Now that the NFL is back to its regular offseason schedule, we get to go back to some events that were mostly lost in the midst of last year's chaos. The coming new league year means teams that are over the salary cap will be scrambling to get back under the salary cap. The cap is not expected to increase all that much from 2011 to 2012, which means teams that had back-loaded previous deals might find themselves paying the piper this year.
Teams have a variety of options at their disposal when it comes to getting back under the salary cap. The two most likely options are restructuring contracts and releasing players. When teams cannot come to terms with a player on a lower base salary, that often results in a release.
Jason La Canfora put together a brief look at some of the players facing sizable roster bonuses and base salaries (thanks to rlott#42 for FS'ing it) and discussed which ones might find themselves looking for a new job in the coming weeks. I took those name and posted them after the jump in alphabetical order by team so it is a bit easier to figure them out. La Canfora provides detail on several of the players.
Not all of the players listed will be released this offseason. Frank Gore is not going anywhere. Mark Sanchez is not going anywhere. And of course Tom Brady is not going anywhere. Rather, this is simply a list of players with bonuses due, followed by players with big base salaries.
Some of the cornerbacks that could become available are intriguing. For some of the base salary guys, they do not need to be released until closer to June 1. That makes it a little more difficult to consider rolling the dice on them. Nonetheless, some of these guys will be available over the next month. Do you see the 49ers making a move on any of them?
Bengals CB Leon Hall - $5 million
Broncos CB Champ Bailey - $3 million
Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb - $7 million
Cowboys WR Dez Bryant - $1.44 million
Eagles DT Cullen Jenkins - $5 million
49ers RB Frank Gore - $3.6 million
Jaguars WR Mike Thomas - $3.5 million
Jaguars TE Marcedes Lewis - $3 million
Jets CB Antonio Cromartie - $3 million
Jets QB Mark Sanchez - $2.75 million
Packers Donald Driver - $2.2 million
Patriots QB Tom Brady - $6 million
Raiders S Michael Huff $4 million
Ravens WR Lee Evans' - $1 million
Cardinals OT Levi Brown counting - $17 million against the cap, $8M+ in base salary
Chargers OT Marcus McNeill - $10.5 million
Cowboys CB Terence Newman - $6 million
Jaguars DE Aaron Kampman - $4.6 million
Raiders LBs Aaron Curry - $5.75 million base salary
Raiders LB Rolando McClain - off the field issues
Raiders LB Kamerion Wimbley - $11 million
Raiders DL Tommy Kelly - $6 million
Rams OT Jason Smith - $10 million
Ravens CB Domonique Foxworth - $7 million
Redskins TE Chris Cooley - $3.8 million
Steelers WR Hines Ward - $4 million
Steelers OT Willie Colon - $4.5 million
Vikings CB Antoine Winfield - $7 million
Vikings CB Cedric Griffin - $4.1 million
Vikings OG Steve Hutchinson - $6.95 million