Every year around this time, we see a number of surprising NFL roster cuts around the league. Teams are jockeying for position ahead of the start of NFL free agency. Regardless of the economic situation the league finds itself in, this is always the case.
It’s now going to be magnified even further over the next couple weeks before the start of the new league year. As one head coach put it on Wednesday, upcoming NFL roster cuts will be a “massacre” around the league.
There’s a singular reason for this. The revenue downturn the NFL saw last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s not sensationalized or overblown. It’s the economic reality.
The 2021 NFL salary cap is projected to be be between $182 to $183 million in 2021 after it was set at $198.2 million last season. This comes after said cap increased by at least $10 million every year since 2014.
Simply put, teams not being able to host fans at a full capacity impacted the NFL’s bottom line. Given that the salary cap takes into account both team revenue and television deals, this is no small thing. While the league fully expects things to return to normal in during the 2021 season, it will not impact this year’s salary cap.
Based on our current estimates, 11 teams are currently over the projected NFL salary cap for this season. As noted above, that should lead to a bloodbath of sorts.
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NFL roster cuts: Who could be impacted the most?
Currently $65.25 million over the cap, the New Orleans Saints are waiting on Drew Brees’ retirement situation. However, recent rumors around the Bayou suggest that a purge could be in the cards here. That includes a number of well-known players.
- Marshon Lattimore, cornerback
- Janoris Jenkins, cornerback
- Kwon Alexander, linebacker
New Orleans is apparently listening to offers for defensive tackle Malcom Brown and could move star wide receiver Michael Thomas if the right deal were to come across.
Currently north of $40 million over the cap, a ton of Philadelphia Eagles players could also find themselves as major NFL roster cuts.
- Zach Ertz, tight end
- Derek Barnett, defensive end
- Marquise Goodwin, wide receiver
Another team that’s in a disastrous cap situation, the Los Angeles Rams don’t even have draft capital to get younger and cheaper. That was magnified by the blockbuster trade for Matthew Stafford.
The Rams are currently $35.78 million over the cap. They also have key defenders Leonard Floyd and John Johnson set to hit free agency and holes to fill on both sides of the ball. It could lead to some notable NFL roster cuts in Los Angeles over the next week or so.
- Robert Woods, wide receiver
- Michael Brockers, defensive tackle
- Andrew Whitworth, offensive tackle
Sensing a theme here? More so than any other offseason in modern NFL history, player movement will be the name of the game the spring. The question then becomes just how player-friendly the NFL free agent market is going to be.
Expect a ton of players to settle on one-year deals with the hope of cashing out next offseason when the new sense of normalcy kicks in.