The Cost To Cut 6

5:44 PM 11 Jan 2014

1My favorite part about the offseason is the rampant speculation (or sometimes just straight hating) that certain players can/should/must be cut or traded from the present roster.  Nevermind the thoughtlessness that this is someone's career that you're demanding be over, there is a business side to the NFL that most fans either don't know or don't care to understand about.  Every team must remain under the Salary Cap set forth each season, a somewhat arbitrary number meant to keep parity in the NFL so the bigger market teams don't just overpay all of the best free agents to stack a team while leaving the smaller markets in the dust.  There are certain aspects of how players' contracts work that make it difficult, impractical, or just plain impossible to cut them, which is what we're going to take a look at today.  I won't get into a whole lot of detail here or analyze these as moves (Much, I'll do a little)but I want to take a look at the cost of cutting every player on the roster so folks can get a good understanding of whether or not it's possible or practical to do so.  Now remember, I'm looking at this PURELY from a financial standpoint.  There are some players that will fall in a particular tier who absolutely are not being cut (Joseph Fauria comes to mind), but the cost would be minimal if management lost their mind and did it anywhere (Financial cost, again). 


The "Not Gonna Happen" Tier

These are players with cost prohibitive contracts.  What that means is that these players will cost far too much to make cutting them a viable option.  In some cases, this is simply because it will cost MORE to cut the player than keep them.  In others, the dead money alone makes it impossible to see the team letting them go.  Dead money counts against the cap whether the player is on the roster or not, for instance cutting Kyle Vanden Bosch saved the Lions money but he still counted 5,723,750 against the 2013 cap.

One thing you'll notice immediately is just the sheer size of some of these contracts.  Dead money is the prorated amount of whatever remaining guarantees a player has on a contract so a good rule of thumb is that the more years remaining means more dead money.

Player 2014 Cap Hit Dead Money if Cut Cap Money Saved/Lost
Matthew Stafford $15,820,000 $43,041,250 -$27,221,250
Calvin Johnson $13,058,000 $29,032,000 -$15,974,000
Ndamukong Suh $22,412,500 $19,475,000 $2,937,500
Ezekiel Ansah $4,226,025 $15,213,696 -$10,987,671
Chris Houston $4,800,000 $5,200,000 -$400,000
Glover Quin $4,550,000 $4,200,000 $350,000
Stephen Tulloch $5,800,000 $3,900,000 $1,900,000
Riley Reiff $2,180,100 $3,242,500 -$1,062,400
Nick Fairley $3,146,500 $3,146,500 $0
Darius Slay $1,202,114 $2,165,496 -$963,382
DeAndre Levy $3,250,000 $2,000,000 $1,250,000
Reggie Bush $4,500,000 $3,000,000 $1,500,000



The "Stranger Things Have Happened" tier

Some of these players are just underpaid, pure and simple.  These are the players often near the end of their contract with little remaining guarantees, sometimes the player is under their rookie contract.  Sometimes, it was just a safe contract, such as both Montell Owens and Leroy Harris.  Both were signed to two year contracts in 2013 with guarantees, but in both cases the contracts were set up with few guarantees and back-loaded heavily (Their cap numbers were much smaller in 2013).  This makes it easier to move on if things didn't work out.  With only a couple snaps all season between them (All Owens), 2013 definitely qualifies.

Player 2014 Cap Hit Dead Money if Cut Cap Money Saved/Lost
Nate Burleson $7,531,641 $2,031,641 $5,500,000
Jason Jones $3,683,333 $1,666,666 $2,016,667
Rob Sims $3,775,000 $1,200,000 $2,575,000
Louis Delmas $6,500,000 $500,000 $6,000,000
Ryan Broyles $1,003,227 $575,500 $427,727
Mikel Leshoure $1,092,693 $249,396 $843,297
Ashlee Palmer $1,583,334 $333,334 $1,250,000
Leroy Harris $2,062,500 $112,500 $1,950,000
Corey Hilliard $1,900,000 $250,000 $1,650,000
CJ Mosley $1,725,000 $175,000 $1,550,000
Montell Owens $1,525,000 $125,000 $1,400,000
Dwight Bentley $727,278 $274,556 $452,722
Devin Taylor $570,146 $225,438 $344,708
Sam Martin $535,075 $120,225 $414,850
Tahir Whitehead $623,000 $106,000 $517,000
Larry Warford $714,250 $522,750 $191,500

Kellen Moore, Rodney Austin

The "No Loss" tier

I will take this moment to again remind you that this is purely financially speaking and not what would constitute a good idea.  Nobody is calling for Fauria or Waddle to be cut, especially me.  NOTE:  Don Carey's specific contract details have not been released, but it is believed to be a very team friendly contract.

Player 2014 Cap Hit Dead Money if Cut Cap Money Saved/Lost
Don Carey ? ? ?
Rodney Austin $495,000 $0 $495,000
Cory Greenwood $750,000 $0 $750,000
Theo Riddick $517,750 $68,250 $449,500
Michael Williams $511,287 $48,861 $462,426
Jonte Green $594,250 $48,500 $545,750
Travis Lewis $584,793 $29,586 $555,207
Joseph Fauria $499,166 $8,334 $490,832
Kellen Moore $576,668 $6,668 $570,000
LaAdrian Waddle $498,333 $6,667 $491,666


The "Futures" tier

These are the folks the Lions signed to Futures deals.  Futures deals simply gives the team that players' rights coming into next season.  There is no risk involved, nor is there significant cost.

Carlin Isles
Corey Fuller
Giorgio Tavecchio
Patrick Edwards
Dejon Gomes
Matt Veldman
Steven Miller
Jimmy Saddler-McQueen
Brandon Hepburn
Jon Morgan
John Potter
Cody Wilson
Xavier Proctor

6 thoughts on “The Cost To Cut

  1. Reply Kevin LanG (@KevinLanG20) Jan 11, 2014 10:22 PM

    Burleson and Delmas top my list of guys to part with. Jason Jones is interesting I wonder how that knee is. Broyles is a goner in my eyes too. Mosley really played porous as well.

  2. Derek Mack Reply dmac93065 Jan 11, 2014 11:48 PM

    Another solid read Kent. After looking over your list I couldn’t help but think, who’s on the bubble? Leshoure looks to be an easy player to cut, although I’d dislike the move. Another player I’m concerned might not be in Detroit next season is Nate Burleson. Nate’s been a tremendous ambassador for the franchise, but his fate may well be attached to Linehan who zealously desired him up until a couple of weeks ago when he himself was unceremoniously terminated.

    Speaking of receivers, have you seen the speed the Lions have acquired at WR? Isles and Fuller have world-class speed. I mean these guys could well be among the top 20 in the world in terms of pure speed. Ross and Ogletree are no slouches either as both get open with speed rather than precise route running. Who would you like at WR Coach under Whisenhunt (we all know he’s the next HC)?

    • Kent Lee Platte, TSB Senior Writer Reply Kent Lee Platte, TSB Senior Writer Jan 12, 2014 10:08 AM

      I may, possibly, be working on my “On The Bubble” articles already. Those may, in turn, reference this article for dollar amounts =)

      Still, always open to suggestion. I’m not always right, heck, I’m not even mostly right (oh, my bruised ego), but I always try!

  3. Dave Brown, TSB Senior Writer Reply Dave Brown, TSB Senior Writer Jan 12, 2014 1:56 PM

    I think the Lions will once again have to look to the draft for a receiver, and it looks like that #10 spot in the first round is almost a lock for that to be where it will happen. With the coaching staff in flux, it’s hard to say what they will do in free agency. There are a few big names out there at receiver, but they do come with a high price tag, and sometimes off the field issues.

    It’s possible the Lions find a #2 in free agency, but I doubt it. That Burleson contract is begging for a restructure, probably too high a number. He could have played his last season as a Lion.

  4. Reply Chad Feb 10, 2014 6:31 PM

    Keep in mind the june 1st designations, We get two of them… So its possible a few diff players could get that, Hopefully not… But its a possibility

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: