Potential cap casualties for the Giants, Jets, and Eagles
With the new league year less than a month away, all 32 NFL teams will be jostling rosters by cutting, signing, and re-signing big names free agents across the NFL landscape. This is very much true for the trio of the Giants, Jets, and Eagles.
Even though all three teams are above league average in cap space according to Spotrac (43 million), there’s still tough moves to be made, like the Eagles releasing veteran LB Nigel Bradham after deciding not to pick up his 2020 option.
Here’s a look at a couple of options each team could make to create even more cap space this offseason.
New York Giants:
Cap Space: $61 million
LB Alec Ogletree
Cap hit: $11.75 millon
Dead Cap: $3.5 million
One of the more popular options of veterans players from around the league being released is Alec Ogletree. Since being traded to the Giants nearly two years ago, Ogletree’s play has significantly declined from his time in New York. If the Giants decided to cut ties, it would create 8.2 million in cap space. This in turn could help sign a big name free agent like LB Shaquill Barrett who had a career year in Tampa Bay or bringing a couple linebackers in on cheaper deals like Kyle Van Noy and Cory Littleton to take over a unit that’s been a wasteland for too long. With Ogletree currently the third highest paid player on the Giants, don’t be surprised if the veteran is playing somewhere else in 2020.
TE Rhett Ellison
Cap hit: $7.1 million
Dead cap: $2.1 million
When the Giants gave Ellison a four-year deal worth $15 million three years ago, many were surprised they gave him that type of money. The move made even less sense when the Giants decided to draft TE Evan Engram in the first round only a month later in the 2017 NFL Draft. As expected, Ellison took a back seat to Engram and only saw major playing time when Engram was injured. The former fourth round pick out of USC has never recorded more than 25 catches or 275+ receiving yards and only played all 16 games once with the G-Men. Even though Engram’s health is always in question, the emergence of Kaden Smith late last season made this move more probable this offseason. The move to let Ellison go would create five million in cap space.
New York Jets:
Cap Space: $56 million
WR Quincy Enunwa
Cap hit: $7.8 million
Dead cap: $5.4 million
After fighting to make the roster as a 6th round pick in 2014, Enunwa had a career year in 2016 as one of the Jets top options, recording 58 catches for 857 yards and four touchdowns. Enunwa’s play in 2016 and 2018 earned him a contract extension for four years and $36 million with just over $20 million in guaranteed money right after the 2018 season. After suffering a season-ending neck injury in week one last season and his second one in only two years (missed all of 2017 with a neck injury), Enunwa could be finding a new home in 2020. Even though it would only create $2.4 million in cap space thanks to a dead cap hit of $5.4 million, the move might be necessary as the team will most likely look to bring in other free agent options and draft at least a receiver or two this upcoming April in the draft.
CB Darryl Roberts
Cap hit: $5.8 million
Dead cap: None
Since being a 7th round draft pick in 2015, Roberts has found his way on the field more consistently in his time in New York. The Marshall cornerback has played 700+ snaps in each of the past two seasons after only playing 752 snaps combined in 2016 and 2017. Despite playing in no fewer than 12 games in his career, Roberts has been a rotation corner at best, only recording one interception in each of the last three seasons. A big reason why the Jets might decide to part ways is that there’s no dead cap hit on Robert’s contract from this season on. With a slew of free agents available at the position like Byron Jones, Kendall Fuller, and Chris Harris, do not be surprised if the Jets organization decides to spend big in the secondary this offseason or in the draft with one of their 11 picks in April.
Cap Space: $48 million
CB Sidney Jones
Cap hit: $1.9 million
Dead cap: 651,000
Having the fewest amount of cap space among the three teams is the least of the Eagles worry. Even though they released Bradham as previously stated, Philadelphia still has 11 players according to Spotrac that have a double-digit dead cap hit should they be released or traded. So while it would realistically make sense to potentially cut veterans like DT Malik Jackson or WR Desean Jackson for example, it would be almost near impossible to do so due to all of the dead money that would go against their salary cap this season (29.7 million combined for the Jacksons). It’s going to be no easy task for general manager Howie Roseman and the Eagles front office.
One of the only logical cuts that can save the team some type of money would be letting go of CB Sidney Jones. Despite not turning 24 until this May, Jones has not been able to consistently stay on the field. After injuring his achilles at his pro day in March 2017, the Washington cornerback slipped to the 43rd overall pick after being picked to go in the high-to-middle first round pre-injury. Since then, Jones has battled back to getting into game action but still has not found his footing in the league, only starting in eight of a potential 22 games played in his NFL career. While Jones is still only 23 and could have plenty of time left to return to his pre-injured self, obtaining that extra one million by releasing Jones could potentially mean signing a big name free agent (Like Byron Jones, James Bradberry, etc.) or just keeping another in-house player who’s currently a free agent. With veteran CB Ronald Darby on one side, I’d be surprised if the Eagles don’t sign multiple starter caliber cornerbacks or sign a real big free agent whether it be WR, CB, or another position if they decide to let Jones walk.
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