With the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine officially in the rear view mirror, it is now time for fans to turn their attention to one of the largest, if not the largest, events of the NFL offseason. I’m talking about free agency.
While all outlets have been focused on the players who have expiring contracts and are going to hit the open market, this isn’t including the players who will be considered “cap casualties” and will be given their outright release to make sure the team is salary cap compliant as of March 15th at 4 p.m. ET, the start of the new league year.
The Minnesota Vikings started this process by cutting ties with long-time inside linebacker Eric Kendricks. The Vikings will save $9.5 million on their salary cap with the move, and entering Monday they were approximately $24.4 million over the salary cap, according to OverTheCap.com.
When it comes to getting cap compliant, all teams will have to manage their salary cap to get under the NFL $224.8 million salary cap set forth in 2023.
Cutting players isn’t the only way in which teams can become cap compliant. They can also restructure deals and give extensions to lighten the load this season. However, if players are released, they become an option for teams who are able to make additions to their roster, rather than simply trimming the proverbial fat.
While the Steelers aren’t in the best salary cap position, there is one thing they can hang their hat on. That is the simple fact they are not needing to cut players just to become cap compliant. They have simple ways to create salary cap space to sign players, both their own and outside free agents, but they are already under the aforementioned 2023 salary cap.
When you see players like Kendricks hitting the open market, and the Steelers desperately in need of help at inside linebacker, you have to wonder if the team is considering kicking the tires on the 31 year-old player.
Kendricks isn’t the only player who is being let go, and he won’t be the last either. At the NFL Scouting Combine our own Andrew Wilbar was in attendance and spoke about how it is expected former Steelers turned Tennessee Titans pass rusher Bud Dupree will be a cap casualty for the Titans. The rumors swirling around Indianapolis were if/when that happens, a reunion in Pittsburgh is a very real possibility.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network is reporting this move is just a matter of time until it becomes official.
The #Titans are expected to release pass-rusher Bud Dupree, sources say, the former big-ticket FA signing who was due $17M this season. More player turnover to reallocate resources, as another veteran pass-rusher hits the market.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 6, 2023
In the meantime, be on the lookout for players like Kendricks, and possibly Dupree, who are deemed expendable and are released for cap reasons, as potential additions to the Steelers’ roster. Is this something the team has done frequently in the past? Not necessarily, but with Omar Khan now at the helm, you can’t make any pre-conceived notions about how the team will handle their roster as if Kevin Colbert was still the General Manager (GM).
Should the Steelers consider a player like Kendricks? What if Dupree is cut, would you welcome him back into the 412? Let us know in the comment section below, and if you want more rumors which were swirling around the combine, check out the latest podcast in the player below. In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for free agency and the 2023 NFL Draft.
These type of Steelers rumors were the main focus on my Monday “Let’s Ride” podcast. You can listen to the episode in the player below: