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?
Arizona Cardinals: Quarterback Kevin Kolb is scheduled to earn $9 million in salary from the Cardinals in 2013. Barring a trade, which appears unlikely, Kolb will accept a reduction in salary or receive his release. The Cardinals might be best off keeping Kolb at a reduced rate. But the fact Kolb finished last season with an 8-3 ratio of touchdowns to interceptions doesn't mean he was playing at a high level for Arizona. Kolb has posted a Total QBR score of 30.6 or lower in nine of his 14 starts with the Cardinals (50 is considered average). Kolb was significantly above average in two of his 14 starts -- victories over Philadelphia and Carolina. Arizona has paid $20.5 million to Kolb over the past two years. The team isn't going to give him another $9 million in salary this year.
St. Louis Rams: Running back Steven Jackson is scheduled to earn $7 million in salary for the 2013 season. I would expect the Rams to release Jackson if Jackson declined to accept less money. It might not come to that, however. Jackson has the ability to void his contract, and that seems like the most plausible scenario. Jackson found out last season the Rams weren't interested in extending his contract. If and when he realizes the team isn't interested in paying $7 million to him for 2013, Jackson would have clear incentive to opt out. That would not make him a cap casualty in a direct sense, but the effect would be the same. Safety Quintin Mikell's $6 million salary and $9 million cap figure make him a candidate for renegotiation. Also, journeyman tackle Wayne Hunter is scheduled to earn nearly $4 million.
San Francisco 49ers: Kicker David Akers is scheduled to earn $3 million in salary for the 2013 season. It's hard to envision the 49ers paying that amount to Akers given the kicker's struggles last season. They would have to consider their options at the position even if Akers were earning less money. The relatively high salary for Akers makes this one easy to foresee. Quarterback Alex Smith also has a relatively high salary for a backup ($7.5 million), but the 49ers are looking to trade him. They do not want to release him. Jonathan Goodwin, Carlos Rogers and Parys Haralson also have high enough cap figures to invite questions of value.
Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks have more cap room than any team in the NFC West. They have a dozen players with 2013 cap figures projected at $2.9 million or higher, but none of the 12 appears to be a candidate for release even though Zach Miller ($11 million cap figure) and Sidney Rice ($9.7 million) are eating up $20 million together. Looking further down the salary scale, it's safe to assume the team won't pay $2.3 million in salary to backup receiver Ben Obomanu.