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.
|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.|
|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|