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2019 Salary Cap Check -- Players Most Likely To Be Released or Traded, And The Fantasy Impact (AFC West)

June 25, 2019 5:23 PM
June 25, 2019 5:22 PM
June 25, 2019 5:23 PM
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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.

Kansas City:

*Looking at the Chiefs contracts – the new GM who had full control in 2018 looks like he’s possibly a total idiot. He’s ruining a Super Bowl opportunity. Sammy Watkins (only a $19M cap hit this year) and Anthony Hitchens (only $10M cap hit this year)…ridiculous contracts last year was awful and the Tyrann Mathieu deal ($27M guaranteed) is 2x as stupid, spending on a safety no one really seems to want after they get a chance to possess him (HOU and ARI). Sorry to my KC fans. You’re the Aaron Rodgers’ Green Bay Packers ahead – possessing, arguably, the best QB in the league and the team will not dominate the league because of weak coaching and fiscal mismanagement. Nice draft pick…Mecole Hardman…silly. But, still, the QB/Mahomes could put the team on his back for a Super Bowl title within a decade…but he should/could bank 2-3-4 of them if the GM wasn’t undermining him.

Most impactful player who could be released: QB Chad Henne

Before you laugh…note I had to go Henne because the Chiefs either have stars to keep or disastrous contracts they cannot get out of in 2019. Cutting Henne saves about $2M.

I picked Henne because the Mahomes replacement could be interesting if they didn’t suck. How the Chiefs could have a Super Bowl contender and have Henne as the fail-safe is dereliction of duty.

I mention Henne more for young backup Chase Litton…he looked not-so-bad last preseason. Caught my attention. He could inherit the throne if Mahomes goes down (and Henne is gone). He’s not as good as Mahomes, not close, but he’s not awful…maybe.

Reggie Ragland needs to go too, but that should be a given.

Possibly traded: WR Mecole Hardman

Hear me out. Let’s say Tyreek Hill is cleared across the board and gets just a 1-2 game suspension, and the Chiefs use this window to sign Tyreek long-term…to a more reasonable long-term deal. Why would they need Hardman? Especially when they hauled in Jamaal Custis, Cody Thompson, and Felton Davis via UDFA…all different, but better than Hardman overall. Plus, Byron Pringle and Marcus Kemp are really talented young WRs as well. I’d take all five of these guys ahead of Hardman, if I were a GM allowed to take young/non-starting-in-2019 WRs off KC for free.

So why not trade Hardman? Hiding behind the ‘Tyreek returns’ narrative? They worried he’d be gone for life, now it might two games? Trade the sizzle not the (bad) steak? Once people see him be mediocre, he’ll have little value ahead. This is too smart a theory for the spineless NFL (Steve Keim might do it), especially this questionably talented KC GM.

Young player cut to watch where he lands: WR Jamaal Custis, Cody Thompson, Felton Davis, Byron Pringle and/or Marcus Kemp.

Because the Chiefs will be too spineless to trade Hardman…they will have to cut 1-2 of the WRs listed above. I think there is NFL-starter talent in all of them, with Cody Thompson as maybe the weakest link.

Fantasy action items here: We’re definitely on WR watch, but don’t rule out a Chase Litton deep-deep dynasty consideration if Henne is ditched, which he probably won’t be because ‘Andy Reid’.



*Oakland has plenty of cap space, so they are not pressed to cut anyone for fiscal reasons.

Most impactful player who could be released: RB Jalen Richard

There’s no reason to keep him. $3M due this season, but no hit to cut. If Richard is gone it opens up Chris Warren for more work as the clear #2. The more touches Warren gets…the more at-risk Josh Jacobs is of being shown up/having his touches split up more.

Possibly traded: SAF Karl Joseph

I think several NFL teams would like a shot at Joseph. His crime may be ‘doesn’t get along with Jon Gruden’, and that spells B-A-R-G-A-I-N to other teams because I don’t know many who respect Gruden’s personnel understanding inside the league.

Young player cut to watch where he lands: TE Paul Butler

He showed a little bit last preseason. He caught my attention. However, he has Waller-Moreau-Carrier-Willson-Swoope likely ahead of him. Not a star, but if a team is in desperate/emergency need of a TE come Week 1…

Fantasy action items here: Karl Joseph traded to a team that needs immediate safety help could launch Joseph back into the top 12 IDP DBs conversation, like he was for a moment back when he was a rookie.


L.A. Chargers:

*The Chargers are in decent shape salary cap wise heading into July 2019.

Most impactful player who could be released: LT Russell Okung

Not many eligible players for the Chargers to cut that makes fiscal and operational sense. Okung costs $15M in 2019 or gets cut for a $5M hit.

The loss of Okung would disorient the O-Line again. I really don’t think this will happen, but I had to put someone here.

Possibly traded: LB Jatavis Brown

I pray to the heavens above that he gets traded – a superstar waiting to happen, but the Chargers don’t even want to start him on purpose. PLEASE someone smart make this deal. Trade for him and sign him to a longer-term deal cheap now before he breaks out and gets expensive. He’s a free agent after this year, the perfect time to deal a guy they don’t want, apparently.

Another ‘not likely’ trade/cut situation here -- Keenan Allen is set to make $12M this year or could be cut for $4M…or traded for $4M hit if the receiving team picks up his costs otherwise. Allen enters his lame duck free agent year in 2020. The Chargers could get ahead of things with a big-time deal, but they fancy themselves a Super Bowl team so Okung will not be cut nor Allen traded.

Young player cut to watch where he lands: RB Jeremy Cox

I think the rookie is one of the three most talented RB prospects from the 2019 NFL Draft. A bruiser with speed who has terrific hands. He’ll not make the Chargers roster, I’m 99% sure. I just pray he gets into preseason work and shows out for all to see, so some team can grab him and put him to work when the Chargers drop him.

Fantasy action items here: Jatavis Brown will be a free agent next year and is likely going to a team that wants him to be ‘their guy’. Get ahead of this in deeper roster dynasty IDPs. Watch Jeremy Cox’s next landing spot -- actually, stuck on the Chargers practice squad would be fine. He’d be a Melvin Gordon injury away from being activated and blowing past Ekeler-Jackson.



*The Broncos are one of the bottom teams in cap space available. They are likely to cut one or two starter-level players this summer.

Most impactful player who could be released: WR Emmanuel Sanders

This team does not need Sanders at all. Nice to have, but not a need. They can pay him $13M this year, which he’s not worth, or they can cut him for a $4M hit. He will be cut or traded; I’m almost guaranteeing it.

DL Derek Wolfe could also go if needed. $11M to pay in 2019 or cut for just a $2M hit.

Possibly traded: WR Emmanuel Sanders

I’m sure some sucker team would take Sanders and give him a new 2-year deal to be their stop gap WR hope. One way or the other, I think Sanders is gone and then Sutton-Hamilton can be the true 1-2 punch.

Young player cut to watch where he lands: WR Trinity Benson

The rookie UDFA WR out of East Central OK college – 5’11”/182, runs a 4.44 40-time, 6.87 three-cone, 40.5” vertical. A 1st-team WR in his conference and worked in the return game as well.

Fantasy action items here: I guess we see if Sanders gets more interesting in a new landing spot? If/when Sanders is cut, the price for DaeSean Hamilton jumps…and probably for Courtland Sutton too. I’m thinking this will happen, which is why my Sutton projections are higher than most would agree with.