2022 NFL Roster Bubble Candidates

2022 NFL Roster Bubble Candidates

As NFL franchises prepare their 2022 roster for the upcoming March 16th league year start, we'll take a last minute look at players who could be on the roster bubble for a variety of reasons. These candidates vary from potential retirement, trade, or outright releases in the coming weeks or months.


Arizona Cardinals

Jordan Hicks (LB, 31)
Hicks has a $250,000 roster bonus due March 19th, so a quick release seems likely. The move frees up $6.5M of cap.

Jordan Phillips (DT, 30)
Phillips’ $13.3M cap hit is a problem, but with $9.2M of dead cap against it, a Post June 1st release may be the only viable way out. That designation frees up $10M of 2022 space.

Justin Pugh (G, 31)
With just a $2M of dead cap against an $11.8M cap figure, moving on from Pugh means $9.8M cleared.

Matt Prater (K, 37)
There’s $3.5M to be saved here if the Cardinals want to explore a cheaper option.


Atlanta Falcons

Mike Davis (RB, 29)
If he’s pegged to be the RB1, the $3.25M cap hit is good value. But there’s $2.5M of cap to be freed up here otherwise.

Calvin Ridley (WR, 27)
Safe to say Atlanta would love him back, but if Ridley wants a change of scenery, the Falcons can free up $11.1M of cap and cash to trade him this offseason.

Grady Jarrett (DT, 28)
The contract poses a problem for Atlanta, with a $23.8M cap figure in the final year. An extension keeps him around and lowers the hit, but it’s possible the Falcons listen to trade offers this spring. Doing so would leave behind $7.3M of dead cap, freeing up $16.5M.


Baltimore Ravens

Alejandro Villanueva (OT, 33)
Still viable, but with $6M to be freed up, it stands to reason that Baltimore will look elsewhere.

Marcus Peters (CB, 29)
Enters a contract year with a $15.5M cap hit and just $5.5M of dead cap against it. He’s a trade option before a release candidate.

Sam Koch (P, 39)
The Ravens can free up $2.1M if they move on from their longtime vet.


Buffalo Bills

Cole Beasley (WR, 32)
The targets and catches remained the same, but Beasley’s yardage and touchdowns took a nose dive in 2021. There’s a $500,000 roster bonus due March 20th that could become a “deadline” for his 2022 status. Buffalo can free up $6.1M to cut or trade him prior to this date.

Jon Feliciano (G, 30)
Feliciano was extended a year ago, but there’s an “out” on this deal prior to a $500,000 March 20th roster bonus. Buffalo can open up $3.4M of cap space with an early release.

Cody Ford (G, 25)
Moving on means $1.5M of added cap space.

Star Lotulelei (DT, 32)
As part of a restructure last year, the Bills guaranteed $2.5M of Lotuleilei’s 2022 base salary. That may not stop them from moving on this March. Designating Star a Post June 1st release frees up $4.1M (after June 1st).

A.J. Klein (LB, 30)
Klein has value on this roster, and a paycut could be in order if agreed upon, but an outright release frees up $5.1M.

Matt Haack (P, 27)
Moving on means freeing up $1.2M of cap.


Carolina Panthers

Sam Darnold (QB, 24)
With $18.8M guaranteed on the books, an outright release seems out of the question here, but some form of “split-salary” trade isn’t crazy.

Christian McCaffrey (RB, 25)
McCaffrey’s role needs to change to keep him active more consistently, and a move to a contender could help reshape his career before it’s too late. Contractually this would need to happen post June 1st for Carolina’s dead cap purposes. A late trade frees up $8.6M.


Chicago Bears

Cody Whitehair (OL, 29)
Whitehair is useful, but the contract gets mildly expensive from here out. He’ll need to be designated a post 6/1 release for cap purposes, a move that will eventually free up $8M of cap.

Eddie Goldman (DT, 28)
The guarantees on this contract are long gone, and there’s $6.6M to be freed up with an early release.

Danny Trevathan (LB, 31)
With $9M of dead cap against a $5.7M cap hit, a Post June 1st release seems the only out option here. Doing so eventually frees up $3.3M.

Eddie Jackson (S, 29)
Even a Post June 1st release only frees up $6.1M of Jackson’s $15M cap hit (with an early release only clearing $1.5M). The Bears probably want to move on, but it won’t do much for their cap table.

Khalil Mack (OLB, 31)
There’s a $5.5M roster bonus due March 18th, and $24M dead cap against a $30M cap hit for 2022. Another restructure seems more likely than a trade away.


Cincinnati Bengals

Trae Waynes (CB, 29)
With almost $11M to be freed up in moving on, this is a slam dunk move.

Trey Hopkins (C, 29)
Plenty of changes are forthcoming to this offensive line in 2022. With $6M to be cleared from Hopkins’ contract year, he’s an early release candidate.


Cleveland Browns

Jarvis Landry (WR, 29)
Holds just $1.5M of dead cap against a $16.3M cap hit, but probably finds his way to a restructure versus an outright release.

Austin Hooper (TE, 27)
With no guarantees remaining, Cleveland simply has to maneuver the dead cap trail to get out of this one. A Post June 1st release frees up $9.5M ($2M if before).


Dallas Cowboys

Amari Cooper (WR, 27)
With $6M of dead cap against a $22M cap hit, the speculation will continue in Dallas. His $20M salary fully guarantees on March 20th, but that won’t scare away trade offers if the Cowboys are looking for them.

Blake Jarwin (TE, 27)
Jarwin could give way to a new Dalton Schultz contract in the coming weeks. There’s $3.8M to be freed up with an early release.

DeMarcus Lawrence (DE, 29)
Still highly productive, but might be a true cap casualty this March. An early trade frees up $8M of cap (but offers compensation in return), while a Post June 1st release means $19M saved this spring.

Greg Zuerlein (K, 34)
Will Dallas get younger and cheaper here? There’s $2.4M of needed space to be opened up if so.


Denver Broncos

Daesean Hamilton (WR, 26)
The WR room in Denver is talented and crowded. There’s $2.1M to be opened up here.

Mike Purcell (DT, 30)
Purcell holds $1.5M of dead cap against a $4.3M hit. This is an upgrade watch spot for Denver.

Sam Martin (P, 32)
Denver can free up $2.25M if they move on from the veteran punter.


Detroit Lions

Trey Flowers (OLB, 28)
Oft-injured and wildly unproductive, a Flowers release frees up over $10M early, and $16M after June 1.


Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers (QB, 38)
A pre June 1 trade means $26.8M of dead cap, $19.8M saved. A retirement list placement (if applicable) will likely be held until after June 1st, meaning $27.5M saved this year.

Randall Cobb (WR, 31)
Moving on here means $6.7M free up.

Billy Turner (RT, 30)
Enters a contract year with $4.9M of dead cap against a $9.1M hit. Green Bay needs the $4.2M difference here.

Za'Darius Smith (OLB, 29
One of the Smiths is on the bubble here, but a Za’Darius release opens up more than $15.2M.

Mason Crosby (K, 37)
The long-time Packer might need a paycut to stick for 2022. There’s $2.4M to be saved with an outright early release.


Houston Texans

Deshaun Watson (QB, 26)
The 2022 salary is already fully guaranteed (until he’s suspended), but the Texans hold just $16.2M of trade dead cap on this contract. A pre June 1st trade frees up $24.2M, while anything after opens up $35M.

Brandin Cooks (WR, 28)
Enters a contract year with $7.5M of dead cap against a $16.2M hit. If Houston can garner the proper compensation, they’ll likely take the $8.7M to be saved in order to send him to a better situation.

Laremy Tunsil (OT, 27)
Tunsil becomes the third notable player rumored in trades this offseason, despite a massive trade haul to bring him in 3 years ago, and $40M paid out the last two seasons. Houston would free up $9.5M of cap with an early trade.


Indianapolis Colts

Carson Wentz (QB, 29)
Wentz has a $5M roster bonus that locks in March 18th, to go along with $15M of salary already fully guaranteed. Can they find a trade partner this offseason? Will they need to pay down some of that $20M to get him out the door? Is there a viable replacement in mind? Plenty of unknowns.


Jacksonville Jaguars

Chris Manhertz (TE, 29)
He’s a solid contributor, and the $4M cap hit doesn’t scare anyone (especially with $1M of salary fully guaranteed), but Jacksonville may look to add a significant upgrade to this position in March. A release frees up $1.9M.

Carlos Hyde (RB, 31)
Moving on at any point this offseason frees up $1.9M.


Kansas City Chiefs

Frank Clark (DE, 28)
Plenty of options on the table here, but getting out from under this contract probably makes sense to start the process. A Pre June 1st release/trade frees up $13.4M. Any type of Post June 1st move opens up $19.85M.


Las Vegas Raiders

Clelin Ferrell (DE, 24)

Ferrell holds a fully guaranteed $4.7M salary for 2022, with a $9.9M cap figure to boot. While a trade would certainly be ideal, an outright release seems more likely here, even if it won't free up any cap space.


Denzel Perryman (LB, 29)
There’s a $1.8M roster bonus due March 18th, but a release prior to that frees up $3M.

Denzelle Good (G, 30)
He’s a fringe bubble player heading into March, but there’s $4.1M to be freed up here.


Los Angeles Chargers

Bryan Bulaga (OT, 32)

Bulaga's production as dipped since joining the Chargers from Green Bay in 2020, and back injury has limited his ability to help the squad down the stretch this season. He holds a $14M cap hit in 2022, with $10.75M to be freed up should LA move on.


Los Angeles Rams

Andrew Whitworth (OT, 40)
This is all about a possible retirement, as the ageless wonder would be welcomed back if possible. If he decides to hang them up, LAR frees up $16M of cap space.

A'Shawn Robinson (DT, 26)
Still a very productive player, Robinson finds himself here because he's one of the only contracts on the Rams' roster with a sizable 2022 cap hit, and decent savings if moved on from. A simple base restructure is a more likely solution here (especially with a $1M roster bonus already fully guaranteed), but there's $5.5M of cap space to be freed up if LA moves on.


Miami Dolphins

Jesse Davis (RT, 30)
Davis has played nearly every snap for the 2021 Dolphins, but there are likely to be plenty of changes on the Dolphins’ O-Line this winter. Miami can free up $3.6M of cap by moving on.

Adam Butler (DT, 28)
Butler has limited production despite a starting role on the Dolphins D-Line. The $3.75M to be saved is better used elsewhere.


Minnesota Vikings

Kirk Cousins (QB, 33)
With 1 year, $35M (fully guaranteed) left, this is still a very tradable contract, and it stands to reason that a few calls could be made in that regard. Minnesota would take on $10M of dead cap with a trade away, freeing up $35M of cap and cash in the process.

Adam Thielen (WR, 31)
Thielen’s contract is out of upfront guarantees, but there’s still $11.1M of dead cap against a $16.8M hit. Another restructure is most likely, but if trade offers come in there’s a chance that move is made.

Danielle Hunter (DE, 27)
Hunter missed the entire 2020 season (neck), and half of 2021 (torn pec), with injuries so there's a long road ahead still. Factor in a $26.12M cap hit for 2022 (thanks to an $18.5M roster bonus), and it's a certainty that something is forthcoming with the edge rusher's contract. At this point, a trade then restructure still seems feasible, a move that would leave $7.4M of dead cap with Minnesota, freeing up $18.64M of cap space.


New England Patriots

N'Keal Harry (WR, 24)
Harry is averaging 1 reception per game in 2021, and has only found the end zone 4 times in 3 years. Only $674k of his 2022 salary is fully guaranteed, meaning $1.8M of cap/cash can be cleared per his release.

Jake Bailey (P, 24)
Bailey is too good to move on from, but his $4M cap hit against just $72k of dead cap can be reworked. An extension that lowers the 2022 figure makes a ton of sense.


New Orleans Saints

Malcolm Jenkins (FS, 34)
Jenkins still has games left in him, but the Saints will need to be creative with their financials yet again in 2022, putting his $11.7M cap figure on notice. A post June 1st release frees up $7.75M.

Bradley Roby (CB, 29)
Roby was acquired from Houston for a 3rd & 6th round pick, so it stands to reason that New Orleans would prefer to get another year out of the defensive back. A restructure is probably more likely here, a move that can free up $6.8M of cap space in 2022.


New York Giants

Sterling Shepard (WR, 28)
There's a lot to like about Shepard, but he's failed to complete a full season for three straight years now, and with Golladay & Toney now in the mix, his role was already in line to be diminished. Both sides could stand for a change of scenery, and the Giants can free up $4.5M with an early release, $8.5M after June 1st.

Kyle Rudolph (TE, 32)
Rudolph's cap number jumps up $3M in 2022 ($7.425M), and when factoring in minimal production in 2021, and the Giants snug with cap space, there's little reason to believe he remains in his contract. New York can free up $5M of space by moving on.

Blake Martinez (LB, 27)
Martinez was good in 2020, but a torn ACL cut his 2021 campaign short after just 3 weeks. He's a player who can still contribute when healthy, but a $14M cap figure for 2022 right now has to be addressed somehow. Moving on frees up $8.5M.

Saquon Barkley  (RB, 25)
Barkley's headed for his option year, with a fully guaranteed $7.2M salary to boot. An extension likely isn't coming anytime soon - but a trade might be. Unless salary is eaten prior to (not likely), the Giants would incur no dead cap to trade Barkley this offseason.

New York Jets

Sheldon Rankins (DT, 27)
Despite his most productive season in 3 years, Rankins likely won’t be kept on a $6.25M cap figure for 2022. There’s $5.5M to be freed up here.

Ryan Griffin (TE, 32)
The Jets probably want to see what a healthy Griffin/Wilson year looks like, but there’s $3.2M of cap to be freed up if not.

Greg Van Roten (G, 32)
Van Roten gave up his starting gig late in 2021, and might not be given the chance to get it back. The Jets can clear $3.5M by moving on.


Philadelphia Eagles

Brandon Brooks (G, 32)
Brooks announced his retirement on January 26th. His contract has already been reduced for the purpose of carrying it until June 1st, after which he’ll be placed on the reserve/retired list, splitting his dead cap as $5.9M for 2022, $9.7M for 2023. Philly will only see $1.1M of new cap space in June.

Gardner Minshew (QB, 25)
Minshew will be a good value and capable backup for Jalen Hurts if all stays as is, but if the QB position shakes up this offseason, look for teams to come calling for this contract. A trade frees up $2.54M for Philly.

Jason Kelce (C, 34)
He’s contemplating retirement still, while his contract holds $13.5M of dead cap against a $7.5M hit. He’s good value if he returns, and a $1.5M March 16th roster bonus will make this decision come early. If he hangs it up, Philly will carry him until June 1st before adding him to the reserve/retired list, splitting up the dead cap as $4.5M this year, $9M in 2023. 


Pittsburgh Steelers

Tyson Alualu (DL, 34)
Lost in 2021 due to injury, Pittsburgh can free up $2.5M by moving on.

Joe Schobert (LB, 28)
He might get another year with the Steelers to try to settle in better, but there’s almost $8M of cap to be freed up with an early release. Getting out of this contract and starting over might be the safer move.

Zach Banner (OT, 28)
There are big changes coming to this offensive line, and the $5M freed up by moving on from Banner can help (if he’s properly replaced).


San Francisco 49ers

Jimmy Garoppolo (QB, 30)
For the most part, the Niners stuck to their guns in keeping Trey Lance on the sidelines for the majority of 2021. Garoppolo responded with a very Garoppolo-like season, good enough for most teams to appreciate, but likely not enough to keep him in San Franc's plans going forward. With just $1.4M of dead cap against a $27M cap hit, there's $25.6M to be freed up in trading or releasing the veteran QB.

Samson Ebukam (OLB, 26)
Ebukam has shown flashes of high production in 2021, but the 2nd year of his contract was always to be considered a bit of an option, as his cap figure jumps from $3.7M to $8.25M. There's $6.5M to be freed up by moving on.

Dee Ford (DE, 30)
His $4.6M roster bonus became fully guaranteed last week, so there’s going to be some pain in moving on ($14.4M of dead cap to move on before June 1st). If they designate him a Post June 1st release, they’ll free up $2.4M, but not until June 2nd. It seems like he’s going to stick for another year, despite back to back seasons filled with injury.


Seattle Seahawks

Bobby Wagner (LB, 31)
Wagner probably belongs in the extension grouping, but the uncertainty of the Seattle roster as a whole puts everything in question. His $20.35M cap hit for 2022 is intolerable, and there's $16.6M to be freed up by moving on, but a restructured extension to lower this figure and keep the 10 year vet in Seattle seems the most likely path forward.

Christopher Carson (RB, 27)
Carson's extension was essentially a one year deal in terms of guarantee structure, and a serious neck injury now has his future in question. The contract holds $3M of dead cap against a $6.4M cap hit in 2022, but with Rashaad Penny & Alex Collins slated for free agency, there's a chance he sticks for one more year.

Jason Myers (K, 30)
Myers' consistency has fallen off of a cliff in 2021, and his $5M cap figure may be too rich to tolerate. With just $1M of dead cap on the final year of his contract, Seattle likely opts for the $4M saved here.

Kerry Hyder (DE, 30)
Hyder's cap figure nearly doubled ($3.7M) in 2022, putting him on a soft bubble this offseason. There's $2M to be freed up in moving on.

Russell Wilson (QB, 33)
We’ve heard nothing about Wilson wanting out this time around, but that won’t stop offers from coming in. Wilson has a $5M roster bonus due March 20th, and an early March trade would leave behind $26M of dead cap to Seattle, freeing up $11M of space.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ryan Succop (K, 25)
He probably sticks around another year, but TB can free up $2.5M if they look elsewhere at the position.

Bradley Pinion (P, 27)
Pinion enters a contract year in 2022 with a $2.9M cap hit, all of which can come off the books if necessary.

Mike Evans (WR, 28)
Evans has two years left on his contract, but he might look around in a couple of weeks and realize he’s one of the only stars remaining on his side of the ball. Will a trade demand follow? With FOUR restructures already processed on his contract, the Bucs would only really benefit from trading him after June 1st, at which point they can open up $14M of cap, and lock in some 2023 draft picks to boot.


Tennessee Titans

Taylor Lewan (OT, 30)
He’s a more than capable blind side lineman still, but the contract offers space to move on, so we’ll make Lewan a fringe bubble candidate for now. Moving on opens up $12.9M of room.

Zach Cunningham (LB, 27)
Cunningham is a nice fit for the Tennessee defense, but getting out of the contract and starting over probably makes sense for the team. They can open up $10.5M of space by doing so.

Kendall Lamm (OT, 29)
If Lewan is kept around, maybe Lamm becomes the odd man out on that O-Line. There’s $3.2M to be freed up in moving on.


Washington Commanders

Matthew Ioannidis (DT, 27)
The Commander's D-Line is loaded with youngsters, most of which are nearing the point of their big-time extensions. With pass-rush production all but diminished over the past two seasons, Ioannidis' trade or release can free up $6.9M of cap & cash this offseason.

Landon Collins (S, 28)
Collins has banked $44M in 3 seasons with Washington, but he becomes a fringe bubble player entering 2022. An early release frees up $6.6M of cap, while a Post June 1st move opens up $12M.