With the 2017 season now a quarter through, we’ll take a quick look across rosters to generate an early list of players who may be trending toward the roster bubble next spring, including the cost to release/trade each player.
Mike Glennon, 27, Bears
2018 Cap: $16,000,000
The Bears handed Glennon $18.5M guaranteed prior to their draft day splash trade for Mitchell Trubisky. This includes a $2.5M roster bonus for 2018, accounting for $4.5M in total dead cap next year. The Bears can clear $11.5M in cap by moving on.
Ben Roethlisberger, 36, Steelers
2018 Cap: $23,200,000
Ben hinted at retirement this past offseason, and with a bit of a slow start from the Steelers in 2017, it’s safe to put his future in question going forward. He holds $12,400,000 in dead cap next spring, which would result in $10.8M in savings per a trade/release/retirement.
Eli Manning, 37, Giants
2018 Cap: $22,200,000
The 0-5 Giants may be headed toward the top of the 2018 Draft, and in doing so may be in for a major rebuild. This could include moving on from Manning, whose trade/release prior to the 3rd league day of 2018 would result in $9.8M in cap savings ($12.4M dead cap).
Alex Smith, 34, Chiefs
2018 Cap: $20,600,000
It seems ridiculous to place the QB of the best team in football and a legitimate MVP candidate on a roster bubble list, but the Chiefs drafting Patrick Mahomes #10 overall can’t be ignored. Smith holds just $3.6M in dead cap prior to the 3rd league day of 2018, representing a savings of $17M per his trade/release.
Tyrod Taylor, 28, Bills
2018 Cap: $18,080,000
The Bills’ future remains a bit of a mystery based on this past offseason’s draft and subsequent trades. Their decision on Taylor will come early, as a $6M roster bonus fully guarantees on the 3rd league day. He holds $8.64M in dead cap until then, representing $9.44M in potential savings.
Chris Ivory, 29, Jaguars
2018 Cap: $7,000,000
With Leonard Fournette quickly taking over the reigns in Jacksonville, Ivory’s $7M cap hit should prove much to rich to move forward with. He holds $3M in dead cap in 2018, representing a $4M cap clear if released/traded.
Matt Forte, 31, Jets
2018 Cap: $4,000,000
Forte has battled injuries and a fight for snaps with Bilal Powell taking the reigns. The $3M to be saved ($1M dead cap) if release/traded will likely be valuable to the Jets continued rebuild.
Jonathan Stewart, 30, Panthers
2018 Cap: $5,250,000
While Stewart has proven to be the go-to option between the tackles in Carolina (when healthy), it seems unlikely the Panthers will keep both Stewart at $5.25M, and Christian McCaffrey at nearly $4M in 2018. With $3.75M to be saved from Stewart, he finds himself on the early bubble.
Kenny Britt, 30, Browns
2018 Cap: $8,125,000
Through 4 games, Britt stands on pace to catch 32 balls for under 500 yards, production that doesn’t draw near his looming $8.125M cap hit. The Browns will be on the hook for $4.875M in dead cap for his release, but will save $3.25M in doing so.
Brandon Marshall, 33, Giants
2018 Cap: $6,500,000
Marshall was almost non-existent amidst the Giants offense before his season-ending injury in Week 5, putting his $6.5M cap hit and status in 2018 on the bubble. With the Giants likely headed for a rebuild, the $5.5M in cap to be saved here seems to make sense.
Marvin Jones, 27, Lions
2018 Cap: $8,600,000
While Jones posted nearly 1,000 yards in 2016, his role appears to be diminished to start the 2017 campaign. Should his production continue to decline, the Lions may opt for the $3.8M ($7M post June 1st), savings to move on from him next spring.
Randall Cobb, 28, Packers
2018 Cap: $12,750,000
Cobb’s battled injuries and a bit of a drop in production over the past season+, making his $12.75M cap hit next year – the final of his current contract – questionable. Add in the need to extend Davante Adams to a likely $10M+ contract and Green Bay will likely need to part ways with one of their current WR pieces. The Packers can clear a strong $9.5M in cap space by moving on.
Markus Wheaton, 26, Bears
2018 Cap: $5,750,000
The Bears took on chance on Wheaton with a 2 year deal this past spring, but he’s done little thus far to lock in his roster spot for next season. Chicago can clear $5M in cap by releasing him.
Julius Thomas, 29, Dolphins
2018 Cap: $6,600,000
Thomas was traded to the Dolphins after busting out of Jacksonville, but has done little to find stable ground in Miami. The Dolphins can clear his entire $6.6M cap per a release/trade next year.
Eric Ebron, 24, Lions
2018 Cap: $5,194,000
The Lions exercised Ebron’s 5th-year option for 2018, but it won’t become fully guaranteed until the start of the league year. It’s looking increasingly likely that he won’t be a member of the Lions by then.
Jason Witten, 35, Cowboys
2018 Cap: $6,500,000
Witten holds no guaranteed money or dead cap with the Cowboys after the 2017 season, meaning his $6.5M cap figure for 2018 is all or nothing. Dallas may look to get cheaper here going forward.
Dion Sims, 26, Bears
2018 Cap: $6,333,333
Sims’ current role with the Bears provides very little production for him, making his $6.3M cap figure a bit rich. Chicago can walk away from this deal prior to the 3rd league day of 2018 for just $666,667 in dead cap ($5.6M in savings).
Brent Celek, 32, Eagles
2018 Cap: $5,000,000
The increasing role/production of Zach Ertz combined with age + money puts Celek and his $5M cap figure on notice. The Eagles will take on a $1M dead cap hit per his release/trade.
Dwayne Allen, 27, Patriots
2018 Cap: $5,000,000
Allen doesn’t appear to have settled into a role with the complicated Patriots’ offense. With no guaranteed money or dead cap remaining on his deal after 2017, New England will likely prefer the $5M in cleared cap space.
Jared Veldheer 31, Cardinals
2018 Cap: $10,250,000
Veldheer’s production on the line has been slightly decreasing over the course of the past 3 seasons. But his 2017 campaign has been a bit of a disaster thus far. Arizona will be on the hook for $3.25M in dead cap by releasing him next year, but will garner $7M in savings for doing so.
Duane Brown, 32, Texans
2018 Cap: $9,750,000
Currently holding out for contractual reasons, the Texans don’t appear ready to cave in anytime soon. However Houston may cut ties after 2017 in order to clear the $9.75M in cap off their table as they look to fill holes.
Mike Iupati, 31, Cardinals
2018 Cap: $9,700,000
Arizona recently sent the struggling Iupati to the IR, putting his future in question. He holds cap figures of $9.7M in both 2018 and 2019, and can be cut loose after 2017 for a $3.4M dead cap hit ($1.7M if designated post June 1st).
James Carpenter, 29, Jets
2018 Cap: $6,805,000
Carpenter’s had back-to-back strong seasons for the Jets, but is off to a rough start in 2017. While the Jets will have plenty of cap space to deal with, the potential $4.7M in savings to release Carpenter after 2017 may be inviting.