As the 2023 free agency period draws closer (it begins March 15 at 4 pm ET), teams are beginning to release expensive or underperforming players to open up salary cap space before the start of the new league year. Some do it to create flexibility for trades and signings, while others do it out of necessity if they’re over the cap.
Here are some of the biggest releases ahead of free agency and how they’ll affect each team. All figures courtesy of Over the Cap:
The New York Jets are moving on from receiver and return specialist Braxton Berrios at the start of the league year, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The two sides reportedly discussed a contract restructuring but could not agree — which led to Berrios’ release. It saves New York $5 million but will cost them $3.2 million in dead cap.
Cardinals move on from WR Robbie Anderson
The Arizona Cardinals announced Wednesday that Robbie Anderson had been released.
Anderson, acquired in a midseason trade with the Carolina Panthers, had just seven catches for 76 yards in 10 games with the Cardinals. Cutting the 29-year-old Anderson saves the Cardinals $12 million and was a very obvious move as the Cardinals rebuild their roster under a new front office and coaching staff. He was entering the final season of a two-year contract and the Cardinals will incur no dead money on their salary cap by cutting Anderson.
The Jaguars announced they’re releasing Griffin, a 2019 Pro Bowler who was placed on injured reserve this past season after suffering a back injury. The move will save the Jaguars $13 million in cap space.
Miami Dolphins tell CB Byron Jones he’ll be cut
Ten days after Jones tweeted about the “regrettable cost” of playing in the NFL, the Dolphins told the veteran cornerback he’ll be released, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The move will save Miami $13.6 million as a post-June 1 cut and will cost the team $4.75 million in dead cap. Jones played the past two seasons with the Dolphins after he signed a massive five-year, $82 million contract in 2020 which made him the highest-paid cornerback at the time.
Smith has played all eight years of his NFL career with the Buccaneers before being cut, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. He started all 124 games he played during his time in Tampa. Cutting Smith saves the Buccaneers $9.95 million but comes with a $7.95 million dead cap hit.
Clark and the Chiefs weren’t able to reach common ground on a reworked deal, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, and the expectation is that Kansas City will release him.
Dupree signed a five-year, $82.5 million contract in 2021. But two seasons later he’ll be looking for another team. Releasing Dupree saves the Titans $9.35 million but comes with a dead cap hit of $10.85 million, per Over the Cap. He was owed $17 million in base salary this season, so the decision makes sense for the cut-heavy Titans.
Lewan was the first of many surprise veteran cuts by the Titans this offseason. The oft-injured former Pro Bowl offensive lineman cleared $14.84 million off Tennessee’s books.
Titans cut WR Robert Woods
Woods lasted just one season with the Titans and is back on the market after being released. He saved the team $12.01 million in salary cap with a dead cap hit of $2.59 million.
Cunningham earned a four-year, $58 million deal in 2020 but saved the Titans $8.92 million with his release. He will cost the team $4.5 million in dead cap in 2023, though.
Bullock wasn’t a big cut, but will save Tennessee $2.13 million in 2023.
Kendricks had played his entire career in Minnesota before the Vikings released him. That move saved the team $9.5 million, but will come with a $1.93 million dead cap hit.
The decision to release Fournette, which he reportedly asked for, saved the Buccaneers around $3.47 million but the team will incur a dead cap hit of $5 million. He played the last three seasons in Tampa Bay.
Other players who have been cut: