situation would play out. But between the injury, the salary, concerns about age-related decline and a brand-new defensive coaching staff coming in, there are a lot of reasons to think Jarrett’s status with the Falcons is tenuous. Jarrett has a $1 million roster bonus due in March which should push the Falcons to make a decision early. 

Heinicke and Smith would be far less controversial cuts. Atlanta has made it clear they plan to revamp the entire quarterback room after it was not up to snuff in 2023. Smith was a favorite of former HC Arthur Smith, and while he’s a useful role player, it’s unlikely new OC Zac Robinson feels strongly enough about his fit to sign off on paying his full salary. 

The Falcons wouldn’t save a lot by cutting Carter or Hughes, both of whom had fairly significant roles in 2023 even if they weren’t full-time starters. The big question is whether they fit the vision of the new staff. If not, those savings are a little extra perk to moving on from the Falcons’ perspective. 


While the Giants could create a notable amount of savings by moving on from both Waller and Slayton, I don’t think they will ultimately pull the trigger — at least not on Waller. Both players were seen as notable pieces to the puzzle on offense just a year ago, with Giants GM Joe Schoen trading a third-round pick for Waller and restructuring his contract while re-signing Slayton to a contract after he was the leading receiver in 2022. 

Neither had the impact New York hoped in 2023 but there were bigger problems at quarterback and on the offensive line. The Giants still need weapons for QB Daniel Jones and cutting either Waller or Slayton would mean risking a step back. That said, Slayton might be in more trouble than Waller given how many notable receivers could be available via either the draft or free agency. Slayton also has to fend off 2023 third-round WR Jalin Hyatt who could supplant him as the deep threat on offense. 

There shouldn’t be any surprises with Glowinski, who struggled to see the field even with all of the Giants’ injuries last year. It’s clear the team has soured on his fit and will jump at the chance to reinvest the savings from releasing him. 


The Jaguars are an interesting team to break down because the fuel to their success over the past two years was hitting on several big free agent signings. However, this offseason could start to show the limits of that approach. Jacksonville has a bucket of players who are some combination of older, declining or expensive who the team will need to figure out how to proceed with. 

Team leadership indicated in their comments at the end of the season that revamping the offensive line will be a big priority this offseason. The cupboard isn’t bare — the Jaguars look like they hit with last year’s first-rounder, RT Anton Harrison and Walker Little can play either left tackle or left guard in his contract year. Everything outside of that is a question mark. The Jaguars could do a lot worse than Robinson at left tackle which is why he was signed to his current extension. But they could also do better, particularly because Robinson hasn’t been able to stay on the field consistently, and $17 million is a ton of savings to work with. 

Scherff hasn’t been awful either but he’s being paid to be one of the top guards in football and he’s just not at that level anymore. Guard is also a position that is relatively easy to find competent production at an affordable rate, which is why it would make a lot of sense to move on from Scherff this offseason. The Jaguars aren’t getting bang for their buck with the way things stand right now. 

The Jaguars did get a ton of value from Williams last year who played well even as Jacksonville’s pass defense struggled. But he’s turning 31, and that’s a major concern for cornerbacks. The position is too hard and losing even a quarter of a step can turn players into a liability. Combined with the eight figures in savings, and Williams is in a tough position. 

Jenkins is another player to watch as the Jaguars look to revamp their secondary this offseason. Fatukasi wasn’t as much of a difference-maker as he was the year before but the savings from his deal aren’t huge, so the Jaguars could stand pat. Jones makes the Jaguars’ offense better when he’s on the field, but he dealt with a ton of injuries and Jacksonville is allocating a ton of money to their pass catchers between WR Christian Kirk, TE Evan Engram and WR Calvin Ridley if they re-sign him like they hope to. 


While these are ordered from most to least savings, I think they’re actually inverse from least likely to most likely to get cut. Uzomah has been cited as a positive locker room presence with multiple teams but dealt with some injuries last year and was not productive on the field. The Jets have other options at tight end who are younger, cheaper and probably could be equally as productive. 

Tomlinson has not played that well overall in the past two seasons but he’s at least been reliable. He’s the only Jets lineman to start all 34 games over the past two seasons. The Jets already need to start over at offensive tackle. Cutting Tomlinson would leave a hole at guard, so several Jets beat reporters have brought up the possibility of a pay cut. New York has had success with that strategy in the past year to get veterans on board with the chance of playing on the same team as QB Aaron Rodgers

Mosley will turn 32 in June, and while he’s a team captain, core leader and still reasonably productive, he has the highest 2024 cap hit on the team. He’s also due a $17 million base salary. The Jets added void years to his deal last offseason so they could restructure his contract and lower his cap hit. I suspect that’s the route they’ll take. For a team that views 2024 as a potential contending year, alienating Mosley would be a big risk.  


Detroit’s books are in pretty good shape. The Lions have more than $40 million available right now and the expected extension for QB Jared Goff could actually make more room on the cap in 2024 depending on how the Lions structure it. Cutting Walker and Cominsky are two other moves the Lions could execute if they want a little more space. 

In Walker’s case, a torn Achilles after he signed an extension with the Lions opened an opportunity for younger players to pass him on the depth chart. Detroit found a solid duo between Kerby Joseph and Ifeatu Melifonwu this past season. They need depth but probably not at what Walker is making, and he could get a bigger role elsewhere. 

The Lions are fans of Cominsky as a rotational player on their defensive line, but getting more talented and dynamic up front will be one of their top goals this coming offseason. He’s guaranteed $500,000 in 2024 but practically speaking that’s not worth much. If he gets pushed down the depth chart this offseason, it’ll be interesting to see if the Lions still think a $5.1 million salary is a good investment. 


Barring some kind of surprising development, this offseason will likely mark the end of the road for the Packers and Bakhtiari. Green Bay will cut the veteran to save over $20 million, which will put them back in the black this offseason and represent the bulk of their budget. Bakhtiari could look to continue his playing career but the past few years have made it clear he’s fighting an uphill battle against his own knee. 

There are a few more veterans to keep an eye on as the Packers keep moving into the next generation of players. Jones struggled with injuries but when he was on the field, he was a clear force. Packers GM Brian Gutekunst spoke positively about the chances of him being back in 2024 but Green Bay owes him $12 million and Jones will count $17 million against the cap. Both are enormous sums for a running back in today’s NFL, let alone one who’s 29. 

Last year, Jones took a $5 million pay cut to stay with the Packers and made around $10 million for the season. If he were a free agent this year, it’d be surprising to see a team offer more than what he’s slated to make from the Packers this year. Nearly all the free-agent running backs last year got somewhere between $3-$8 million, so that’s likely the starting point for the two sides in a restructure. 

Both Smith and Campbell are due roster bonuses early in the 2024 league year, so the Packers have to act fast if they want to do anything about their cap numbers. Smith is still a solid edge rusher but they have 2023 first-round OLB Lukas Van Ness ready to go behind him as the bookend across from OLB Rashan Gary. Campbell had his worst season since joining the Packers and was limited to 11 games due to injury. 

Smith is owed $12.4 million in total compensation in 2024 right now. Campbell is owed about $10.7 million. Cutting either player doesn’t create a lot of cap space, but the Packers could use June 1 designations to free up much, much more this year if they wanted — $12.4 million for Smith and $10.6 million for Campbell. It wouldn’t help them be active in free agency and Green Bay might rather take the hit this year and maximize flexibility down the road with a pending raise due for QB Jordan Love. But it’s at least an option. 


To put it bluntly, the Panthers roster is gross right now. They’re not one of those bad teams with tons of cap space because they don’t have any good players, they’re bad because they tied up too much money in bad or below-average players. This is probably among the biggest reasons the Panthers fired GM Scott Fitterer

Realistically the Panthers are stuck with a number of players who would otherwise be cut candidates because they signed deals last year that guaranteed their base salaries in 2024. The list of Panthers players who already have full or significant partial guaranteed salaries in 2024, excluding anyone still on a rookie contract, includes TE Hayden Hurst, Thomas, RB Miles Sanders, C Bradley Bozeman, DT Shy Tuttle, QB Andy Dalton, S Vonn Bell and WR Adam Thielen

Out of that group, Bell and Thielen are probably the only ones who played well enough in 2023 to be safe without the guarantees. Dalton has the benefit of being a veteran presence for young QB Bryce Young. Everyone else the Panthers will have to stick with unless it becomes clear during the summer they’re not even worth a roster spot, with the exception of Thomas who presents enough savings to consider cutting. 

Carolina’s other options for cuts don’t move the needle a ton. Releasing Woods would free up $4.5 million but he was solid and Carolina’s entire defensive coaching staff is back. Jackson was adequate at times, too, but he’s owed enough cash that it’s hard to see him back unless he’s willing to take a significant pay cut. He’s got a $4 million bonus due March 16 that he probably won’t see. 

The only other option for notable savings is Moton, who right now is scheduled to have the highest cap hit on the team at $29 million. His contract was designed to force a decision at this point in his career, as he has two more years on the deal and a $3 million roster bonus in March that is meant to prompt the Panthers to make an early decision on his status for the season rather than allowing the team leverage to force him into a pay cut. He’s owed $17.5 million in both 2024 and 2025, none of which is guaranteed. 

However, because the team has restructured his deal a couple times, the cap savings from cutting Moton would be relatively small, certainly not enough to go out and get a better right tackle. Moton is 29 and has never made a Pro Bowl, but he’s also started every single game on the right side for six seasons. That has a ton of value, especially because the Panthers want to make sure they can protect Young. For that reason, I think Carolina would prefer to restructure Moton or work out some kind of extension. 


The Patriots have tons of cap space heading into free agency this year and likely will have much, much more. Jackson is a slam-dunk cut after a midseason trade to New England didn’t stop his career from careening off the tracks. That alone is a high-leverage move, but the cuts might not stop there. 

Godchaux has signed two straight above-average free agent contracts with the Patriots and was a favorite of former HC Bill Belichick. But he’s never really filled up the stat sheet and grading services like PFF don’t rate him highly. Evidently New England has a much higher opinion of him internally, and it might help that former LB coach Jerod Mayo and DL coach DeMarcus Covington are still around as head coach and defensive coordinator. Still, $8.3 million in savings is a lot. 

Covington’s promotion could be a positive sign for players like Wise and Guy who have hung around as veteran role players the past few years. But with Belichick exerting an iron hand over personnel control, we’re about to find out which guys were truly his favorites and which guys the staff can live without, especially if it means getting younger and cheaper. 

That logic applies in the secondary too. Jones was solid when he was on the field yet again, but he didn’t have any interceptions and he turns 31 later this year. The Patriots have historically preferred to be a year early rather than a year late on making these kinds of personnel decisions, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens. 

The last note is on Board who carved out a role primarily on special teams. For years, the Patriots have dedicated far more in terms of roster spots and cap space to players who are special teams-only contributors. It was one of Belichick’s defining ethos. How does Mayo or the newly empowered front office feel about it? 

It’s also worth mentioning a couple players who aren’t here; WRs JuJu Smith-Schuster and DeVante Parker. Both have already been guaranteed their 2024 base salaries on deals authorized by Belichick last summer. So like it or not, they’re probably on the team unless they prove in the summer they’re not worth keeping another player off the roster. 


Raiders QB Jimmy Garoppolo was likely going to be cut no matter what by a Las Vegas staff that saw him as inferior to 2023 fourth-round QB Aidan O’Connell early on last season. But his two-game suspension for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing substance policy saved the Raiders an additional $11.25 million by voiding the guarantee on his 2024 base salary. Lucky for them, not so lucky for Garoppolo, who is not contesting the suspension. 

He’s probably not the last veteran player getting a pink slip. Renfrow was not a fit for former HC Josh McDaniels and his numbers didn’t improve that much even when McDaniels left. He’ll enter a decent free agent market for receivers and could do well for himself. 

The other big name to watch here is Miller. In the past, Miller has shown a ton of upside at left tackle after developing through a couple rough seasons early on. However, 2023 wasn’t his best season, and there were some intriguing developments at the end of the year. Miller missed four starts due to a shoulder, two each sandwiched around a Week 12 loss to the Chiefs. He returned in Week 16 against the Chiefs but played just two snaps and didn’t start. It was the same story the next week, though he eventually played over half the snaps. In Week 18, he was back in the starting lineup. Maybe it was just all related to the shoulder, but nearly $9 million is a notable amount of savings and Miller would also likely have trade value to a tackle-needy team. 

Raiders DC Patrick Graham remains in Las Vegas so there’s not likely to be an exodus of middle-tier veterans. The exceptions could be players who didn’t necessarily distinguish themselves, like Facyson or Tillery. The Raiders will likely be looking to upgrade at both positions this offseason. 


The Rams took their medicine on the cap last year and shed most of the bad deals on their books. They weren’t able to drop Noteboom, however, because of his guarantees. That changes this year. While the Rams will only save $5 million in cap space by cutting Noteboom, unless they use a June 1 designation, they will save $15 million in cash. Unless the two sides work out some kind of pay cut, I would expect Noteboom to be cut before the start of the league year. 

The other cut to watch for is Allen, who hasn’t been able to stay healthy and has been supplanted at center by Coleman Shelton. He’s someone to watch as well, as Shelton has a rare player option that he could exercise and become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. That would take $4 million off the Rams’ balance sheet but leave them with no centers on the roster. 


Life while budgeting around a franchise quarterback salary has begun for the Ravens, though they’re no strangers to navigating tight financial circumstances over the past few seasons and having a two-time MVP at quarterback is absolutely worth the tradeoff. Still, the Ravens have a lot of holes to try and get ahead of this offseason and will need to make smart, calculated decisions to avoid taking too big of a step back. 

One of those decisions will be easy at least. Bowser hasn’t played since 2022 due to issues with a knee injury. If he’s healthy, he could land a minimum-type deal with the Ravens since he knows the scheme. But if he’s not, there’s really no debate about cutting him to save over $5 million. 

Baltimore’s decision at tackle will be a lot more nuanced. On the left side, Stanley has just not been able to fully shake the injury issues that derailed his career after an All-Pro season in 2019. He’s started 24 of 34 possible games the past two seasons after just seven starts combined in 2021 and 2022, but his injury needs consistent maintenance and he’s not playing at the same level he was before. Stanley isn’t a liability when he’s on the field but the Ravens have to decide if he’s worth $15 million in 2024, $4 million of which is due in a roster bonus in March, with massive downside from the injury lurking. 

On the right side, Moses has been a find for Baltimore since signing a three-year, $15 million deal in 2022. He’s held down the fort at right tackle for two straight seasons. It’s his age and contract that put him in the potential danger zone. Moses is 33 and in the final year of that three-year contract with no guarantees. However, a $5.5 million base salary is a terrific deal for a starting right tackle, so as long as the Ravens don’t foresee a precipitous decline coming, I’d be surprised if they cut Moses, even if they draft a potential successor. 

The potential turnover on the interior is also going to influence what the Ravens do at tackle. Both starting guards — John Simpson and Kevin Zeitler — are on expiring deals. Simpson is the type of player the team usually lets walk for a compensatory pick. Zeitler still played at a high level in 2023 but he’s turning 34 and the Ravens will want to be careful not to trap themselves in a bad deal. 

The other player here who presents some interesting potential savings is Ricard, but he was able to carve out an important role for himself despite OC Todd Monken not having much of a history with the fullback position. An extension for the 30-year-old Ricard, who’s in the final year of his contract, could be an alternative to lower his cap hit. 


The Saints are more than $80 million over the cap for 2024, yet will likely not cut a single player for salary reasons. We went in-depth on their situation during the season, and the biggest thing that’s changed is QB Derek Carr inspired a lot more confidence with a hot finish to the season. The Saints plan to restructure his deal among many. 

Hurst is one of only a tiny handful of players on the roster who could generate notable savings if cut, and he’s far more likely to restructure or sign an extension as a valuable depth piece for New Orleans up front. 


If the Seahawks were willing to force out HC Pete Carroll, there’s no way they’re done shaking things up in Seattle. New HC Mike Macdonald will have some say in personnel, but this is GM John Schneider’s show now. He and Carroll worked together to build this roster, but Carroll had tons of influence. Now it’s just Schneider. 

The biggest area we could see a difference is with veterans. While Schneider had a big hand in bringing players like Diggs, Adams and Lockett to Seattle, the perspective of a GM is different from the perspective of a coach. For instance, coaches are worried about getting good players on the roster to execute a game plan in Week 6. General managers are worried about balancing the cap in two years or who is playing quarterback in three. Schneider and Carroll worked collaboratively and had a great relationship, but it felt like most of the times ties broke toward the head coach.

Had Carroll remained in charge, it feels more likely the Seahawks would have kept all three of Lockett, Diggs and Adams in 2024 as some of Carroll’s most valued veteran players. With just Schneider, it feels a lot more up in the air. All three have cap hits north of $20 million for this upcoming season and Seattle is currently in the red in terms of cap space this offseason. They can fix that by cutting Dissly and Money, which would have been uncontroversial cuts even under Carroll, but they’ll need more room to operate and continue adding to the team. 

All three players were still relatively productive starters but Lockett and Diggs are on the other side of 30 at positions that don’t age well. Both showed some signs of decline in 2023. Adams is just 28 but he has the injury history of a much older player and the Seahawks have struggled to find a role that suits him since acquiring him in an ill-fated blockbuster deal. Macdonald is exactly the type of coach who could maximize Adams, it’s just a question of whether that’s worth keeping his deal on the books. 

The other complicating factor is those three players account for more than $50 million in dead money if cut, $40 million of that for just Lockett and Adams alone. Seattle can use June 1 designations on Lockett and Adams to spread that out between this year and 2025 but that doesn’t help them if they want to be active in free agency in March. 

  • Lockett: $17 million savings if cut post-June 1
  • Adams: $16.5 million savings if cut post-June 1

Ultimately the decision here likely comes down to how confident the Seahawks feel about replacing those three or how worried they are about further decline in production. 

A couple other levers the Seahawks could pull for cap space include the deals for Reed and Bellore. Reed was solid in his return to Seattle after two seasons away but his fit will depend on the vision Macdonald has for him in a new system. Bellore’s primary utility is on special teams and new OC Ryan Grubb didn’t really use a fullback in his system in college. 


Pittsburgh got most of the way toward getting back into the black for their 2024 books by cutting Trubisky and Okorafor. Releasing Robinson is the last big obvious move to get the Steelers under the cap. From there, the rest of their moves have tradeoffs to be considered. 

Overall, the Steelers have a ton of middle-class veterans on the roster who by themselves aren’t taking up an onerous amount of cap space, but together as a group represent a significant investment. Pittsburgh must comb through the roster and evaluate where they can get both better and cheaper. 

Daniels represents the second-highest potential savings. However, he’s still only 27 and played reasonably well this past season. He’s in the final year of his deal so an extension could be a way to save cap space without creating a hole to fill on the offensive line. 

Cole didn’t play as well and Herbig is a backup. The Steelers likely would want to ensure they had a replacement lined up for Cole before outright moving on but center is a spot to watch. Herbig’s cap number is high for a backup but the Steelers have indicated they put a high value on having reliable depth on the offensive line, so perhaps he’s targeted for an extension. He’s also just 26. 

On defense, Ogunjobi and Peterson are two notable names who represent significant potential savings if cut. That would magnify the Steelers’ needs on both the defensive line and the secondary but they likely will be looking to address those positions anyway. Ogunjobi is turning 30, had a career-low 30 tackles for loss last year and while he played all 17 games, he has some injuries he’s managing. Peterson is 34 and the team has been mulling a full-time switch to safety, which would impact Kazee and Neal. I would guess Peterson is the more likely of the two to stay, perhaps with some kind of reworked deal. 

At linebacker, both Holcomb and Roberts are candidates to be leveraged into a pay cut if they’re not outright released in the coming weeks. The Steelers need to get better at linebacker and both players have some injury questions — with Holcomb’s the more serious ones. In fact, his knee injury was so bad the Steelers could just go ahead and cut him and revisit things when he’s healthy. 

I did not list Steelers DL Cameron Heyward here but his situation is worth discussing a little bit. Heyward turns 35 this year and was limited to 11 games last season because of a core muscle injury. It was initially supposed to keep him out longer, but he fought through a lot to get back on the field even if he was diminished from the force he had been in previous years. In 2024, Heyward has the second-highest cap hit on the team and is owed $16 million in salary for the final year of his contract, none of which is guaranteed. 

All of that would be saved with a release, and $16 million is a ton of cap space. The Steelers could also create space with an extension, but that’s a bit of tricky proposition for Heyward and the team at this stage of his career. It still feels like Heyward is too important to the team to just cut, and while Heyward admitted he’ll think about retirement this offseason, it didn’t feel like he was ready to call it quits. So overall, it feels like there’s a better chance than not he’s back but it’s not necessarily guaranteed. 


Houston is in a great spot to build on its unexpected success in 2023 by patching the remaining holes on the roster in free agency. Cutting Woods would push the team over the $60 million mark in cap space and provide an opportunity to get more dynamic at his slot receiver position. That said, the team already guaranteed him $1.5 million for 2024 and likes what he brings as a veteran mentor, so a pay cut to stick around and be a part of a team on the rise could be appealing for both sides. 

Outside of that, there’s not much dead weight on the Texans’ roster. The only other name to watch is Stewart, who played just eight games in 2023 due to a season-ending shoulder injury. However, he’s experienced, doesn’t cost much and knows the system. Even as a backup at safety, Stewart’s potentially worth keeping around. 


The Titans have the second-most projected cap space in the league heading into this offseason, so they might not make any cap cuts at all. There aren’t many bad deals with outs available and there’s no driving urgency for cap space. The option with the most potential savings is cutting Hopkins, who has an $18 million cap hit in 2024 but no guarantees. Hopkins has a roster bonus due in March to prompt an early decision from the Titans on his status. 

However, Hopkins was a valuable target for QB Will Levis last season. He wasn’t the same player he was at his peak but he was still reliable in contested situations and topped 1,000 yards on the season with seven touchdowns. Tennessee doesn’t want to make the mistake the Panthers did of not giving their young passer enough weapons to succeed, so they’re likely incentivized to keep Hopkins. 

For the player’s part, he signed a two-year deal. Even if Hopkins would rather be playing for a contender, he’s being well-compensated in Tennessee. So far it seems like he’s fine with that and there haven’t been any agitations for a change of scenery so far. 

One deal that Tennessee could look to exit early is Dillard’s. He signed last year on a three-year, $29 million deal with the Titans hoping he could turn spurts of solid play from his days with the Eagles into consistency on the blind side. Instead, Dillard was a big part of the Titans’ struggles on the offensive line, and they enter this offseason with left tackle as a major need. Most of the early mock drafts have them going in that direction with the No. 7 pick. 

Dillard already got $3 million of his 2024 base salary guaranteed when he signed his deal, and another $3 million becomes guaranteed at the start of the league year in mid-March. The Titans could save a couple of million by cutting him before that but they potentially leave themselves in a tricky spot if they don’t end up taking a tackle in the first round. Cutting Dillard would also be a tacit admission by Titans GM Ran Carthon that the signing was a massive mistake, and sometimes front office executives aren’t keen on doing that. I could see the Titans talking themselves into giving Dillard one more year to try and figure things out, as they aren’t hard-pressed for cap space either way. 


If I had to rank the GMs who are going to be spending the most on headache medication this offseason, Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah would definitely be in the top five. Minnesota has to figure out how to do more with less this offseason. They’re not picking high enough to secure a clear-cut replacement for QB Kirk Cousins in the draft and the cost to trade up that high would be steep — if there are even any willing sellers. Cousins has never cut a deal with a team that’s not in his favor, so the Vikings have to balance wanting to keep him with figuring out how to budget for his deal plus a massive deal for WR Justin Jefferson while navigating significant dead money hits from players like OLB Danielle Hunter. Oh yeah, and they still have major personnel issues on defense to solve after that. 

That’s why one way or another Smith is not coming back to the Vikings in 2024 on his current salary. There’s some buzz the veteran could retire but if he doesn’t, Minnesota will either cut him or work out another pay cut for dramatically less than the $15 million he’s scheduled to make now. 

The cuts might not stop there. At times, Phillips was the only defensive lineman the Vikings felt comfortable putting out on the field. However, his deal presents a notable opportunity for savings and his production is not irreplaceable. The savings from cutting Lowry are more minimal but the same dynamic is true. The Vikings will be on the lookout for ways to get the same or better production that they had in 2023 at a cheaper rate in 2024.

Looking for the latest NFL Insider News & Rumors?

Be sure to follow NFL Trade Rumors on TWITTER and FACEBOOK for breaking NFL News and Rumors for all 32 teams!

Leave a Reply