Patriots

NFL Notebook: Cap discipline, lack of on-field practice should limit names available among June 1st cuts – this year

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The NFL collective bargaining agreement gives teams a little cap relief once June 1st arrives if they want to move on from veteran players. As a June 1 release, the team can split their dead cap hit over two seasons instead of one.

Of course, teams also have the ability to designate two players as post-June 1 cuts before that date and still get the benefit, but most teams don't take it because the team would still have to carry the full cap hit until June 1 in any event.

With each passing year, teams have become smarter with the cap and the money available has grown. That has made the list of interesting names available among June 1 dwindle (next year will likely be another story once the economic effect of the pandemic is known) — it's thinner than even regular free agency.

And this year, you have the Covid-19 effect. Teams often feel better about cutting an overpriced veteran because they've seen their draft picks and other signees on the field. They have enough information to feel comfortable about moving on from a veteran.

This year is entirely different.

Patriots right tackle Marcus Cannon is one example. If the Patriots were able to have rookie camps and some offseason practice sessions, they might have seen that Yodny Cajuste — last year's third-round pick who missed the entire season — was fully healthy and could at least compete for a starting spot. Or maybe one of their rookies. That may have led to the Patriots releasing Cannon as a post-June 1 cut.

Now, with no on-field work, I can't see the Patriots moving on from any veterans until they see them on the field.

While I don't expect the Patriots to be buyers, they do have some flexibility (Joe Thuney trade or extension, Stephon Gilmore extension) should a name really speak to them (they always do this). I think there's a great chance the Patriots are done with their roster until camp, and Bill Belichick can head off to Nantucket.

A name from each team that could be given the pink slip that would result in a meaningful cap hit (over $2 million), ranked by cap savings for the releasing team (I have 21 teams where a post-June 1 cut doesn't make much sense: