Players don’t get cut because they’re bad. They get released because their performance doesn’t equal the amount of money they’re getting paid. That’s life in the NFL, which means names such as Ryan Fitzpatrick for the Buffalo Bills, Will Smith of the New Orleans Saints and James Harrison from the Pittsburgh Steelers all might get cut to clear some cap room for their teams.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills
Expensive quarterbacks, even if they aren’t doing too well, don’t usually get caught. Still, Ryan Fitzpatrick has showed time and time again he isn’t the guy to build a franchise around. While the Bills might not be any closer to finding the guy who will bring this team back in contention after so many years of failures, the 30 year old out of Harvard is probably not the answer. Cutting him will clear $10.4 million off the books, and maybe find someone who’ll can improve from being one of the worst in the NFL when it comes to adjusted accuracy percentage with 27.5%, second lowest in the league.
Corey Webster, New York Giants – Webster, a two time Super Bowl champion with the New York Giants did have 4 interceptions this season, but it’s cleary somewhat of a fig leaf to his constant inability to cover wide receivers. He allowed 988 yards in coverage this season, third highest of all cornerbacks; 8 touchdowns, second highest in his position and 1.72 yards allowed per snap in coverage allowed in coverage. Like the rest of the Giants defense, he got by on past reputation, and his $9.8 million salary just isn’t worth what he brings to the field.
Eric Wright, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Another cornerback that at $7.7 million is just too expensive for what he brings to the field, not to mention the PED suspension, and his 1.65 yards allowed per snap in coverage is eighth worst of all cornerbacks to spend at least 300 snaps in coverage. Wright was actually outplayed this season both E.J. Biggers and undrafted free-agent rookie Leonard Johnson.
Will Smith, New Orleans Saints
At $14.5 million, Smith needs to be one of the best defensive ends in football, but the numbers suggest exactly the opposite. Smith and the Saints’ defensive unit has been on the decline for a few years, and this season, his 37 combined sacks, hits and hurries ranked only 29th among 4-3 DE’s, despite his 551 attempts to get to the quarterback being the 4th highest in the NFL.
James Harrison, Pittsburgh Steelers – After 11 seasons in the NFL, Harrison, a five time Pro Bowler and two time All-Pro is no longer one of the most explosive pass-rushing linebackers in the NFL. Injuries have slowed him down and he finished with only 6 sacks in 2012, his lowest production since 2006, before he was a regular starter. Jason Worilds seems to be the next big thing for the Steelers, and Harrison’s $10.3 million salary seems to be a bit too much.