As 2015 NFL free agency nears, there are a large number of veteran players being shown the door so teams can save some money. It’s quite possible that some of these veterans could end up back with their teams at a reduced salary, but now they are out there and ready to see what teams could offer them.
One of the first big cuts was that of veteran linebacker A.J. Hawk being released by the Green Bay Packers, per ESPN. The nine-year veteran’s release frees up $3.5 million in salary-cap space, and another $3.75 million was freed up last week when the Packers released veteran Brad Jones.
“A.J. is a consummate Packer and we are grateful for all that he has given and how he represented the organization over the past nine seasons,” Packers general manager Ted Thompson said in a statement.
“He was a durable and consistent contributor to our success, but more importantly, he is a great person and teammate. The Packers are grateful for all that he has done on the field and in the community. We wish A.J., his wife Laura, and the rest of their family all the best.”
Another big defensive release came on Friday afternoon when the USA Today reported that longtime defensive lineman Darnell Dockett was released by the Arizona Cardinals. The team will save $9.5 million against the cap by releasing him, but they are hoping he will be back.
“We have been very clear about our feelings for Darnell and our desire to have him back,” said general manager Steve Keim in a statement.
“After speaking with him and his representatives, we decided that this move today makes the most sense for both the team and the player and allows each to keep all of its options open.”
Last week, the Cardinals were able to restructure the contract of wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald so that he could save the team some money. No matter what, he’s still going to make $22 million over the next two seasons.
On Friday afternoon, another defensive cut happened in Baltimore, as the Ravens let go of 10-year veteran lineman Chris Canty. He was due to make $2.7 million in 2015. The Ravens had also let return specialist Jacoby Jones go.
The Miami Dolphins released two wide receivers on Friday, with the cuts of Brandon Gibson and Brian Hartline. Gibson was set to make $3.2 million in 2015 and Hartline was going to make $5.9 million.
Here are other notable cuts that have been made so far:
- Atlanta Falcons – RB Steven Jackson, WR Harry Douglas, OG Justin Blalock
- Philadelphia Eagles – OL Todd Hermans
- Cincinnati Bengals – DE Robert Geathers, WR Greg Little
- Washington Redskins – DE Stephen Bowen, DT Barry Cofield
- Detroit Lions: RB Reggie Bush
- New York Giants: RB Peyton Hillis, DE Mathias Kiwanuka
- Carolina Panthers: WR Ted Ginn
There are sure to be many more NFL veterans cut around the league as free agency arrives and goes on. New faces will be in different uniforms in 2015, and there is a good chance that some players may never find another team to land on.
[Image via David Kadlubowski — the Arizona Republic]