2019 Salary Cap Check -- Players Most Likely To Be Released or Traded, And The Fantasy Impact (AFC East)
I’m doing a new research piece for 2019 – looking at all the salary caps and salary situations team-by-team and seeing if there is going to be any fantasy-impactful cuts coming up…a cut where a good player could wind up cut and goes right into a better fantasy spot, and/or the cut opens up a younger player for an opportunity for Week 1 that doesn’t seem as possible in the summer.
Additionally, I’m looking at the same for possible players to be traded…will it help the player and/or open up an opportunity.
I don’t want to get caught by surprise by moves, nor do I want to trust any ESPN, etc., type article on a similar topic – because what the hell do they know about any of these talents anyway? I’ll do my own research and pass it on for us to consider.
We’ll go through division-by-division and just see what might be happening in the months ahead and players to watch out for who are most impacted.
*Buffalo is top 3 in salary cap space available, so they need do nothing with contracts to open up space. Which is good news because all they have are upside down contracts with top players making money that they couldn’t really cut anywhere without looking stupid.
Looking at the whole gamut of contracts and players here…what a mess. This team is not contending for a Super Bowl anytime soon – they’re a gritty, hard-nosed team led by defense, but they don’t have the horses to pull off anything magical in 2019 and beyond (from the looks of things).
Most impactful player who could be released: RB Marcus Murphy
Who really cares, right? I’m just pointing this out because the Bills have so many silly RB deals under wraps it’s embarrassing. Murphy is an easy cut ($700K to keep, $0 cap hit to cut) in order for the Bills to keep the likes of Frank Gore and T.J. Yeldon.
Possibly traded: RB LeSean McCoy
If I were the Bills GM, this would be done within my first 48 hours on the job. There is no need for the Bills to carry McCoy into a lame duck, pending free agency at the end of this season. They could get nice value out of him trading him to a contender – which they will likely do by the trade deadline if not a mild shocker deal before the season.
Young player cut to watch where he lands: QB Tyree Jackson
I think with some decent coaching/guidance, Jackson could be a legit NFL starter. He’s not likely to get that in Buffalo, and it would be important for management to move him out so as not to pressure soon-to-bust-but-Buffalo-doesn’t-realize-it QB Josh Allen.
If Jackson makes the team, he’s a threat to be starting by season’s end…by attrition. If he’s released and picked up by another team…Tyree may have to wait years for a chance. Staying in Buffalo is his best shot to start quickly.
Fantasy action items here: The backup RBs here are in a position to matter if LeSean McCoy is dealt. Devin Singletary is really in a perfect position, but likely Gore-Yeldon would get first dibs. It’s possible Frank Gore will be your Week 1 starter here. I like Tyree Jackson, so let’s hope he stays here to orchestrate a military coup to take the job from Josh Allen.
*Miami is sitting middle of the pack for cap space available, but they are going nowhere so it really doesn’t matter.
Also, looking at their top paid players…they literally cannot get out of anything without taking a bigger hit to cut than keep on almost every top player. Miami is a mess.
Most impactful player who could be released: WR Jakeem Grant
I’m a Grant fan. I see some poor man’s Tyreek Hill potential here. Grant started to make some hay last year and then got hurt and missed most of the season. He’s not a new regime’s ‘guy’, and he’ll be a free agent after the season – even though he should be a starter, he could be released if he’s not fully back from injury this preseason.
Possibly traded: WR DeVante Parker
The new regime has the opening to just dump this bust, and there will be NFL takers who think they’ll coach him up/out of it.
Young player cut to watch where he lands: RB Mark Walton
They signed Walton to a one-year deal after the Bengals cut him for several off-field messes. The Dolphins are in need at RB, and Walton may have just played his way into a scenario where he could be seeing touches this season…or if he’s released, his career is probably over.
Fantasy action items here: I’m only watching Jakeem Grant – will he start for Miami (and then is an FF sleeper) or is he cut and on the move and we’ll have to see where he lands/is his career about punctured.
*The Patriots are in the bottom five for salary cap space, and they’re so smart at these things…I’m sure they’ll make the needed slices now…or later.
Most of what the Pats are doing, contractually, makes sense. Nothing too terrible or corrupting, as I look at it – as we would all expect with the Pats/Belichick.
Most impactful player who could be released: WR Demaryius Thomas
If DT still has gas in the tank and shows well in the preseason – N’Keal Harry may not start Week 1…or any week this year. If DT flops or is even just ‘as good’ as Harry…the savvy thing to do is keep Harry and dump DT to save $2.7M of his $2.9M contract.
Possibly traded: LB Elandon Roberts
There’s enough ex-Patriots coaching in the NFL who have worked with Elandon Roberts that someone can come get him – might be him heading to Miami. Roberts is good, but never featured for long for the Pats…and they have younger, cheaper LB talent coming up…and Roberts is in the last year of his deal.
If Roberts is on the move…he might be acquired to be a starting ILB, and possibly become a legit IDP option in 2019.
Young player cut to watch where he lands: WR Damoun Patterson
Patterson was the latest ‘next Antonio Brown’ hype rookie of the 2018 preseason for the Steelers, only to be released and wind up on the Patriots. I thought Patterson looked pretty good last preseason…so did the Pats, apparently.
I want to see if Demaryius goes…and then if Patterson can take advantage and make the roster as #4-5 WR. Or if this will be the near end of the NFL line for Patterson.
Fantasy action items here: What happens with Thomas has fantasy reverberations for him, and Harry and whether guys like Mo Harris or Damoun Patterson make the team.
I’m an Elandon Roberts fan, so if he stays – that’s a nice endorsement, but not exciting for IDP. If he goes…it means another LB who I like might have made a push within New England – Christian Sam (my top-rated ILB from 2018 scouting).
*The Jets are in the middle of the pack in salary cap space…and they have a new GM, so we’ll see what approach they take for 2019 – save money/prep for the future or go on a spending spree to make some kind of ill-fated run at it in 2019?
Looking through their contracts…they’re so bad that they don’t have any real options to cut and save money. This is one of the worst run teams in the NFL by far and have been for years. What an absolute mess.
Most impactful player who could be released: None
I’ve gone through most of the NFL divisions for this study by now…and this is probably the worst, by far, 2019 situation I’ve seen. Crappy players on terrible contracts rule the day here. Man, how can anyone be a Jets’ fan…
There’s literally not a player that makes sense to cut, economically…not any that matter at all. The 2019 deals are mostly all upside down and/or just starting (and look bad/overspent).
Possibly traded: WR Robby Anderson
I think Anderson is a talent, and most agree with that…I just happened to have noticed it and trumpeted it in 2016 when the experts ignored him, and he went undrafted. However, he’s talented but a mess off the field. He’s the kind of player a junk team in transition like the Jets needs to sell-high on…before he hits free agency next year and/or before he burns them off the field.
That’s what a smart team would do.
Guess what the Jets will do? Right…keep him and sign him to a big, expensive long-term deal.
Young player cut to watch where he lands: QB Davis Webb
How this guy isn’t in demand, I have no idea…but, then again, it’s par for the course in the NFL. It will be interesting to see if Webb is the #2 QB here and a heartbeat away when Darnold lets everyone down. OR…does he get released and his former coach Kliff Kingsbury grabs him as a backup buried, waiting for a Kyler injury.
Fantasy action items here: I’m interested to see what the new group does with Webb…it lets me know how swift they are or aren’t (and I don’t think they are). I’d be really impressed if they traded Robby and that would boost his fantasy value…anywhere but NYJ (or Buffalo).
My guess is they cut Webb and sign Robby to a ridiculous deal.