Bubble Quarterbacks & Dead Money

Bubble Quarterbacks & Dead Money
Active NFL Quarterbacks & Dead Money

Active Quarterbacks & Dead Money

As the 2012 NFL season winds down, rumors are quickly spreading about quarterbacks that potentially have overstayed their welcome. This brings into question the reality of getting out of a player's current contract by way of release, and just how much of a financial hit the team will take. This hit is referred to as "dead money".

What is dead money?
In short, dead money can be defined as money that the current team will accrue against their salary cap by releasing a particular player. This generally includes guaranteed base salaries, or pro-rated signing/option bonuses for upcoming seasons.

How does dead money count?
If a player is released on or before June 1st, all of the dead money counts against the team's upcoming salary cap.
If a player is released after June 1st, the dead money can be split over two season's salary caps.

Spotrac takes a look at quarterbacks who are rumored to be on the trade block, or receiving pink slips this offseason and their current dead money value.

Bubble Quarterbacks Current Dead Money
Team Quarterback Dead Money if Cut thoughts
Arizona Cardinals Kevin Kolb $6,000,000 Kolb has a $2 million roster bonus due the 5th day of 2013 that will raise this number to $8M.
Arizona Cardinals Ryan Lindley $78,981 This is a no--brainer
Buffalo Bills Ryan Fitpatrick $10,000,000 Has a $3 million roster bonus due the 2nd day of 2013 that will raise this number to $13M.
Carolina Panthers Jimmy Clausen $326,800 0 value, minimal cut cost.
Cleveland Browns Colt McCoy $187,750 It's not likely that McCoy makes it through the transition in Cleveland this time. Especially if Weeden doesn't.
Cleveland Browns Brandon Weeden $6,041,500 It's likely he'll get another year, but an entirely new front-office may decide to clear the pallette.
Jacksonville Jaguars Blaine Gabbert $7,071,881 It's time.
Jacksonville Jaguars Chad Henne $1,500,000 He's really struggled down the stretch and may become a roster casualty linked to Gabbert and this whole "era".
Kansas City Chiefs Matt Cassel $3,950,000 Cassel was GM Scott Pioli's big get. Pioli won't be back, and neither should his worst decision.
Minnesota Vikings Christian Ponder $6,002,867 It's been rumored that the offense isn't geling on the field or in the locker room. Is Ponder where it starts?
Minnesota Vikings Joe Webb $23,128 Is he worth a look somewhere else?
New York Jets Mark Sanchez $17,153,125 Trade is the only option this offseason. And they'll be asked to pay a ton of his 2013 salary anyway.
New York Jets Tim Tebow $1,055,000 It's not likely he's got trade value right now - especially without playing time.
Oakland Raiders Carson Palmer $7,783,334 With base salaries of $13M, and $15M left this is an untradeable contract.
Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick $7,200,000 Salaries left: $15.5M, $15M, $14.5M. He'll be a free agent sometime this summer.
San Diego Chargers Philip Rivers $6,310,000 It seems crazy that he's fallen this far this fast. But new GM, new coach, reasonable dead $?
San Francisco 49ers Alex Smith $0 He's owed $1M on league day 3 and $7.5M salary is guaranteed on 4/1/2013.
Seattle Seahawks Matt Flynn $6,000,000 It's possible he's one of the leftovers still with trade value.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Josh Freeman $1,330,000 He holds a $9.76M cap hit in his final year. That's a big number for a maybe.
Tennessee Titans Matt Hasselbeck $2,000,000 His $7.5M cap hit for 2013 isn't unbearable, but it could be considered too high for a veteran backup who shouldn't see the field barring injury to Locker from here out.
Stable Quarterbacks Current Dead Money
Team Quarterback Dead Money if Cut Contract End year
Atlanta Falcons Matt Ryan $0 2013
Baltimore Ravens Joe Flacco $0 2012
Carolina Panthers Cam Newton $13,014,795 2014
Chicago Bears Jay Cutler $1,400,000 2013
Cincinnati Bengals Andy Dalton $1,146,072 2014
Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo $5,728,000 2013
Denver Broncos Peyton Manning $0
($40 million if 2013 physical is passed)
Detroit Lions Matthew Stafford $19,361,250 2015
Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers $0 2014
Houston Texans Matt Schaub $21,250,000 2016
Indianapolis Colts Andrew Luck $18,074,454 2015
Miami Dolphins Ryan Tannehill $7,447,500 2015
New England Patriots Tom Brady $33,850,000 2014
New Orleans Saints Drew Brees $29,600,000 2016
New York Giants Eli Manning $15,848,500 2015
Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger $16,585,000 2015
St. Louis Rams Sam Bradford $22,785,000 2015
Tennessee Titans Jake Locker $7,437,183 2014
Washington Redskins Robert Griffin III $17,249.508 2015