The NFL offseason is full of surprises, and we have already seen some cuts already. The NFL offseason reminds us quickly that this is a business. Veteran players, fan favorites, and others will be cut or traded this off-season.
If they survive that, they then have to hope they don’t get replaced in the draft. When players sign these long contracts, you usually see opt-outs or other things in the contract that give the team control.
Players aren’t likely to end up getting that full contract and are even less likely with the same team. This is something to pay attention to in free agency, but of course, something I am going to talk about with cut candidates. There are several big named players that are going to be on the roster bubble this offseason.
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30 NFL Cut Candidates and the Dynasty Impacts
RB – Nyhiem Hines
Salary Cap Implications: $0 Dead Cap, Cap Savings of $9.15 Million
The team made a move for Hines, and we saw him really show up at the end of the season, but mainly on special teams. The team will have the decision to make on Devin Singletary, but moving on from Hines would make sense with the savings.
They could easily bring him back. The team traded a draft pick for him. They will likely try to keep him on the roster. With James Cook there, he really doesn’t offer much value to your dynasty roster.
New England Patriots
TE – Hunter Henry
Salary Cap Implications: $5 Million Dead Cap, Cap Savings of $10.5 Million
The team would love to move on from Jonnu Smith, but they can’t until 2024. His Dead cap is over $19 Million, with a cap hit of over $17 Million. Hunter Henry would likely have a market.
Henry is a name to keep an eye on if he does hit the market is that tight ends are a wasteland. Might be a buy-low candidate in hopes of the perfect landing spot. That being said, do not pay a lot. It would take a lot for him to gain a lot of value.
WR – Devante Parker
Salary Cap Implications: $0 Million Dead Cap, Cap Savings of $6.2 Million
Parker’s dynasty value was lost a long time ago. He will find his way onto a team as he can be a serviceable NFL player, just not for your fantasy team.
New York Jets
WR – Corey Davis
Salary Cap Implications: $666,667 Dead Cap, Cap Savings of $10.5 Million
WR – Braxton Berrios
Salary Cap Implications: $3.23 Million Dead Cap, Ca Savings of $5 Million
The Jets are looking to add a veteran quarterback, and that will cost them money. They also have Garrett Wilson and Elijah Moore on the roster. If they can’t find a way to restructure these contracts, they are very likely to move on from one or both of these players.
The Jets could add more talent in the draft or try to find some value pickups in free agency. $15.5 Million in cap savings could help shop for something. They also have some big names on defense they plan to move on from, such as Carl Lawson.
RB – Gus Edwards
Salary Cap Implications: $1.25 Million Dead Cap, Cap Savings of $4.38 Million
Gus Edwards’ contract was a bit of a head-scratcher when he received it. After tearing his ACL and some inefficient running after return, he could be a cut candidate.
The team will be looking for ways to pay Lamar Jackson, and this is an easy money saver. Edwards doesn’t really have much fantasy value anymore.
RB – Joe Mixon
Salary Cap Implications: $5.5 Million Dead Cap, Cap Savings of $7.29 Million
Joe Mixon is a soon to be 27 years old dynasty RB. The time to sell was the last off-season. The team has to start preparing for mega contract extensions for Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase. They also will try to find a way to pay Tee Higgins. Mixon’s off-the-field issue recently doesn’t help his situation.
If Mixon stays, he could end up being a restructuring candidate. He is not set to hit free agency until 2025, but his contract gives the Bengals an opportunity to save money this year or next year by cutting him. The team was very comfortable using other running backs, and the offense runs through Joe Burrow now.
QB – Mitch Trubisky
Salary Cap Implications: $2.62 Million Dead Cap, Cap Savings of $8 Million
The Steelers have turned the keys over to Kenny Pickett. Mitch could stay on the team if he reworks his deal. The team has said they would like to bring him back.
But his cap number will obviously have to go down as a backup. His cap hit in 2022 was only $3.6 million, and he started almost half the games. This year it would be $10.65 Million, and he is expected to be the backup.
WR – Brandin Cooks
Salary Cap Implications: $34.22 Million, Cap Savings of -$7.75 Million
The team would not make money by cutting him now; cutting him in 2024 would. They could designate him a post-June one-cut to try to spread out the money. They also could try to trade him this offseason which is more likely. The hiring of DeMeco Ryans might be something that can keep Cooks around.
But, his relationship with the team management seems to have run its course. He reported that the team made promises to him, and Cooks wants to join a contender. The Texans are obviously not that. Cooks is a good buy low right now who would gain value if traded to a place like Kansas City or Buffalo.
He may have to force his way out; his cap hit is pretty big. Most contenders will struggle to make it work, which is most likely why he didn’t get traded. There is an opt-out in 2024 where Cooks is very cuttable.
QB – Matt Ryan
Salary Cap Implications: $18 Million Dead Cap, Cap Savings of -$17.20 Million
Matt Ryan would need to be a post-June 1st cut for the Colts to save any type of money. They would be able to spread their losses over the next two seasons if they did this.
They will have to do something. His salary is dead weight on their cap right now. He was benched multiple times last year and looks to be done as a starter. Ryan also needs to be cut from your dynasty team.
WR – Jamal Agnew
Salary Cap implications: $1.16 Million Dead Cap, Cap Savings of $4.75 Million
Agnew doesn’t really offer much in dynasty value. Even in the best ball, he doesn’t offer much. Maybe on a different roster, he could have a bigger role. He is an explosive player, but mainly just a special team player. It was great to see him keep his explosiveness after the scary-looking ankle injury in 2021.
QB – Ryan Tannehill
Salary Cap Implications: $18.8 Million Dead cap, $18.8 Million in Cap Savings (Opt Out in 2023, $27 Million in Cap Savings if he is a post-June cut; $9.6 Million in Dead Cap)
The team has fired its general manager and hired a new one. They are looking at potentially moving on from Left Tackle Taylor Lewan. Lewan could be cut or end up retiring after a few seasons in a row that were injury-riddled. Tannehill has struggled to get the Titans over the playoff hunt.
The team may choose to move on. The team also could look to blow things up, and it might be doing him a favor by letting him go to another team. Tennesse has a $91 Million opt-out in 2023 with only $18.8 Million in the Dead cap. The team could turn to Malik Willis or look to the draft for a young quarterback.
Their new GM is also very familiar with Jimmy Garoppolo, who could follow him over from San Francisco. Tannehill could still be a starter in 2023; we just don’t know where. He can be attained for dirt cheap in a dynasty right now. But there is definitely risk involved.
RB – Chase Edmonds
Salary Cap Implications: $0 Dead Cap, Cap Savings of $5.92 Million
Kansas City Chiefs
WR – Marquez Valdes-Scantling
Salary Cap Implications: $4 Million Dead Cap, Cap Savings of $7 Million
The team signed MVS to a 3-year, $30 Million contract in 2022. But there is an opt-out for 2023. The team could cut him and bring him back on a cheaper deal. The team will also have the decision to make on Juju, who is an unrestricted free agent, in 2023. MVS really doesn’t have any dynasty value; maybe the best ball dynasty.
Las Vegas Raiders
Derek Carr (Already Released – See Landing Spots Article for Key Insights)
Los Angeles Chargers
WR – Keenan Allen
Salary Cap Implications: $6.9 Million Dead Cap, Cap Savings of $19 Million
The team could try to find a way to keep Keenan, and they will try to do so. Keenan is a fan favorite and has been one of their best players of all time. If he returns, it won’t be at this number.
There are a lot of talks that he could be moved on from. The team could also save $4 Million by walking away from Gerald Everett. I think both players return to the Chargers.
Both have value still in a dynasty. Everett is a backend top 12 tight ends, and Allen still offers short-term value. If I am a contender, I am making offers for Keenan Allen right now on the cheap.
RB – Ezekiel Elliot
Salary Cap Implications: $11.86 Million Dead Cap, Cap Savings of $4.86 Million
The team has an opt-out for 2023 (4-year $50.12 Million, $11.86 Dead cap). Elliot has been regressing over the last few seasons, and we can all see it.
Elliot has been great for fantasy, but all of that usage is taking its toll. The team will have to find a way to pay Tony Pollard or bring in another back.
Elliot could be a touchdown-dependent player on your roster, but he doesn’t offer much dynasty trade value right now. An early 3rd probably gets him from someone right now. Maybe a late 2nd might be the most a contender might pay.
New York Giants
WR – Sterling Shepard and Kenny Golladay
Salary Cap Implications: Kenny Golladay’s Dead Cap is $14.7 Million, with $6.7 in Cap Savings if he is a Post-June 1st cut
The Giants voided Sterling Shepard’s contract on February 15th, eating $4.3 in Dead cap. Shepard is coming off of an ACL tear in week 3 of 2022 after tearing his Achilles late in 2021. Shepard can sign anywhere he wants, but he will have to get medical clearance first.
Hopefully, he can still play well, but in my opinion, his fantasy days are over. He is an older player coming off of two major injuries. Kenny Golladay might go down as the worst free agent signing in NFL history. Kenny Golladay missed almost the entire season with hamstring and back injuries prior to signing with the Giants.
The Giants got little to no production the last two seasons and have paid him a ton of money. They, unfortunately, will still have more money to pay. Cutting him will save some money, but the Giants will still carry some dead cap because there not be an opt-out until 2024.
In 2022, Golladay’s cap hit was $31 Million. In 2023, his dead cap hit is $14.7 Million of his $21.4 Million dollar cap hit. The Giants will likely make him a post-June 1st cut so they can spread that dead cap over the next two seasons.
QB – Carson Wentz
Salary Cap Implications: $0 Dead Cap, Cap Savings of $26.1 Million
The team has an opt-out (4 years, $106 Million, $0 Dead Cap). On March 17th, Wentz has a $5 Million roster bonus. The Commanders are expected to move on. Wentz has been fine for fantasy, even though he has been pretty bad on the field. In 2022 he finished as QB13 in fantasy leagues.
In 2023, he was a top 3 QB through the first few weeks. Wentz had some solid fantasy performances, but this did not necessarily result in good play on the field. Wentz possibly gets a bridge QB job or gets to compete with someone next off-season. But he is not someone I am targeting or investing in for dynasty leagues.
Green Bay Packers
LT – David Bakhtiari
Salary Cap Implications: $23.13 Million in Dead Cap, Cap Savings of $5.72 Million
Bakhtiari has been one of the best tackles in the NFL when healthy. But, since signing his big contract, he has missed a ton of games. He has struggled to return to form since suffering a torn ACL.
He has played in only 24 games in the past three seasons. The Packers without Rodgers, Bakhtiari, Aaron Jones, Cobb, and Davante Adams would be strange. This could happen.
RB – Aaron Jones
Salary Cap Implications: $9.58 Million Dead Cap, Cap Savings of $10.44 Million
The dynasty sell window on Aaron Jones was two years ago, if not this offseason when Adams left town. He is stuck on your roster at this point. The team has an opt-out built into this contract. Aaron Jones has a roster bonus on March 17th, 2023, that guarantees him $7 Million.
The team likely would not have much of a market in trying to trade him. Restructuring his current deal or cutting him would seem like the most likely scenario.
Cutting Jones now also saves the Packers money in 2024. In 2024, he has a cap hit of $16 Million and a dead cap of $5.56 million. This could be a new-look Packers team in 2023.
RB – Dalvin Cook
Salary Cap Implications: $6.2 Million in Dead Cap, Cap Savings of $7.89 Million
Dalvin Cook just had shoulder surgery and might have just put a wrench into the plans. Cook is 27, and the NFL mirrors the dynasty. This is getting close to the age cliff. The time to move on in the dynasty was last year. The Vikings are nearing that. Cook has been a good running back, and last year was the first year that he didn’t miss a game.
But, the team has a built-in opt-out for this year. They will also have to make a decision on backup RB Alexander Mattison, who is about to hit free agency. They also have to find the money to sign Justin Jefferson. The opt-out is three years, $27.28 Million, with a Dead Cap of $6.2 Million, saving the Vikings about $20 million over the next three years.
This would save the Vikings the following cap hits (2023-$14.1, 2024-$15.6, and 2025-$13.5). The Vikings could choose to keep Cook, who has a low dead cap in 2024 ($3.01 Million Dead Cap) and a $0 Dead Cap in 2025.
WR – Adam Thielen
Salary Cap Implications: $13.55 Million Dead Cap, Cap Savings of $6.41 Million
Adam Thielen is 32 years old wide receiver who has seen some declines in his game over the past two seasons. He has been extremely touchdown-dependent for fantasy purposes, and we saw some regression this year.
Thielen has gone from 14 to 10 to 6 touchdowns over the past three seasons. He has also gone from 925 yards to 726 to 716 yards per season.
He might come back on a team-friendly deal or find a way to restructure, but he won’t be coming back at this number.
QB – Marcus Mariota
Salary Cap Implications: $2.5 Million Dead Cap, Cap Savings of $12 Million
Mariota’s dynasty value is all but nothing right now. The team could try to find a way to bring Mariota back on a small deal. They already have a ton of cap, but they are rumored to be in the market for a veteran QB.
Bringing in Derek Carr, Aaron Rodgers, or Lamar Jackson would cost them a lot. Regardless, he is not the starter, and they will find a way to save money or just move on.
New Orleans Saints
WR – Michael Thomas
Salary Cap Implications: $28.2 Million Dead cap, $16.4 Million Cap Savings if post-June 1st designation
The Saints will try to trade Michael Thomas, and at this point, they basically have to give him away. They did reduce his 2023 salary from $15.5 Million to $1.165 Million. He still has $26.17 Million in Dead Cap in 2023 that the Saints will be stuck with.
March 17th, 2023, he has a roster bonus of $31.75 Million that becomes guaranteed. They can release him before that and designate him as a June 1st cut. The Cap hit for Thomas would drop from $28.2 Million to $11.813 Million and then $13.639 Million in 2024 per overthecap.com.
Taysom Hill and Alvin Kamara both look like they would be more likely cut in 2024 based on their contracts. Jameis Winston is another candidate, but they don’t save much by cutting him. They would benefit from trading him or restructuring his deal.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
RB – Leonard Fournette
Salary Implications: Dead Cap $5 Million, Cap Savings $3.47 Million
Fournette’s value tanked, and the time to sell was the last off-season. If you have him, you hope he signs with a good team and appears to be in line to be their version of Jamaal Williams. He is a hold right now because you can’t really trade him for anything. If he stays with the Buccaneers, this won’t move his stock up.
WR – Robbie Anderson
Salary Implications: $0 Dead Cap, Cap Savings of $12 Million
The Cardinals trading for Robbie Anderson was a head-scratcher. This was a failed experiment; luckily, they can move on. This is a no-brainer. Andreson is gone. Anderson has a negative value in dynasty. He is taking up a roster spot at this point.
Los Angeles Rams
TE – Tyler Higbee
Salary Cap Implications: $5.225 Million Dead Cap, Cap Savings of $3.9 Million
The Rams may not just outright cut Higbee, but they could look to restructure that deal or trade Higbee this offseason. They are stuck with Allen Robinson until 2024, and the only other options are on defense.
This is a team that went all in, won the ship, and now the owner is ready to quit the league. They are a mess and, of course, have little cap space or picks to fix it.
TE – Will Dissly
Salary Cap Implications: $6.2 Million Dead Cap, Cap Savings of $2.9 Million
The team has an opt-out and can move on from Dissly this offseason to save money. They acquired Noah Fant in the Russell Wilson trade. They won’t want to pay both tight ends, and Fant is under contract until 2024.
Tyler Lockett is not going anywhere, but we could see his contract restructured to try to make room for some off-season moves. They are expected to resign Geno Smith.
Whether that is long-term or short-term, they will still want to do what they can with Lockett’s contract. Dissly doesn’t have any value in a dynasty. Lockett has great value as he is cheap and should be a solid fantasy option for the next year or two.