Chopping blocked: Why salary cap creates casualties you least expect

02/24/16 by Matthew S. Vandriak

Life in the NFL isn't always fair. One season you're the face of the franchise and the favorite of the fans. But after a season side tracked by injuries or a decrease in productivity accompanied by an increase in age, you're looking less like a hero and more like a salary cap casualty. Let's take a look at 5 of the biggest names in the NFL who were franchise players not too long ago, but will most likely be looking for a new team soon.
Before Odell Beckham Jr. became Eli Manning's top target with the New York Giants, there was Victor Cruz. Cruz salsa danced his way into the hearts of Giants fans just a few seasons ago. But serious injuries have kept him off the field since October of 2014. And it's looking likely that if Cruz is able to play in 2016, he'll be wearing a different uniform.
Not long ago he was the NFL's leading rusher. But injuries have kept Arian Foster off the field for parts of the past few seasons. Those injuries combined with a $9 million dollar cap hit make it look pretty realistic that Foster and the Houston Texans will be parting ways prior to kickoff of the 2016 season.

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After a stellar rookie season in 2012 where he was taken with the 2nd overall pick in the NFL draft, it looked like the Washington Redskins had found a franchise quarterback in Robert Griffin III. After not playing in a single game in 2015, RG3's tenure with the Redskins appears to be over. The good news for the Redskins is they'll save $16 million dollars in salary cap space. The good news for Griffin is he'll get what seems to be a necessary fresh start somewhere else in 2016.
Prior to Rex Ryan's arrival in Buffalo, double digit sacks were synonymous with Mario Williams. But after recording only 5 sacks in Ryan's first season with the Bills, it looks like it will also be Williams last season in Buffalo. Cutting Williams would save the Bills nearly $13 million dollars in cap space as well.
In 2014 he caught 90 passes in Chicago. In 2015 he caught 53 passes. In 2016 it looks like Martellus Bennett will be catching passes for a different team since the Bears could save $5 million dollars in cap room by cutting Bennett.
Such is life in today's NFL. You're the talk of the town one season. And you're on your way out of town the next.

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