Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/31/13
NFL player contracts are primarily year-to-year propositions because they aren't fully guaranteed like NBA and MLB contracts. Players are released in each off-season due to the salary cap or because their performances don't justify their salaries. Here's a look at twelve guys with 2014 contracts that could be playing for new teams next year. Julius Peppers (DE)-Chicago Bears Julius Peppers has been missing in action during too many games this year. The six-time All-Pro only has one sack in seven games and three different contests where he didn't record a single statistic. He appears to have hit the wall in his 12th NFL season. Peppers has averaged slightly over 10 sacks per year since joining the Bears in 2010 when he signed a six-year, $84 million contract (worth a maximum of $91.5 million through incentives). The 33-year old has a $14 million salary in 2014 and an $18,183,333 cap number. The Bears will gain $9,816,665 of cap room by releasing Peppers after the season. Chris Johnson (RB)-Tennessee Titans Chris Johnson's prediction of a second season with more than 2,000 rushing yards isn't coming to fruition. He is on track for his first NFL season with less than 1,000 rushing yards and is averaging a career low 3.2 yards per rushing attempt despite the additions of Andy Levitre and Chance Warmack to the offensive line. In 2009, Johnson broke Marshall Faulk's yards-from-scrimmage record with 2,509 yards while also gaining over 2,000 yards on the ground. He hasn't been the same player since that season. Johnson signed a four-year, $53.975 million contract extension in 2011 after a lengthy pre-season holdout. He has the NFL's second highest 2014 cap number for a running back at $10 million. If Johnson can't overcome a slow start, like he has in previous years, the Titans may be more comfortable having him count on the cap as $4 million in dead money (a cap charge for a player no longer on the roster) than paying him $8 million in 2014. Mark Sanchez (QB)-New York Jets Geno Smith won the quarterback competition with Mark Sanchez by default when Sanchez suffered a season-ending injury to his right shoulder during the preseason. His days in New York appear to be numbered even though Smith is experiencing some growing pains in his rookie campaign. Sanchez is scheduled to make $11.5 million in 2014 with a $13.1 million cap number. Two million of Sanchez's 2014 salary is a 15th day of the league year (March 25) roster bonus. The Jets will gain $8.3 million of 2014 cap room by releasing Sanchez before the roster bonus is payable.
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