The Arizona Cardinals have 21 players scheduled to reach free agency this offseason and if they want to keep some of them in Arizona, General Manager Steve Keim has some maneuvering to do when it comes to the salary cap. A lot of that can be done by restructuring the contracts of currently signed players, but there will also need to be some tough cuts made in order to clear enough room for guys that will command big new deals, such as Calais Campbell or Chandler Jones.
Here are some candidates for release. All numbers come from overthecap.com and are pre-June 1st cuts.
Tyvon Branch- $1.75 million dead money, $2.75 million savings: Branch was underwhelming in his first year in the desert, playing in just 6 games total and spending the rest on Injured Reserve (which he was put on twice). With the emergence of Justin Bethel as a slot defender and the hopeful healthy return of Tyrann Mathieu, Branch may be a redundant piece on the defense. I see him as a very high possibility in being released to create cap room.
Troy Niklas- $311,509 dead money, $968,631 savings: So far into his career, Niklas has been nothing short of a bust. The former Notre Dame tight end hasn't been able to stay healthy and even when he has, his effectiveness has been extremely limited. The Cardinals may look to retain either Jermaine Gresham or Darren Fells, both of whom are scheduled to be free agents. Cutting Niklas could help in getting some money to retain them.
Kareem Martin- $141,890 dead money, $710,000 savings: With Chandler Jones in town and Markus Golden budding into a very good pass rusher, Martin has been relegated solely to special teams duties. And given the impact special teams had throughout this season, that unit could probably stand to acquire some new talent. Hopefully Martin can realize some of the potential he was thought to have on another team.
Daryl Washington- $2.5 million dead money, $4.67 million savings: Lol
What do you think, Cardinals fans? There are plenty of other cuts the Cardinals could potentially make, but with so many free agents, the players they don't want to keep could simply not be re-signed. Who else do you think could be a cap casualty?