I just noted these salary cap figures in the four letter blog the other day.
Newman - $8MM
Spears – $2.7MM
Coleman - $2.3MM
Kosier - $2MM
In an earlier post, I looked at potential in house players who could step up next year and the likelihood of their doing that. We all know Newman ain’t going to be around much longer but the other guys on the list bear some looking at as well. If I evaluate the cap hit of these guys versus the level of play of potential replacements, I think the team could be improved by letting these guys go. Let’s look at them individually, follow me…..
Newman – He gave up nearly 10 yards per attempt against him. Maybe he was playing hurt, but that raises another issue, he’s always hurt. He is 34, his health is not going to get better, he is not going to get faster. He was ranked near the bottom out of over 100 cornerbacks by PFF numbers. I think his $8MM could be better spent elsewhere. You take a hit for cutting him but you can still free up $4-6MM by cutting him. Even if he is replaced by Scandrick and Butler (the in house candidates) the team’s performance can’t decline that much. Free agency offers some alternatives though most will be price prohibitive. The cap savings of cutting him could bring in a Terrell Thomas type, which I think would be an upgrade. The draft is deep in corners this year.
Spears – I just don’t see his impact as being worth his price tag. I don’t know what the hit would be if he were cut, but if you could save $1.5MM or more, I think you do it. If you don’t save much then keep him around as insurance.
Coleman – Like Spears bang for the buck ain’t there. In fact, I think he is a progress stopper for Lissemore. So either Spears or Coleman ought to go, if not both of them. I think between Lissemore, Brent, and Geathers there are guys capable of taking their snaps. I’d rather have a young guy with the potential to improve than what we know we will get out of Spears and Coleman.
Kosier – I have really liked him and what he brought to the team, but I think he is at the end of the road. Health issues keep popping up with this guy. There are no sure fire capable replacements on the team at this time, but I don’t think you can roll with him anymore, I just don’t think you can count on him staying healthy. The probability of him performing adequately over the course of a season is pretty low, so maybe you take a chance on Nagy, Kowalski, or Arkin being able to fill this spot.
So if all 4 of these guys are given their walking papers, cap savings could be on the order of $10MM or so. There will likely be some growing pains, but you also give some guys a chance to show you what they can do and they just might surprise you. The Boys seemed to apply the “it can’t be any worse theory” to the offensive line last year in the purge. I think they will use a more measured approach this year, but these are the prime candidates for purging this year.
I also think that getting rid of the highly paid, mediocre, older players has a beneficial effect on the team performance. The team will have younger guys with fresh legs for the December run. The performance of the team should improve as the year wears on and guys gain experience individually and playing as a team. It can also have a beneficial psychological impact in that the team knows performance matters not simply experience. If this same approach is applied annually then you start to develop a team mentality of perform at a high level or else, which is exactly what you want. I think this is a big part of the “process” that Garrett speaks about so much.