- NFL teams will be making cap space in the coming days as the new league year approaches. Which veteran players might find themselves on the market?
NFL Free agency is a time for pragmatic teams to spend all that cash they’ve been storing away for the previous season (or seasons). It’s also a time for competitive teams to re-tool their rosters and upgrade at a few key positions, and a time for teams looking to recover from a spending binge by finding cheaper replacement parts.
For the latter categories, that also means making some significant cuts before bidding opens. Known commonly as cap casualties, these high-profile players are set loose days before the legal tampering period (if their teams are kind enough to do so), and can sometimes reshape the market.
Here’s a few of our projections as we inch closer:
A trio of Jaguars: Jacksonville isn’t exactly in the “cap hell” they’re made out to be, but they could release a few non-essential pieces in order to make a significant upgrade at the quarterback position. Tashaun Gipson has been floating in trade rumors, while Carlos Hyde and Malik Jackson could also create some instant cash. They were also mentioned in trade rumors of late. This goes without saying that Jacksonville still has a decision to make on Blake Bortles as well.
Gerald McCoy: Tampa’s roster is full of veteran fluff, but for now it seems they’re intent on keeping most of their spending spree veterans from the past two years intact. However, McCoy can generate $13 million without any dead money. He just turned 31, the Buccaneers are changing defenses and they might want to go in a different direction. That being said, he won’t last very long in free agency if he makes it that far.
Justin Houston: At the combine, the Chiefs made no secret that they were looking for trade partners for Houston, the 30-year-old who has 18.5 sacks over the last two seasons. Like the Buccaneers, they’re switching defenses and could be looking to go in a different direction. Like the Jaguars, if a trade isn’t consummated, the cap space created could still be attractive.
Robert Quinn: The Dolphins are going to look radically different on offense next season, and it would be hard to rationalize keeping a player who could generate more than $10 million.
Everson Griffen: As ESPN 991 in Minnesota noted, there isn’t a whole lot of time left to make a call here. Minnesota needs to generate space, and unfortunately, one of the most convenient places to do so is at defensive end.
Eagles contributors: Michael Bennett and Nelson Agholor could generate a lot of money for the Eagles as they try and readjust their roster for 2019.
The Rams’ secondary: Marcus Peters is still on his rookie deal, but Aqib Talib can generate $8 million in space if Les Snead and Sean McVay decide to hunt for a cornerback in the draft. Talib has one of the highest cap hits on a team that is trying to fit a lot of talent onto one roster.
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