The Cost to Cut or Trade a 2015 Starting QB

The Cost to Cut or Trade a 2015 Starting QB
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The Cost to Cut or Trade a 2015 Starting QB

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As the 2014 regular season begins to wind down, many franchises are already "looking ahead to next year". We'll begin to do so as well, by projecting the starting quarterback for each of the 32 NFL teams. We'll assess each player's 2015 salary cap figure, the dead cap left behind should the player be released, and the dead cap left behind should the player be traded. In many instances, additional dead money kicks in at some point during the offseason, which we've identified in our "notes" column.

Related: Ranking all 2015 Quarterback Salary Cap Figures

2015 QB Salary & Dead Cap Figures
10 quarterbacks currently carry more than $20M in dead cap heading into the 2015 season. In most cases, this includes a great deal of guaranteed base salary, meaning the current team can avoid this dead cap hit by trading the player instead of releasing him. With $42M, Tom Brady is set to be the leader in the club house, as his 2015, 2016, and 2017 salaries all become fully guaranteed if he's on the Patriots roster at the end of 2014 (obviously). Outside of Brady, the safest QB in football may be Joe Flacco, who carries a huge dead cap figure, and consistent production into 2015.
2015 QB Team 2015 Cap Dead $ if Cut Dead $ if Traded Notes
Carson Palmer  ARI $14,500,000 $20,500,000 $19,500,000 Includes a $9.5M roster bonus and $1M salary that g'tees on 2/6/15.
Matt Ryan ATL $19,500,000 $33,900,000 $26,400,000
Joe Flacco BAL $14,550,000 $36,400,000 $36,400,000 Baltimore can avoid a $7M option bonus by releasing him early this offseason.
Kyle Orton BUF $7,000,000 $1,500,000 $1,500,000 Orton can void 2015 within 5 days from Super Bowl
Cam Newton CAR $14,666,666 $0 $0 Fully guarantees start of league year (March 2015).
Jay Cutler CHI $16,500,000 $29,500,000 $4,000,000 Includes $10M of his 2016 that g'tees in March 2015.
Andy Dalton CIN $9,600,000 $9,600,000 $9,600,000 Additional $4M roster bonus vests 3/2015
Johnny Manziel CLE $1,874,620 $5,203,860 $3,239,235
Tony Romo DAL $27,773,000 $37,408,000 $29,908,000 Includes $7.5M 2015 salary that g'tees on 3rd league day. Restructure likely.
Peyton Manning DEN $21,500,000 $24,000,000 $5,000,000 2015 salary ($19M) g'tees end of 2014
Matthew Stafford DET $17,721,250 $27,221,250 $19,221,250
Aaron Rodgers GB $18,250,000 $29,450,000 $29,450,000 Includes a $9.5M roster bonus that g'tees 1st league day
Ryan Fitzpatrick HOU $3,875,000 $625,000 $625,000
Andrew Luck IND $6,029,454 $13,063,817 $7,259,272 Extension likely.
Blake Bortles JAC $4,694,275 $16,899,390 $10,006,260
Alex Smith KC $15,600,000 $40,400,000 $14,400,000 Includes 2015 & 16 salaries ($26M) that g'tee on 3rd league day
Ryan Tannehill MIA $4,030,364 $4,030,364 $1,913,364
Teddy Bridgewater MIN $1,556,705 $4,250,115 $2,490,192
Tom Brady NE $13,000,000 $42,000,000 $18,000,000 2015-17 salaries ($24M) become fully guaranteed at the end of 2014
Eli Manning NYG $19,750,000 $2,250,000 $2,250,000 Restructured extension possible.
Geno Smith NYJ $1,368,983 $2,107,965 $1,522,965  
Drew BreesNO $26,400,000 $14,800,000 $14,800,000 Additional salary guarantees at an undisclosed date. Restructure likely.
Derek Carr OAK $1,220,863 $2,334,236 $1,670,073
Nick Foles PHI $815,880 $135,880 $135,880
Ben Roethlisberger PIT $18,395,000 $6,795,000 $6,795,000 Restructured extension possible.
Philip Rivers SD $17,416,668 $1,666,667 $1,666,667 Restructured extension possible.
Russell Wilson SEA $953,519 $154,868 $154,868 Extension likely.
Colin Kaepernick SF $17,265,753 $9,963,012 $9,963,012 $12.4M salary fully g'tees on 4/1/15
Sam Bradford  STL $16,580,000 $3,595,000 $3,595,000 Restructure likely.
Zach Mettenberger TEN $541,279 $93,837 $93,837
Josh McCown TB $5,250,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000 Restructure likely.
Robert Griffin III WAS $6,719,713 $6,719,713 $3,449,836 Trade block possible.

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