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NFL Chopping Block: Big-Names That Could Be Cut In 2023

Building a roster that can win Super Bowls is a tough task. It costs a lot of money and usually requires a superstar or two. The harsh reality is that eventually, those superstars are not worth the price tag anymore. Whether that means trading them or simply cutting them, every star burns out and has a time to go.

With the 2023 NFL offseason fast approaching, we have already seen guys like Derek Carr confirm they are moving on. There are plenty of big names that could hit the free agent market sooner rather than later. That being said, here are some big names that could hit the chopping block for the 2023 NFL offseason.

This is the most obvious player that will see the chopping block first. Wentz had an injury filled season which was disappointing. He also had plenty of chances to prove his worth and fell short. In eight games, Wentz struggled as he finished with 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Went threw three interceptions against Cleveland in Week 17 alone in a loss that ended the Commanders playoff hopes. That being said, Wentz carries a non-guaranteed $26.2 million cap hit. The key word here is “non-guaranteed” so Wentz’ time in Washington is most definetely done. He will likely end up on his fourth team and be the backup wherever that is in the NFL.

Next up, we have a big name from the Titans that seemed unlikely until this past season. The Titans are likely prepping for large amounts of change this offseason. The first domino to fall will have to be Ryan Tannehill and his $36.6 million cap hit for 2023. Tannehill was injured for most of the 2022 campaign as he only played in 12 games. If the Titans decide to release him, they can save $27 million if the move is designated as a post-June 1 cut.

This would be the first step for the Titans to begin a new era at quarterback considering they have Josh Dobbs and Malik Willis.

The next domino behind Tannehill will be the man who protected his blind side in Taylor Lewan who is guaranteed none of his $14 million salary in 2023. The final domino will be cutting receiver Robert Woods to save around $12 million. The Titans are due for major changes and Ryan Tannehill is past his expiration date.

The 2022 campaign was a disappointing one for Zeke especially after a disappointing performance against San Fran to end the year. Zeke finished with a career low 876 rushing yards despite having 12 rushing touchdowns on the year. There is no doubt that Zeke is not at the level he was three years ago. So, is cutting Zeke the answer?

Well, this move depends fully on Tony Pollard healing from his fractured tibula. If Pollard heals correctly, there is plenty of reason to believe that he will be shifted into the lead running back role.

If Zeke is “cut after June 1st”, he carries a cap hit of only $5.8 million versus $16.7 million. Dallas will want to save up that extra $10.9 million if they plan to keep Tony Pollard around. Zeke has stated he is open to take a pay cut to stay in Dallas but at some point the financial side of the NFL will kick in and Zeke has a hefty price tag. Jerry Jones might like running backs but the price has to be right to keep Zeke in town.

Michael Thomas might have been the best receiver in the NFL at one point but that time is past. The Saints and Thomas agreed to a restructured contract but he is not worth the price tag anymore. The Saints dropped his salary from $15.5 million to $1.2 million and added a $31.8 million roster bonus for 2024, which becomes guaranteed on March 17, 2023.

Thomas has played in only ten games in the last three seasons. A price tag of $31.8 million for a player who is long past his time means it is time for the chopping block. The Saints have a promising young receiving core in Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed which helps. If the Saints designate Thomas as a “post-June 1st cut”, they take about a $15 million hit the next two seasons which is manageable.

Finally, we have probably the biggest name on this list in Derek Carr. The Raiders QB made it crystal clear that he will not be with the Raiders in 2023. This is the only situation on this list that is a guaranteed move. The only question left is whether he gets cut, released, or traded.

The ideal situation for Vegas is to release him and save a whopping $29.3 million if he is released by June 1st. The Raiders would save even more money if he is released after June 1st. However, the Raiders would like something more than just saving money. Trading Carr for picks or players is expected at least until his contract locks in in February.

Carr only makes this list because he is a big free agent and releasing him or trading him is just as big as cutting him. The Raiders want to save money or get something for him so cutting him would be illadvised. Only time will tell what the Raiders decide is best for their “former” franchise quarterback.

Final Thoughts On The 2023 NFL Chopping Block

The 2023 NFL chopping block will be fun to watch. Many teams are going to begin making changes and the dominoes will fall. Superstars might be on the move and cutting them might be unavoidable. Money talks in the NFL and sometimes it is best to put in ear plugs and ignore the money talk and begin a new phase for the franchise.

 
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