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 Post subject: NFR: Sam Bradford, Peppers among big name potential cap cuts
PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2014 6:10 pm 
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http://nfl.si.com/2014/02/05/salary-cap ... s-peppers/

Sam Bradford, Julius Peppers among NFL’s potential big-name cap casualties
AFC EAST, AFC NORTH, AFC SOUTH, AFC WEST, NFC EAST, NFC NORTH, NFC SOUTH, NFC WEST, NFL FREE AGENCY
BY CHRIS BURKE

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald agreed Tuesday to restructure his contract, thus helping save the Cardinals from the $18 million cap hit he would have handed them next season. Fitzgerald was never in danger of losing his roster spot over his lucrative contract, but some other recognizable names around the league are not so lucky.


With free agency approaching in March, here are a few players who may find themselves on the chopping block as salary cap casualties.

Julius Peppers, Bears: The 34-year-old Peppers is coming off his least productive season in Chicago and has a monstrous cap number of approximately $18.2 million next season. If he refuses to take (or is not offered) a pay cut, it’s hard to envision the Bears committing that amount of cash to Peppers.

Cutting Peppers would saddle the Bears with a dead-money hit of more than $8 million — they could ease the pain by holding onto Peppers until June 1, thus splitting that penalty over the next two seasons. Even cutting him before that date would save close to $10 million for the upcoming season.

Chris Clemons and Sidney Rice, Seahawks: Seattle nickle-and-dimed its way to a Super Bowl with some clever financial work this year, but time has come to pay the piper. Clemons has been a key player up front, but with Cliff Avril due a huge pay increase, from a $1.5 million base salary up to $7 million next season, and Michael Bennett likely on Seattle’s wish list in terms of free agents it would like to keep, saving $7.5 million by axing Clemons makes sense. So, too, does getting more than $7 million back by booting Rice, who’s rehabbing a torn ACL.

Defensive stars Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas are in line for contract extensions soon, too, so the Seahawks have to free up space somehow.

Sam Bradford, Rams: Count this situation as one of the offseason’s great mysteries. Bradford was on pace for his best season as a pro in 2013 before tearing his ACL. Now, with Bradford headed into Year 5 of a six-year contract, the Rams have to make a call on his future.

Two key factors at play here: 1. Bradford is due more than $14 million in base salary next season, and the Rams could save $10.4 million by cutting him (with about $7 million in dead money); 2. The Rams hold two first-round picks, including No. 2 overall, in a draft that boasts several potential No. 1 QBs.

The signs currently point to St. Louis giving Bradford at least one more season at the helm. That may change in the coming weeks.

Terrell Suggs, Ravens: The Ravens bid adieu to Anquan Boldin, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed last year. Could Suggs be the next longtime stalwart out the door? GM Ozzie Newsome reportedly said early last month that the team would make a decision on Suggs’ future by mid-January. So far, there’s been no news.

Suggs, 31, has just one year left on his deal, and the Ravens could save $7.8 million — all of his base salary due next season — by releasing him. A contract extension that spreads out Suggs’ upcoming $12 million cap hit makes more sense, but cutting him is at least a possibility.

Jason Campbell, Browns: Hard to really say what the Browns’ QB situation will look like come the start of the 2014 season. But what does appear rather obvious is that holding onto Campbell makes little financial sense. The Browns owe him $3 million in 2014 plus a $250K roster bonus in March; they could get all of that money back and take it off their cap by cutting him before then.

Troy Polamalu, Steelers: Similar situation to Suggs in that it seems unlikely, but …

The Steelers have slowly dismantled their veteran core due to cap issues, and the $8.25 million they could save by cutting Polamalu certainly would come in handy. (They will receive $6.25 million in savings by cutting OT Levi Brown, who suffered an injury before even playing a game for the Steelers after a trade.) Polamalu played in all 16 games last season and at times looked like his old, dominant self. Releasing him may leave too much of a void.

Chris Johnson, Titans: This marriage is on the verge of reaching its inevitable end. The Tennessean‘s Jim Wyatt wrote a couple weeks back that he’s fairly “certain” Johnson will be a free agent soon, what with the one-time 2,000-yard rusher saving the Titans $6 million of his $10 million cap hit if he’s cut. Johnson has gone over 1,000 yards in each of his six seasons, including 2013.

Still, the production has not measured up to the salary. And with a new coaching staff in place, Johnson’s days are likely numbered.

Champ Bailey, Broncos: Bailey, 35, said after failing in his quest to claim Super Bowl ring No. 1 that he was “not done playing football”. Will he get another shot at that first title with the Broncos?

Not if the situation stays as is. Right now, Bailey’s contract calls for him to earn $10 million in 2013 ($9 million base salary plus $1 million roster bonus). There is no chance Denver honors that deal with no dead-money penalty coming if Bailey is cut. The veteran DB will have to take a pay cut or sign a new contract after being released to remain with his current team.

DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys: A situation that is comparable to the Bears’ with Peppers, except that Ware has said he is not open to a pay cut and the Cowboys are in dire cap trouble for 2014. Dallas is on pace to be an estimated $25 million over the projected cap, with Ware commanding a $16 million hit. The Cowboys still would be on the hook for more than half of that — about $8.5 million — if they released Ware, but the $7 million-plus they could bring back to the 2014 cap might make it worthwhile.

Jerry Jones has a busy offseason ahead either way. He really needs Jason Witten, Tony Romo, Doug Free and others to agree to restructure their contracts to even have a prayer of getting under the cap.

Antrel Rolle, Giants: The Giants are in a stronger cap position for 2014 than the Cowboys, but they also likely have no interest in keeping Rolle’s $9.25 million hit on the books. A contract extension for the 31-year-old safety could solve that problem, but releasing him would free up $7.25 million — all of Rolle’s remaining deal save leftover bonus money.

Nate Burleson, Lions: A popular player in the Lions’ locker room and a productive one at a position of need, Burleson still has one foot out the door. That is not by his choice — he has said he wants to return for the 2014 season. The $5.5 million Detroit could save by freeing up Burleson’s roster space might be too valuable for a team with a brutal cap situation.

Will Smith, Saints: Smith missed all of 2013 with an injury, is a mismatch for Rob Ryan’s defense and carries a 2014 cap hit of nearly $14 million ($11.5 million of which New Orleans can save by cutting him). If Smith’s still on the roster come Week 1, someone fell asleep at the wheel.

Carlos Rogers, 49ers: The 32-year-old cornerback was rumored to be on the chopping block prior to the 2013 season, only to start every regular-season game. With upwards of $8 million due his way in 2014 — and $5.1 million available in savings with a release — Rogers probably has played his last game in San Francisco, at least under this current contract.

Kevin Kolb, Bills: EJ Manuel’s in place as the Buffalo starter, Kolb can’t stay healthy and he has a $1 million roster bonus due soon. This ought to be one of the easier calls of the offseason, and it would save the Bills $3.1 million on next year’s cap.

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 Post subject: Re: NFR: Sam Bradford, Peppers among big name potential cap
PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 1:15 am 
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As I said in the other thread, STL would be wise to use one of its two #1s on a QB. If Bradford is great, then good for them. If not, then you have a guy that you can give a chance to.


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 Post subject: Re: NFR: Sam Bradford, Peppers among big name potential cap
PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 7:55 pm 
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I think the problem Spanky is whether or not any of the QBs in this year's class really are better than Bradford.

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 Post subject: Re: NFR: Sam Bradford, Peppers among big name potential cap
PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:40 pm 
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Is Bradford really better than Cassell at this point? Both are free agents, Cassell will come much cheaper and has actually had success in this league.

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 Post subject: Re: NFR: Sam Bradford, Peppers among big name potential cap
PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:52 pm 
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Yes, Bradford is better than Cassel at this point.

What hurts Bradford is that his OC is Brian Schottenheimer, who in 8 years as an NFL OC has not done anything to suggest he serves a 9th year.

Cassel's success is that he was the starting QB on good teams, not he was himself good.

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 Post subject: Re: NFR: Sam Bradford, Peppers among big name potential cap
PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 12:51 am 
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I don't know, statistically they are same, with slight edges in completion percentage going to Cassell. I will give you that Cassell's win percentage being so much higher was partially due to better talent being around him. I just can't see giving Bradford who's never shown anything, more than a couple million a year and I would be looking for a different option if he won't accept that.

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 Post subject: Re: NFR: Sam Bradford, Peppers among big name potential cap
PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 3:04 am 
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Cassel was pretty good in NE, but I think in retrospect that had more to do with Belichick. But any success in KC was based in an offense that was based off play-action, which simplifies the reads and you can get production comparable to what we saw from Michael Vick back in 2002. Meaning, you run play-action, then you have basically 1 or 2 reads, and if it's not there, then you just check it down to the RB. It's easy to spot these sort of offenses because they tend to run the ball a lot (2010 Chiefs were #1 in the league in rushing attempts that season) and a RB is usually in their Top 3 receivers (Jamaal Charles had 45 receptions, 3rd on the team behind Dwayne Bowe & Tony Moeaki).

One could argue that Sam Bradford should be playing in this type of offense. But I think in the case of Bradford, there is a lot of Matt Ryan in him. One major difference is that Bradford struggles a lot more with pressure and has a tendency to take a lot more sacks.

But it should be worth noting that Bradford has not played with great receivers. Thus why the Rams should think about drafting Sammy Watkins if given the opportunity.

Here are the Expected Points Added for Bradford's Top 10 Receivers since 2010.

1. Brandon Gibson (37.2) - 2012
2. Austin Pettis (24.2) - 2013
3. Jared Cook (22.6) - 2013
4. Lance Kendricks (17.5) - 2012
5. Tavon Austin (15.1) - 2013
6. Brandon Gibson (14.8) - 2011
7. Danario Alexander (14.3) - 2010
8. Chris Givens (14.2) - 2012
9. Stedman Bailey (13.5) - 2013
10. Danny Amendola (13.0) - 2012

Compare to the Falcons since then:

1. Roddy White (66.2) - 2012
2. Julio Jones (64.2) - 2012
3. Roddy White (63.7) - 2010
4. Tony Gonzalez (59.7) - 2012
5. Tony Gonzalez (51.6) - 2013
6. Julio Jones (42.0) - 2011
7. Roddy White (41.3) - 2013
8. Tony Gonzalez (40.7) - 2011
9. Roddy White (40.0) - 2011
10. Harry Douglas (31.9) - 2013
11. Michael Jenkins (27.6) - 2010

Essentially, Bradford hasn't played with WRs that are any more productive than Harry Douglas and Michael Jenkins over his entire career.

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 Post subject: Re: NFR: Sam Bradford, Peppers among big name potential cap
PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 12:15 am 
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I don't want Peppers, he's too old, and was a decent pick up by the Bears a few years ago, but not now!!

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