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2021 NFL Roster Bubbles

2021 NFL Roster Bubbles

Our annual NFL Roster Bubble report comes with a new twist this year, as teams will be operating under the impression that the NFL salary cap will be going down for the first time since the hard cap returned. We've identified players from each NFL team who may be trending toward the 2021 roster bubble, based on performance vs. compensation & dead cap structure. Others may fall on this list simply because they're in need of a restructure, or are trending toward retirement. We'll continue to update this list as new reports emerge.
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Quarterbacks
Player Team Pos AGE 2021 Cap Details
Matt Ryan ATL QB 35 $40,912,500 A Post June 1st release would mean dead cap hits of $23.4M in 2021 (including $5.5M cash), & another $26.5M for 2022. A Post June 1st trade means $17.9M in 2021, & $26.5M in 2022, while the receiving team would pick up a 3 year, $75M contract, but just $5.5M guaranteed in 2021.
Jeff Driskel DEN QB 27 $3,250,000 With both Drew Lock & Brett Rypien under contract for much less cap, it would make sense for Denver to take the $2.5M saved here and use it elsewhere.
Matthew Stafford DET QB 32 $33,000,000 There's a $10M roster bonus due March 21st, so trading or releasing him prior to this would make the most financial sense for DET ($19M dead cap, $14M saved).
Derek Carr LV QB 29 $22,125,000 With $2.5M of dead cap left on this contract (trade or release), if the Raiders want to move on, they'll have no financial trouble doing so.
Marcus Mariota LV QB 27 $10,725,000 If the plan is to move Mariota into QB1, then this is a great price. But as a QB2, $10.725M is much too high to stick with. It can all be cleared via release or trade.
Kirk Cousins MIN QB 32 $31,000,000 It would be a remarkable business move, but there's a world in which Minnesota takes on a $41M dead cap hit ($21M cash) this March and moves on from Cousins. It would mean a $10M cap loss in 2021, but $45M cleared in 2022 (including $35M cash). His 2022 salary fully guarantees on March 19th.
Drew Brees NO QB 41 $36,150,000 With retirement likely, Brees stands to leave behind $22.65 of dead cap per the dummy years built into his contract, freeing up $13.5M.
Sam Darnold NYJ QB 23 $9,794,271 Darnold's status will remain unclear until draft day. He has a $3.8M roster bonus due at the start of training camp, so a trade prior to that would clear $4.7M
Carson Wentz PHI QB 27 $34,673,536 It's complicated. There's $33.8M of dead cap per a trade, which increases if the $10M roster bonus is paid on March 19th. An outright release is out of the question.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT QB 38 $41,250,000 If he returns, it won't be on a league-high $41.25M, so a restructure will be imminent. If he walks away, it means $22.25M of dead cap staying with Pittsburgh ($19M saved).
Mason Rudolph PIT QB 25 $1,247,867 It doesn't appear as though Rudolph will be the heir apparent in PIT, & with $1.01M to be saved, moving out may be imminent.
Jimmy Garoppolo SF QB 29 $26,400,000 An injury-plagued stint in SF is likely coming to a close. With just $2.8M of dead cap on his contract ($23.4M to be saved), the 49ers hold his fate here.
Alex Smith WAS QB 36 $24,400,000 WFT is better with Smith at the helm, but there will be other veteran options available should they look to upgrade. There's $13.6M to be cleared should he be released or traded ($10.8M dead cap).
Dwayne Haskins WAS QB 23 $3,931,803 Haskins has $4.26M fully guaranteed cash, $8.5M of total dead cap remaining on his deal. WFT would lose $2.46M of 2021 cap space on a Post June 1st release, but the writing still seems on the wall.

 

Running Backs
Player Team Pos AGE 2021 Cap Details
Mark Ingram BAL RB 31 $6,333,334 Ingram still holds value as an RB2 here, but Baltimore simply may need the $5M saved to move on from him ($1.3M dead cap).
Ezekiel Elliott DAL RB 25 $13,700,000 His $9.6M salary for 2021 is already fully guaranteed, and his $12.4M salary for 2022 locks in on March 21st. Can the Cowboys find someone to take on a 2 year $22M contract? If so, a Post June 1st trade would mean dead cap hits of $4.1M in 2021, & $10.8M in 2022, clearing $9.6M next season.
David Johnson HOU RB 29 $9,000,000 $2.1M of his $7.95M salary for 2021 is already fully guaranteed, & a $300,000 bonus kicks in March 19th. It still seems imminent that Houston will move on, clearing $6.9M of cap space ($2.1M dead cap/cash).
Duke Johnson HOU RB 27 $5,025,000 The less expensive Johnson likely has a better chance of sticking in the final year of his contract, but it's possible the Texans do a major roster purge this offseason. There's $5M+ to be saved here should a release or trade be administered.
Jalen Richard LV RB 27 $3,500,000 While this won't be a necessary move, the Raiders can clear the full $3.5M by moving on this March. Space that can be used to fill other holes.
Sony Michel NE RB 25 $3,063,040 $1M of Michel's 2021 salary is fully guaranteed, factoring into $2.3M of dead cap. While a release only clears $756k of cap space, it still seems as though these two sides are headed for a breakup.
Latavius Murray NO RB 30 $4,200,000 Murray has been extremely valuable to this Saints offense for 4 years, so a restructured extension could very well be in play here. There's $2.5M to be saved here via a trade or release otherwise ($1.7M dead cap).
Rashaad Penny SEA RB 24 $3,425,367 Injuries have dominated Penny's rookie contract, & with only $580k of his 2021 salary guaranteed, it could mean the end in Seattle. The Seahawks can clear about $1.4M of cap space ($2M dead cap) per a release.
Peyton Barber WAS RB 26 $1,640,000 The one-two punch of Antonio Gibson & J.D. McKissic has been more than adequate, and if WFT can get any kind of production from Bryce Love, they'll be in good shape here. Moving on from Barber frees up $1.34M of cap space.

 

Wide Receivers
Player Team Pos AGE 2021 Cap Details
Julio Jones ATL WR 31 $23,050,000 Julio has 3 years, $38M left on his deal & a $23M cap number for 2021. If the new Falcons' regime is looking to dial things back, stocking up on draft picks by trading Jones makes sense. A Post June 1st trade frees up $15.3M next season, adding dead cap hits of $7.75M in 2021, $15.5M in 2022.
Miles Boykin BAL WR 24 $1,064,232 Though he's incredibly inexpensive, Boykin can't seem to find his place in this Baltimore offense. With only $428k of dead cap on the deal, moving on in some fashion is very doable.
John Brown BUF WR 30 $9,750,000 Brown has rejuvenated his career with the Bills, & has a clear connection with QB Josh Allen. But an injury plagued 2020 + a big step forward from Gabriel Davis could mean he's an odd man out come 2021. There's $8.15M to be cleared if he's traded or released before a $500,000 roster bonus is paid March 21st.
Odell Beckham, Jr. CLE WR 28 $15,750,000 OBJ was having a nice season prior to his ACL tear, and should be considered to be loosely on the roster bubble for 2021. $12.8M of his salary is already fully guaranteed, so this would be a trade scenario only, a move that would free up the full $15.75M, and $45M of cash over the next three seasons.
Amari Cooper DAL WR 26 $22,000,000 Cooper's on pace for a 90 catch season without Dak Prescott, so he's certainly holding his own, but with CeeDee Lamb & Michael Gallup capable options, flipping Amari for much needed draft picks could make sense. His $20M salary is already fully guaranteed, but there's $14M of space to be had.
Tyrell Williams LV WR 28 $11,600,000 The Raiders have paid $21M for 42 catches, and likely won't consider the remaining $23M. His entire $11.6M cap figure comes off via a trade or release.
Mike Williams LAC WR 26 $15,680,000 With Keenan Allen locked up, keeping Williams on his 5th year option price may not make sense. A restructured extension is certainly in the cards, but LAC can get out of this contract prior to the start of 2021 with no dead cap charge.
Albert Wilson MIA WR 28 $5,158,334 Wilson opted out of 2020, and with the team taking a major step forward without him
Julian Edelman NE WR 34 $6,666,666 The cap hit & cash payout ($4M) is certainly tenable, but Edelman himself will likely be looking for a change of scenery if the Patriots slide into a full rebuild. There's $4M to be saved for New England here.
Emmanuel Sanders NO WR 33 $10,000,000 Despite a typical season, the Saints are going to have to make some tough choices with their finances in 2021. There's a fully guaranteed $2M roster bonus due March 21st, so a trade would be ideal, freeing up $6M of space for NO.
Golden Tate NYG WR 32 $10,852,942 Tate fell out of favor quite spectacularly this season, so the $6M to be saved ($4.7M dead cap) from moving on seems a no brainer at this point. The Giants will be a destination for a bonafied WR1 via trade/draft/free agency this spring.
Jamison Crowder NYJ WR 27 $11,500,000 Crowder is a nice veteran option especially for a young (potentially new) QB, but if the Jets are looking to break it all down, the $10.5M to be saved ($1M dead cap) here will be the right approach.
Alshon Jeffery PHI WR 30 $18,486,500 Philly will likely designate Jeffrey a Post June 1st release as soon as possible, meaning $5.5M of dead cap for 2021 ($12.95M saved), & another $5M in 2022.
DeSean Jackson PHI WR 34 $10,934,000 Jackson still has plenty of production in him, but he'll need to redo his contract either here or elsewhere to continue on. Philly can clear $5.1M in space to move on ($5.8M dead cap).
Marquise Goodwin PHI WR 30 $4,450,000 Goodwin opted out of 2020, and his cap figure is certainly doable, but it stands to reason that Philly will be looking to get cheaper in a lot of spots - especially if they need to keep Carson Wentz on the books.
Adam Humphries TEN WR 27 $9,750,000 He's struggled to stay on the field for TEN, and can free up $7.25M of space as a Post June 1st release ($2.5M of dead cap each of 2021, 2022).

 

Tight Ends
Player Team Pos AGE 2021 Cap Details
Nick Boyle BAL TE 27 $7,833,334 Boyle missed the second half of 2020 with a bad knee injury, so bringing him back on a near $8M cap figure seems unlikely. The $2.3M of dead cap means $5.5M to be saved.
Jimmy Graham CHI TE 34 $10,000,000 Graham has a no trade clause (honestly), so it'll take an outright release to free up the $7M of space to be had here. He's been much more productive than advertised, but handing the keys to a much more inexpensive Cole Kmet probably makes sense.
David Njoku CLE TE 24 $6,013,000 The Browns exercised Njoku's option for 2021, but it won't become fully guaranteed until the first league day. They can release him prior to that with no dead cap incurred.
Jack Doyle IND TE 30 $5,850,000 Now north of 30, and with other options on the roster, Doyle's probably on the backside of his tenure with Indy.
Tyler Eifert JAX TE 30 $6,125,000 If the Jaguars lock in the #1 overall pick, keeping the veteran Eifert in the fold porbably makes sense. Otherwise, there's $5M to be saved ($1.125M dead cap) if Jacksonville so desires.
Kyle Rudolph MIN TE 31 $9,450,000 Irv Smith Jr. is clearly the next man up, making Rudolph's cap figure too rich to swallow. Desiginating him a Post June 1st release means $8M of cap space saved ($1.45M of 2021 dead cap, $2.9M of 2022 dead cap).
Josh Hill NO TE 30 $3,355,000 The Saints need to cut costs, and there's $2.605M to be cleared with a move here.
Zach Ertz PHI TE 30 $12,471,500 Injuries have tempered his 2020 season, and the Eagles will be looking to cut costs on the offensive side of the ball this offseason. An early release means $4.7M saved, while giving Ertz a chance to find work elsewhere quickly.
Vance McDonald PIT TE 30 $7,927,500 Both McDonald & Eric Ebron see their cap figures rise greatly in 2021, putting both in the bubble conversation. With McDonald being the less productive of the two in the passing game the near $8M hit seems less doable. An outright release means $5.2M saved ($2.27M dead cap).
Eric Ebron PIT TE 27 $8,500,000 Ebron never geled with Big Ben the way early reports said he might, but still found himself north of 50 receptions. A $500,000 roster bonus due March 21st likely means a decision will come early. There's $6.5M to be saved if they move on prior to the payment.
Cameron Brate TB TE 29 $6,500,000 Brate's fate likely hangs on the future of Rob Gronkowski in Tampa Bay. With OJ Howard set to rejoin the fold in 2021, Brate as a 3rd option is much too pricey to handle. The Bucs can clear all $6.5 of his salary with a trade or release.

 

Offensive Line
Player Team Pos AGE 2021 Cap Details
James Carpenter ATL OG 31 $6,458,333 With no more guarantees remaining on his deal, Carpenter's contract is now in the hands of the Falcons, who can clear $4M per a trade or release ($2.4M dead cap).
Matt Paradis CAR OC 31 $10,330,000 One of the best value centers while on his rookie contract with the Broncos, Paradis hasn't been able to recreate that magic since his payday with the Panthers. Carolina will be focusing on the defensive side of the ball most of the offseason, but there's $8.5M of cap to be cleared here as a post June 1st release if they want it ($1.8M dead cap in 2021, $3.6M in 2022).
Bobby Massie CHI RT 31 $9,300,000 Massie has shown he can be an adequate option when he's healthy, but that's been easier said than done of late. With the guaranteed money now out of his contract, there's $6.7M of cap to be saved ($2.6M dead cap).
Bobby Hart CIN RT 26 $6,900,000 Advanced metrics haven't been good to Hart since he joined Cincy in 2018. It's hard to imagine the Bengals keeping him in the fold as their highest paid lineman next season. A release means $5.9M saved ($1M dead cap).
Joe Dahl DET OG 27 $3,125,000 After two extremely team friendly cap years, Dahl's hit pushes north of $3M in 2021. With $2.875M of that to be cleared by moving on, a Lions team looking to shuffle a few pieces may opt of the space ($250,000 dead cap).
Nick Martin HOU OC 27 $8,750,000 One of the worst-rated centers according to PFF, and just $2.5M of dead cap against his 2021 salary, Houston holds the keys to Martin's immediate future. One would reason that the $6.25M to be saved would win out here.
Anthony Castonzo IND LT 32 $16,000,000 The Colts would certainly welcome him back, but there's a solid chance Castonzo walks away from the game this offseason, including $16M cash set to be earned in 2021. $6M of that is a roster bonus due March 21st, so a quick decision will be required here.
Mitchell Schwartz KC RT 31 $10,005,000 Schwartz is likely to finish 2020 on the sidelines with a back injury, putting his 2021 status in question. There's a $1M roster bonus due in early March, with $6.25M of cap to be cleared per a trade or release prior to it ($3.75M of dead cap).
Trenton Brown LV RT 27 $14,000,000 After paying him $36.75M over the past two seasons, the Raiders can out from under this contract at no dead cap charge from here out. That means $14M to be saved should they desire. A restruture may also be in the cards.
Richie Incognito LV OG 37 $6,350,000 After an extremely reliable tenure with the Bills, Incognito has struggled to stay on the field with the Raiders, missing all but two weeks in 2020. The almost 38-year-old will be testing father time from here out, and Las Vegas can clear all $6.35M of cap per his release.
Riley Reiff MIN OT 32 $13,950,000 Reiff took a $5M pay cut prior to 2020 to save his spot, but that likely won't be the case for next season.With just $2.2M of dead cap on his contract, Minnesota can free up $11.75M of space to move on.
Andrus Peat NO OG 27 $11,600,000 The Saints just extended Peat this past March, so they'll need help to get out this offseason should they so desire. Trading him post June 1st means dead cap hits of $2.6M in 2021, & $7.8M in 2022 ($9M saved next season). The receiving team would take on a 2 year, $20M fully guaranteed contract.
Nate Solder NYG OT 32 $16,500,000 Solder opted-out of 2020, so NYG has already begun to move forward without him. It seems impossible he'll return under the current cap hit, and a post June 1st release designation frees up $10M of it ($6.5M of 2021 dead cap, $4M of 2022 dead cap).
Maurkice Pouncey PIT OC 31 $14,475,000 Restructures have his 2021 cap hit upwords of $14.5M, making him one of 7 Steelers players with a $14M+ cap figure currently allocated next season. If Ben returns, it's certainly likely that Pouncey does too, but they'll need to adjust this figure a bit. There's $8M to be saved should they move on ($6.475M dead cap).
Ryan Jensen TB OC 29 $10,000,000 Jensen had an outstanding 2019, but has slipped back into the mix in 2020 - despite being extremely reliable in his three years with the Bucs. TB can clear his full $10M without a dead cap hit if they look to upgrade here.

 

Defensive Tackles
Player Team Pos AGE 2021 Cap Details
Allen Bailey ATL DL 31 $6,125,000 The Falcons will spend much of their offseason looking to bolster a defense that kept them out of games this year. Moving on from Bailey frees up $4.5M ($1.6M dead).
Brandon Williams BAL DT 31 $14,424,000 He's missed games in each of the past two seasons, heavily restricting his ability to be productive. With $7.5M to be saved here ($6.9M dead cap), a restructured extension could be in play, but so could moving on entirely.
Vernon Butler BUF DT 26 $7,850,000 Butler had a solid 2020 campaign, but will likely fall out of the mix with Star Loutleilei returning in 2021. Moving on frees up $6.85M of cap space for the Bills ($1M of dead cap).
Kawann Short CAR DT 31 $20,839,000 After a 4-year stretch as one of the most dominant DTs in the game, injuries have kept him out of all but 5 games over the past two seasons. There's no chance the Panthers can bring him back on a near $21M cap figure, so taking on the $11M of dead cap is the move here ($9.8M saved).
Geno Atkins CIN DT 32 $14,800,000 Atkins has been in a bit of decline for the past two seasons, capped off with a shoulder injury that limited him to 8 games in 2020. There's 2 years, $25M remaining on his contract, but $9.6M of cap space to be cleared in 2021 if the Bengals move on.
Jurrell Casey DEN DT 31 $12,281,000 The Broncos have decisions to make with Von Miller & Justin Simmons, and will focus heavily on the defensive side of the ball in both the draft & free agency. Casey's current cap figure is likely too rich to swallow here. With no dead cap involved, Denver can clear the full $12.2M.
Nick Williams DET DL 30 $5,700,000 Williams has been an adequate role player, but the Lions will be looking to get younger and cheaper in a lot of spots this spring. A trade or release here clears $4.7M ($1M dead cap).
Dean Lowry GB DL 26 $6,300,000 It's no secret that the Packers' lack of run defense has hurt them at times in 2020. Lowry is having a typical season, & his cap figures going forward don't break the banks, but it stands to reason that an upgrade could be coming here. With $3M of dead cap, Green Bay can clear $3.3M of spaceby moving on.
Linval Joseph LAC DT 31 $11,500,000 Joseph's cap figure jumps up $6M next season, and there's a $2M roster bonus due March 19th, so if the Chargers' plan is to move on, it'll happen quickly. With $4M of dead cap on the deal, LAC can free up $7.5M.
Henry Anderson NYJ DL 29 $9,533,334 Folorunso Fatukasi & Quinnen Williams seem to have the interior portion of the Jets line locked down, putting Henry Anderson's role in question. His cap figure is certainly tolerable, but there's $8.2M to be cleared here of NY so desires.
Fletcher Cox PHI DT 30 $23,880,000 Two massive restructures have Cox's cap hit ($23.8M) & dead cap ($21M) in ugly situations. He's been the Eagles' best interior linemen yet again this season, so moving on doesn't make much football sense, but to stick around likely means another restructure - making 2022 even uglier.
Jarran Reed SEA DT 28 $13,500,000 The season-long stats aren't good, but Reed has been one of the reasons that Seattle's defense has turned a corner in 2020. Just 28 years old, a restructured extension probably makes sense for both sides here. There's $5M of dead cap on his 2021 salary.
Matthew Ioannidis WAS DT 26 $7,150,000 Missed all but 3 games due to a torn bicep, but has been one of the better options for WAS over the past two seasons. This defense is loaded, and there may be value in finding a trade a partner here ($3M of dead cap to move on).

 

Edge Defenders
Player Team Pos AGE 2021 Cap Details
Chandler Jones ARI OLB 30 $20,833,334 Jones is an outstanding player, & he had an outstanding 2019. The only reason he finds himself on this list is a near $21M cap figure, on an expiring contract, coming off of biceps surgery. A restructured extension is more likely to come from Arizona than a trade or release. There's $15.5M to be saved if the latter happens though ($5.3M dead cap).
Stephen Weatherly CAR DE 26 $7,950,000 Weatherly has a $1.25M roster bonus due March 19th, so the Panthers will need to act quickly if they want to free up the $5.95M of space to move on here ($2M dead cap).
Von Miller DEN OLB 31 $22,225,000 Miller has a club option coming out of a season missing ankle injury. It's safe to assume Denver won't be exercising this salary as is, but a restructured extension isn't out of the question here - especially with his heir apparent in Bradley Chubb not reaching expectations as of yet.$4.225M of dead cap sticks with the Broncos or moves on to the new contract.
Preston Smith GB OLB 28 $16,000,000 The Packers D has been a bit of Jekyll & Hyde this season, and Smith's $16M cap figure stands out as questionable going forward. There's a $4M roster bonus due March 19th, but before that, desiginating him a Post June 1st release frees up $12M of space.
J.J. Watt HOU DE 31 $17,500,000 For the first time in 10 years, Watt has expressed true discontent with how the Texans' organization has operated of late. Factoring in this plus major decline in production from the 31 year old, and it stands to reason he won't be back on his current $17.5M cap figure in 2021 - the final year of his contract. A trade then restructured extension may be in order, freeing up all $17.5M for Houston (no dead cap).
Dee Ford SF OLB 29 $20,785,000 SF reportedly wanted to get out of this contract almost immediately after signing it. The guaranteed portion of the deal falls off in 2021, with $14.3M of total dead cap on the books. If he's designated a Post June 1st release, there's $16M of 2021 cap space to be cleared here.
Carlos Dunlap SEA DE 31 $14,100,000 There's no question Dunlap has made a significant impact on Seattle's D, but his cap figure jumps up $12M for 2021. With no dead cap attached, a restructured extension likely works for both here.

 

Linebackers
Player Team Pos AGE 2021 Cap Details
Christian Kirksey GB ILB 28 $8,000,000 Kirksey is one of the worst rated LBs in 2020 according to PFF, and the Packers' defense is likely in for a major rehaul this offseason. There's a $1.5M roster bonus due March 19th, but prior to that there's $6M to be saved ($2M dead cap).
Anthony Hitchens KC ILB 28 $10,723,750 KC will need to get creative with a lot of contracts this offseason to keep this juggernaut rolling, but there will be casualties. Hitchens can likely be replaced through the draft in 2021, and there's $6.5M of cap space to be freed up by designating him a post June 1st release in March.
Dont'a Hightower NE ILB 30 $12,445,305 The Patriots are certainly better with Hightower (who opted out of 2020) on the field, but it's difficult to guage where the team's head will be come the offseason. If the plan is strip it down even more, Hightower's $12.4M cap figure doesn't make as much sense as the $9.9M of space to be had does ($2.5M of dead cap).
Kwon Alexander NO OLB 26 $13,400,000 Alexander has been dealing with an achillies issue to finish off 2020, and his cap figure jumps up $12.5M for 2021. A restructured extension is certainly possible, but remaining on this current contract is simply not. The Saints will free up all $13.4M by ripping up this deal.

 

Cornerbacks
Player Team Pos AGE 2021 Cap Details
Robert Alford ARI CB 32 $9,000,000 Arizona has paid out $15M to Alford for 0 snaps due to injury. It's tough to imagine they'll take a chance on any further payment from hereout. The Cardinals can free up $7.5M of cap by moving on.
Buster Skrine CHI CB 31 $6,100,000 With Kyle Fuller's cap figure currently set to jump to $20M in 2021, it stands to reason that Skrine's figure will become a casualty. Unfortunately for the Bears, an early release only frees up $2.8M of cap space, but every little bit helps.
Anthony Brown DAL CB 27 $5,750,000 Brown has held down the starting RCB role for much of 2020, but it stands to reason that Trevon Diggs will slide into that position sooner rather than later. With $3M of dead cap on the books, Dallas can free up $2.75M by moving on.
A.J. Bouye DEN CB 29 $11,908,088 Bouye's play has declined over the past two seasons, & a 6 game suspension for PEDs will carry over into 2021, putting his roster spot in peril. There's no dead cap associated with his 2021 salary, meaning Denver can free up all $11.9M by moving on.
Desmond Trufant DET CB 30 $12,500,000 A hamstring injury limited Trufant to just 6 games in 2020, after seeing just 9 games in 2019 with the Falcons. Although $3.5M of his 2021 salary is already fully guaranteed, it'll be tough to justify a $12.5M hit next season, & the Lions can free up $6.5M by moving on in early March.
Justin Coleman DET CB 27 $11,029,000 The Lions could be in for a whole new secondary come 2021, as both Desmond Trufant and Coleman missed significant time in 2020 and carry significant cap hits next season. With $6M of dead cap on his contract, there's $4M or so to be cleared should the Lions decide to move on, though that seems a but unlikely at this point.
Chris Harris LAC CB 31 $11,250,000 Both Chris Harris & Casey Hayward carry cap figures north of $10M in 2021, and it seems unlikely that both will remain as is. The case for moving on from Harris? He's more expensive, has a $2M roster bonus due March 19th, and hasn't been a face of this franchise for years. An early March release clears up $7.5M of space.
Casey Hayward LAC CB 31 $11,750,000 Hayward was outstanding in 2019, and actually brings a lower cap figure into 2021 than he carried in 2020. It seems likely both he and Chris Harris won't carry into the new season together. The case for moving on from Hayward? There's $9.75M to be cleared per a trade or release, and no time constraints in doing so.
Stephon Gilmore NE CB 30 $17,170,834 The final year of Gilmore's contract offers a high cap hit, but only $7.5M of cash to be doled out. This likely won't fly for Gilmore - nor will a rebuild in New England should that happen. A trade or release frees up $9.5M of space for the Patriots.
Patrick Robinson NO CB 33 $3,850,000 The Saints will need to cut costs across the board in 2021, and though Robinson's deal won't make a huge dent in that regard, every little bit help. With $1.25M of dead cap allocated into his final season, moving on means $2.6M to be saved.
Joe Haden PIT CB 31 $15,575,000 Haden and Steven Nelson have near identical contracts & identical production right now looking ahead to 2021. The Steelers may not be able to retain both at their current figures. Haden is the older of the two, and his deal provides $12.6M of savings to move on from him this March ($2.975M of dead cap).

 

Safeties
Player Team Pos AGE 2021 Cap Details
Tyrann Mathieu KC FS 28 $19,733,334 The versatile DB is only here because of the heightened level of his cap figure for 2021. With just $4.93M of dead cap attached, there's a significant amount of space to be freed up here one way or another. A restructured extension seems imminent.
LaMarcus Joyner LV FS 30 $11,200,000 The Raiders have paid out $22M of his contract, & while there's $20M more on the books, Las Vegas can free up $8.7M of space by moving on this March ($2.5M of dead cap).
Eric Rowe MIA SS 28 $5,050,000 With the guaranteed portion of his contract now by the wayside, Miami may opt to take the $4M of savings here ($1M of dead cap).
Landon Collins WAS CB 26 $17,200,000 Collins has been overpaid since the day he signed his contract back in June of 2015. Another $12.5M is set to become fully guaranteed on March 21st, but Washington can free up $13M of space by designating him a Post June 1st release prior to it ($4.2M of 2021 dead cap, $9.6M of 2022 dead cap).

 

Special Teams
Player Team Pos AGE 2021 Cap Details
Chris Jones DAL P 31 $2,500,000 Jones has been with the Cowboys since 2011, and he enters a contract year in 2021 carrying a $2.5M cap figure. With just $500,000 of dead cap attached to it Dallas may opt for the $2M of savings to use elsewhere.
Dan Bailey MIN K 32 $3,800,000 $1.8M of Bailey's 2021 salary becomes fully guaranteed on March 19th, so a release prior to this will clear $1.7M of cap space ($2.1M dead cap).
Thomas Morstead NO P 34 $4,500,000 Morstead is one of the lower rated punters in 2020 according to PFF, & his contract offers $2.5M of cap space to a Saints team very much in need of it next season. There will be a $2M dead cap hit to move on.
Riley Dixon NYG P 27 $2,925,000 His numbers are skewed slightly because of the usage a bad Giants offense has put him through in 2020, but with $2.6M of cap space to be saved, he can still be considered a bubble player.
Chris Boswell PIT K 29 $4,773,333 To be fair, Boswell has bounced back nicely in 2020 in terms of field goals made, but has been somewhat inconsistent in the extra point department. With only $1.4M of cap space to be saved by moving on, he's a fringe bubble player right now.
Robbie Gould SF K 38 $5,250,000 The 38-year-old has been outstanding for a long time, but slipped back into the "average" grouping in 2020. With a league high $5.25M option figure for 2021, the Niners may view the $3.75M of cap savings as a better business decision, though an extension to lower the cap hit could also be in play.