As we approach Free Agency, teams will create some cap space by letting some of their expensive veterans go. The NFL cap is projected to be at $208M, up $26M from last off-season. Here are six of the most likely cut candidates as free agency nears:
Cole Beasley, WR, Buffalo Bills.
Earlier this week, it was reported that the Bills brass gave Beasley permission to seek a trade. This past season, Beasley totaled 82 receptions for 693 yards & one TD. A release/trade would save the team $6.1M in cap space, which would be great for the Bills who only have $-3M in cap space. Beasley, 32, can still be a good WR for a team missing a slot receiver.
Za’Darious Smith, LB, Green Bay Packers.
Smith, 29, missed last season with a back injury that nagged him since the start of training camp. In 2020, Smith played in 15 games & totaled 12.5 sacks, 52 tackles, 23 QB hits, and 39 pressures. With the Packers about $30M over the cap, releasing Smith saves the team $15M in cap space.
Jarvis Landry, WR, Cleveland Browns.
Landry had a tough year in 2021, playing most of the season with a sprained knee. Still, Landry played in 12 games & totaled 570 yards & two TDs. Landry can still be an explosive receiver once fully healthy, just may not be in Cleveland as they look to clear up some cap space. The Athletic reported that Jarvis is unlikely to agree to a restructured contract, and a series of tweets sent by Jarvis mentioning that the “ball is in their court” in terms of his future. If so, the Browns could move on from him.
Blake Martinez, LB, New York Giants.
Martinez has been rumored to be on his way out of NY since the season ended, and now it’s heated up since new GM Joe Schoen was hired. In 2020, Martinez signed a three year/$30M with the Giants. Since then, Martinez has played in one full season, totaling 140 tackles, one INT, and 5 passes defended. In 2021, Martinez suffered a torn ACL in week three. Martinez, 28, will still provide a team with quality depth. The Giants have been making a flurry of cuts since Schoen was hired, and Martinez could be the next one out.
Joe Schobert, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers.
In 2021, Schobert was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers from the Jacksonville Jaguars. Since then, he has totaled 112 tackles, and 1 QB hit. Releasing Schobert saves the Steelers $7M in cap space. With Robert Spillane & Devin Bush on the roster as their other inside LBs, Schobert has been mentioned as one of the top cut candidates, seeing as the Steelers won’t pay him $8M to split time.
Preston Smith, LB, Green Bay Packers.
Since coming to the Packers in 2019, Smith has been a consistent player on their defense, totaling 25 sacks, 136 tackles, and three forced fumbles. Smith is in the final year of his four year/$52M deal, and releasing him would save $12M in cap space. The Packers will need to create around $60M in cap to bring back Davante Adams & extend Aaron Rodgers, and letting go of Smith should be considered.
The NFL’s tampering period begins on March 14th at 12:00 EST.