NFL players who could be salary-cap casualties this offseason
Isaiah J. Downing/USA Today Images

NFL players who could be salary-cap casualties this offseason

The NFL salary cap presents challenges for teams each offseason as they try to build the best roster possible under the cap. The following 25 players are prime cut candidates this offseason, offering both cap and roster savings opportunities for their teams in 2021 and possibly beyond.

 
1 of 25

Mario Addison, DE, Bills

Mario Addison, DE, Bills
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After playing under Sean McDermott in Carolina earlier in his career, Addison signed on with McDermott's Bills last season. His production as a situational pass rusher at age 33 was somewhat disappointing with only five sacks, and Buffalo can save over $6 million against the cap by cutting him.

 
2 of 25

Kwon Alexander, LB, Saints

Kwon Alexander, LB, Saints
Derick E. Hingle / USA Today Sports Images

Alexander was acquired from San Francisco last season, and the oft-injured linebacker performed relatively well with 27 tackles in seven games. However, with no guaranteed salary remaining on his career, the Saints have an opportunity to get out from under his huge contract as they try to create much-needed cap space.

 
3 of 25

Robert Alford, CB, Cardinals

Robert Alford, CB, Cardinals
Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today Sports Images

Alford's NFL career is now at a crossroads after missing consecutive seasons to injuries. He enters the final year of his three-year deal, and will likely need to settle for a league minimum contract if and when the Cardinals cut him in the final year of his deal.

 
4 of 25

Geno Atkins, DT, Bengals

Geno Atkins, DT, Bengals
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Atkins should eventually retire as a Bengal, but moving on from Cincinnati, for now, seems inevitable. The Bengals could save $9.5 million against the cap but cutting the veteran, and he played only eight games last season due to a shoulder injury.

 
5 of 25

Cameron Brate, TE, Buccaneers

Cameron Brate, TE, Buccaneers
Bob Donnan / USA Today Sports Images

Brate has been a nice secondary piece for the Bucs, but he was making far too much money for a third tight end. The Bucs can save over $6 million against the cap by cutting him this offseason.

 
6 of 25

John Brown, WR, Bills

John Brown, WR, Bills
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The speedy Brown slipped a bit in an injury-plagued 2020 season, and his role in the Bills offense also dwindled following the addition of Stefon Diggs. Buffalo stands to save nearly $8 million against the cap by cutting him.

 
7 of 25

Malcolm Butler, CB, Titans

Malcolm Butler, CB, Titans
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Butler has been a solid starter for Tennessee since he signed in 2018, but it remains to be seen if the Titans can afford him. The team can save over $10 million in 2021 by cutting the veteran corner.

 
8 of 25

Marcus Cannon, OT, Patriots

Marcus Cannon, OT, Patriots
Greg M. Cooper / USA Today Sports Images

Cannon was one of several prominent opt-outs for the Patriots last season, but the team was able to make do without their long-time starting right tackle. He's signed through 2022 but would give the Pats significant cap relief if he's cut this offseason.

 
9 of 25

Jurrell Casey, DT, Broncos

Jurrell Casey, DT, Broncos
Isaiah J. Downing / USA Today Sports Images

After making the Pro Bowl in five consecutive seasons, Casey's arrival in Denver didn't go as planned in 2020 due to a second-ending biceps injury in Week 3. The team can save nearly $12 million against the cap by cutting Casey, almost a no-brainer given his age.

 
10 of 25

Brandin Cooks, WR, Texans

Brandin Cooks, WR, Texans
Christopher Hanewinckel / USA Today Sports Images

The Texans might be in full rebuild mode if they're forced to trade Deshaun Watson, and Cooks would be another player they move on from. Although he has three monster years on his contract, he has no guaranteed money remaining. At the very least, a trade could be a possibility as the team looks toward the future.

 
11 of 25

Tyler Eifert, TE, Jaguars

Tyler Eifert, TE, Jaguars
Reihold Matay / USA Today Sports Images

The Jags took a flier on Eifert last offseason, but he had only 36 catches and two scores in the struggling Jacksonville offense. Jacksonville is incentivized to go in another direction with a cut saving them over $5 million in 2021.

 
12 of 25

William Gholston, DE, Buccaneers

William Gholston, DE, Buccaneers
Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA Today Sports Images

Gholston has still his entire eight-year career in Tampa Bay and saw 12 starters during 2020. Still, his production has been relatively light recently, and the Bucs can save $5.5 million by cutting him.

 
13 of 25

Jimmy Graham, TE, Bears

Jimmy Graham, TE, Bears
Dale Zanine / USA Today Sports Images

Graham signed a two-year deal with Chicago last year and was a fine Red Zone option with eight touchdowns in 2020. However, he's continued to have trouble getting open down the field, and Chicago can save $7 million against the cap by cutting the 34-year-old.

 
14 of 25

Alshon Jeffery, WR, Eagles

Alshon Jeffery, WR, Eagles
Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today Sports Images

It's a wonder the marriage between the Eagles and Jeffery has lasted this long, with both sides seemingly unhappy. Philly doesn't have a cap incentive to move on here, but Jeffery's roster spot could be enough after appearing in only seven games with six catches in 2020.

 
15 of 25

David Johnson, RB, Texans

David Johnson, RB, Texans
Andrew Nelles / USA Today Sports Images

No one was surprised when the Texans didn't get as much as they bargained for in the DeAndre Hopkins trade, though Johnson did have a decent 2020 season with 1,005 yards from scrimmage in 12 games. His potential cap number of over $8 million is still far too much, especially for a team that's unlikely to compete next season.

 
16 of 25

Von Miller, OLB, Broncos

Von Miller, OLB, Broncos
Isaiah J. Downing / USA Today Sports Images

Miller missed all of 2020 due to an ankle injury, and rumors persist that the team is ready to move on. The franchise star is easily the team's highest-paid player and would save them $18 million against the cap in 2021 if he were to be cut.

 
17 of 25

Mitch Morse, OC, Bills

Mitch Morse, OC, Bills
Mark Konezny / USA Today Sports Images

Morse has continued to be a solid presence at center since signing a lucrative deal in 2019, but concussions remain a concern. He has two years remaining on his deal, with Buffalo gaining nearly $5 million against the cap in 2021 if they move on.

 
18 of 25

David Njoku, TE, Browns

David Njoku, TE, Browns
Joseph Maiorana / USA Today Sports Images

Njoku seemed disgruntled after the Browns signed Austin Hooper last offseason, but the former first-round pick stuck around to make 19 catches in 13 regular-season games. He has no guaranteed salary in the final year of his contract, with Cleveland set to gain over $6 million against the cap if they cut Njoku.

 
19 of 25

Sheldon Richardson, DT, Browns

Sheldon Richardson, DT, Browns
Scott Galvin / USA Today Sports Images

Richardson has been an important part of Cleveland's defensive line over the last two years but is now over the hump entering his age 31 season. He's due a huge payday in 2021, including a massive $11.5 million cap savings in the final year of his contract.

 
20 of 25

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers
Joseph Maiorana / USA Today Sports Images

Roethlisberger has already stated he will do what it takes to remain in Pittsburgh, but do the Steelers feel the same? He showed major signs of age down the stretch last season, and the team clearly can't afford his cap number of over $41 million next season. At some point, Pittsburgh has to consider the future at quarterback, and those considerations could come sooner than later.

 
21 of 25

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings

Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings
Mike Dinovo / USA Today Sports Images

Rudolph remains a fan favorite in Minnesota, but he's also seen his role dwindle over the last two years following the addition of Irv Smith Jr. The Vikings desperately need to make some roster changes this offseason and can save over $5 million against the cap by cutting Rudolph.

 
22 of 25

Mitchell Schwartz, RT, Chiefs

Mitchell Schwartz, RT, Chiefs
Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today Sports Images

Schwartz was an elite and durability lineman until 2020 when he struggled somewhat earlier in the year before a season-ending back injury. He enters the final year of his contract at age 32 with legitimate concerns he could be on the downswing. The Chiefs could save over $6 million against the cap by cutting Schwartz.

 
23 of 25

Danny Shelton, DT, Lions

Danny Shelton, DT, Lions
Reinhold Matay / USA Today Sports Images

The Matt Patricia era is over in Detroit, but his roster changes could hurt the team for years to come. Shelton, a former Patriot, was one of those tailor-made additions, and cutting him would save the team $4 million against the cap.

 
24 of 25

Trai Turner, OG, Chargers

Trai Turner, OG, Chargers
Kirby Lee / USA Today Sports Images

Turner joined LA last season after five consecutive Pro Bowls in Carolina, but he played only nine games due to injuries. If the Chargers think the injury issues are the start of a trend, they would be smart to cut Turner and save $11.5 million against the cap in 2021.

 
25 of 25

Kevin Zeitler, OG, Giants

Kevin Zeitler, OG, Giants
Brian Fluharty / USA Today Sports Images

Zeitler has been a solid contributor for the Giants over the last two seasons, but the team has to start thinking about the cap with Daniel Jones' check coming due soon. The team could save $12 million against the cap by cutting Zeitler before June 1.

Seth Trachtman is a fantasy sports expert and diehard Kansas City Chiefs fan still hoping for a Super Bowl win during his lifetime. He doesn't often Tweet, but when he does, you can find him on Twitter @sethroto.

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