Welcome to Eight in the Box, an NFL Nation feature that will appear each Friday during the offseason. This week’s topic: Who will be each team’s biggest salary-cap casualty this offseason?
Dallas Cowboys: Offensive tackle Doug Free. The performance issues are obvious with Free. He struggled massively in 2012, and Jermey Parnell gives Dallas a replacement with experience within the system. Free’s 2013 cap number is $10.02 million, but the Cowboys can shed $7 million of that by releasing him under the post-June 1 designation. At more than $20 million over the cap and with Anthony Spencer set to hit the open market in free agency, the Cowboys have substantial work to do to put themselves in a position to retain the talented pass-rusher. Restructuring the deals of other high-paid veterans could aid the effort to accomplish that, and releasing Free would relieve the team of some of its cap congestion.
New York Giants: Cornerback Corey Webster. The Giants have already parted ways with a number of key veterans, led by running back Ahmad Bradshaw, whose toughness was roundly respected in the locker room. But the difficult reality of releasing Bradshaw is partially alleviated because of the promise shown by David Wilson during his rookie season in 2012. Webster, 30, is no longer the player he was when he signed a lucrative contract in 2008, and his $7 million base salary for 2013 is too rich to hang on to. Trouble is, the Giants lack substantial cornerback depth behind Webster and will need to address that position this offseason. The team needs the cap room to pay left tackle Will Beatty and work toward extensions with receivers Hakeem Nicks and restricted free agent Victor Cruz.
Philadelphia Eagles: Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. The Eagles are in really good shape from a salary-cap perspective, with big money already cleared by the release of left tackle Demetress Bell and recent reworking of quarterback Michael Vick's deal. But as ESPN's NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported on Friday morning, Asomugha will need to revamp his deal, or he will be released. He’s on the books for $15 million for 2013, only $4 million of which is guaranteed. Given his struggles during his first two seasons with the Eagles, Asomugha isn’t worth the hefty price tag he currently owns. Regardless of Asomugha's future, the secondary will be an area of emphasis for the Eagles this offseason.
Washington Redskins: Cornerback DeAngelo Hall. Hall has said he is willing to explore the possibility of tweaking his current deal, which includes $16.5 million over the final two years. That’s probably the only way he’ll stay with the Redskins, as it’s far too much to pay the 29-year-old, who had his share of struggles in 2012. Lump receiver Santana Moss ($4.15 million salary in 2013) into the same boat, as he’ll likely need to restructure his deal to return. The Redskins have endured salary-cap penalties in recent seasons and need to continue to clear space to be able to retain their own free agents and be players on the open market. Removing Hall from the books is one way to kick-start that process.