by Paul "Closer" Wanecski
Running the numbers of some of the current players in the NFL, there are going to be some top free agents and cuts that are going to be available during the 2014 off season. Check out 10 names that are going to be searching for homes in new cities.
With the NFL season coming to a close very quickly, we here at Hashtag Sports thought it would be a good idea to generate a list of players around the league who figure to be on the free-agent market. We are not talking about players whose contracts are expiring. Oh no. Tis’ the Season for roster cuts. We have compiled a list of player who really are the most likely to be cut, either for performance, injury, or team cap issues. Have someone not on the list? Add them on via the comments section below. As they say,"Coach wants to see you. Bring your playbook."
This is not a list compiled as who would save each team the most money. Treat this more of a checklist:
1. Will Smith, New Orleans Saints-Defensive End: Missing the Salary Cap by 12.5 million dollars makes it a pretty easy decision to cut a player who missed this entire season due to injury. Cutting Smith saves the Saints over 11 Million desperately needed salary cap bucks.
2. Julius Peppers, Chicago Bears-Defensive End: As we have mentioned before, this contract was a “head scratcher” when it was signed. We cannot imagine a situation where he will stay with the Bears in 2014. Cut saves 9.8 Mil for 2014
3. Mark Sanchez, New York Jets-Quarterback: When Matt Simms gets a contract extension and the team you play for has already drafted another quarterback in the 2nd Round, your days are numbered. It is “possible” that Sanchez stays to compete for a position in camp, but winning the lottery is also “possible”. At this point, he would be winning the lottery just to stay in the Green and White. Cut saves 8.3 Million for 2014
4. Champ Bailey, Denver Broncos- Cornerback: The Broncos have 10 Million reasons to move on from Bailey. When you pay that kind of money, you need elite level play, which at this point in Bailey’s career you just will not get. Cut saves, you guessed it, 10 Million for 2014
5. Vince Wilfork, New England Patriots- Defensive Tackle: The Patriots ended up starting two undrafted free agents this year due to depth issues at this position after Wilfork went on Injured Reserved. The Pats stacked up the roster and are now looking to move on, saving 8 Million against 2014.
6. Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams- Quarterback: A once heralded prospect, injuries and, well, just poor play has made him a cap casualty. Bradford may restructure his contract, but, ultimately, expect the Rams to use one of their 1st Round selections on a QB, which will lead to the end of Bradford’s time in St. Louis. Cut saves 10.4 Million against 2014.
7. Carlos Rogers, San Francisco 49ers - Cornerback: Battling hamstring issues throughout the season and, most importantly in the playoffs, Rogers will be a hot commodity on the open market, but, buyers beware. The 49ers need the cap space and he is “first man out” for a reason. Cut saves 5.1 Million in 2014
8. Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers- Free Safety: It will be hard to imagine Polamalu in any other jersey except black and yellow, however, Pittsburg is in serious cap trouble. The Steelers have $67,131,154 tied up in the top 5 players on the roster for 2014 and none of them are spring chickens. Polamalu may not be the first one out of town, but, he is very likely. Cut saves 8.25 Million against 2014
9. Ike Taylor, Pittsburg Steelers-Cornerback: See above. Cut saves 7 Million against 2014
10. Sidney Rice, Seattle Seahawks- Wide Receiver: With a vast array of health issues, Rice just not worth the cap cash to keep around. Seattle benefited from several years of stock-piling roll-over money, causing the Seahawks to have a rather high “Adjusted Salary Cap”, which meant they were able to take on more salary than other teams after not spending as much the previous years. Those days are over in Seattle, who could also see Defensive End Chris Clemons let go, all in the name of the salary cap tango. Rice cut saves 7.3 Million, Clemons would save 7.5 against 2014 numbers.
If these scenarios happen to play out starting March 11th, which one of these players would you like to see on your team's roster, starting the 2014 season?