Not only are teams preparing for free agency and the NFL draft, it is also time to get under the salary cap and that means some big time players, with big time cap numbers, taking a hit. Here are some names to look at.
|Will Smith||43DE||Saints||$11,550,000||Missed all of 2013 due to injury....no place for him in New Orleans next season|
|Sam Bradford||QB||Rams||$10,420,000||Injury prone disappointing pick will be asked to renegotiate contract or be cut|
|Champ Bailey||CB||Broncos||$10,000,000||Legendary CB hasn't been healthy all season and about to turn 36...Broncos will likely first give option of retirment but its hard to see him back at this salary|
|Julius Peppers||43DE||Bears||$9,816,665||One of the most overpriced players in the NFL...Bears prepared to move on|
|Antonio Cromartie||CB||Jets||$9,500,000||Play has fallen off significantly in 2013...Salary no longer in line with play or cornerback market...Could return on minimum salary deal, but not worth much more|
|Mark Sanchez||QB||Jets||$8,300,000||Injured in preseason, but Jets were looking for reasons not to start him...QB problems for team could make them keep him through camp to compete for job...Incentive laden restructure possible|
|Santonio Holmes||WR||Jets||$8,250,000||Jets have wanted to release him since end of 2011 season...hurt for most of last two seasons...locker room cancer|
|Troy Polamalu||S||Steelers||$8,250,000||Former great no longer effective...undisciplined and instincts/athleticism no longer cover for it....Steelers salary cap in bad shape|
|Vince Wilfork||DT||Patriots||$8,000,000||32 year old DT suffered Achilles injury that ended his season...Run stuffers ability doesn't justify $11.6 mil cap number...Could see being released and then offered another deal if another team won't bite|
Many of these guys will re-work their deals, but you can expect some to hit the open market.
A few names that will be HOT, if healthy, are guys like Smith (NO), Peppers (CHI), Cromartie (NYJ) and Polamalu (PIT).
There are also some lesser known names like Chris Clemons, Sidney Rice, Antrell Rolle, Chris Snee, Ike Taylor, DeMeco Ryans, David Stewart, Levi Brown, Jason Babin, Davin Joseph, Paul Posluszny, and Marcedes Lewis. Won't attract like the others, but are still some solid NFL players.