After covering 2022 fantasy football busts for about a month, we are moving into some finances you may want to be aware of heading into 2023.  There will undoubtedly be some veterans cut for their current team to save money on the cap.  The five teams listed in the title are the top five teams over the current cap and will need to make some tough decisions to get under the number prior to 2023 kickoff.

Below you will see the five worst cap teams and players who carry a lower dead cap hit than their 2023 salary.  Each could, and I emphasize COULD, be a cap casualty.  There are a lot of moving parts, and each of these teams can attempt to restructure deals.  They can also work to change salaries into signing bonuses.  These front office personnel make the big bucks and will bring a bunch of financial wizardry to the table to ensure their team stays competitive for years to come.

@BobbyLamarco and Mitch will be chatting about these teams and their cap issues on the Tuesday night Razzball YouTube channel.  Tune in and be a part of the discussion with your questions and comments.  As always, if you want to discuss anything in this article, feel free to drop notes at the bottom of this thread.

Tennessee Titans – Currently $23M over the cap…the worst team, financially as it pertains to the cap number, have one very relevant fantasy name in Derrick Henry that could be a cost savings if cut.  Now, I do not think Henry, the best offensive asset in Tennessee, will be cut, considering the Titans do not have a Plan B to carry this team.  The team is built around Henry, so they will hold and work on other names to save money.  If the Titans think Malik Willis is ready, the first cap casualty could be Ryan Tannehill, who is, at best, a replacement-level QB in a league dominated by high-performing QBs.  A team is destined to be middle of the pack without stellar QB play, and Tannehill is simply not that guy.  Now, with Derrick Henry as the lead dog, the Titans do not need a Patrick Mahomes/Josh Allen-type QB, but they do need something more than Tannehill.  Along with Tannehill possibly being on the chopping block, I think the Titans will look at Robert Woods as expendable.  When healthy, Woods was good, not great.  The AJ Brown trade still baffles me, and as much as I like Treylon Burks, he needs someone on the other side and that someone is probably not Robert Woods.  With Woods’ injury hampering his ability to get on/stay on the field makes him low-hanging fruit, in my opinion.   

Buffalo Bills – The reigning AFC East champs are sitting at $20M over the cap heading into the 2023 season.  I remember a lot of 2022 fantasy football draft prep experts fawning over Gabriel Davis, and even though Davis flashed at times, he did not live up to too much of that hype.  Considering the large deficit facing Buffalo, they may love Davis but will need to make the hard call about where to save money.  I need not tell you if Davis is cut, we will see Stefon Diggs continue to return late first-round value.  We know that and will draft Diggs regardless of the Davis contract situation.  Now, if Isaiah McKenzie is also a cap casualty, along with Davis, we need to start looking at players not named Diggs who can benefit from an increased role.  We know Josh Allen loves Dawson Knox, and I think his targets will increase if both Davis and McKenzie depart.  The guy I will be looking at as my Bills sleeper if both players are cut is Khalil Shakir.  He did not have much of a role in 2022 and I think he looked solid in limited time and should be ready to step in as a WR2/3 for Buffalo.  He needs to be down your WR draft list and not taken as a must-use starter, but who does not love a good sleeper story?  My only concern is the number of reps he will get between now and the 2023 season and will those lead to success or is he one more season away from breaking out?  I will happily draft him as my WR4/5 in deeper leagues.

Los Angeles Chargers – Boy oh boy did this offense disappoint in 2022?!?!?!?!  Outside of Austin Ekeler, the Chargers were not great.  Much of their disappointment was injury based which may lead the finance experts to look to a name like Keenan Allen to help rectify the $19M cap condition.  How long can this team rely on Allen to play all season and pay him WR1 money knowing he will not play 17 games?  He appears to miss time every season and that may help press the team to save money by releasing him.  Add in the mix they are also paying Mike Williams a handsome amount and they may need to move on from one.  The guy that helps their financial condition in 2023 is Allen (and Gerald Everett).  With the excellent play of Josh Palmer and solid, if unspectacular play, from DeAndre Carter (also valuable in the return game) and the Chargers may feel they have enough pass catchers without holding Allen.  Throw in the mix Donald Parham and his massive catch radius and Everett may be on the way out, too. 

Cleveland Browns – It pains me to add Nick Chubb to this article as I have a significant fantasy football man crush on the player.  I am still confused by his later-season usage, but I digress.  Chubb carries the most cap savings for the Browns and cutting him would certainly eat into their $14M issue.  The Browns also have decisions to make with three WR: Amari Cooper, Donovan Peoples-Jones, and Harrison Bryant.  I can see Cleveland holding Chubb while releasing Bryant and backup QB Jacoby Brissett ad possibly so lower-end options to hold the other two WRs.  The Browns owe Deshaun Watson a lot of money and they will need to determine which offensive players gel best with him to push them over the top in a winnable division.

New York Jets – For the record, I would not be shocked to see Aaron Rodgers traded to the Jets in some crazy NFL trade in an effort for Green Bay to fix its financial issues while the Jets attempt to catch Favre-like magic in a bottle labeled Rodgers.  It is fun to think about and you just never know what can/will happen with the Jets.  First things first, the Jets need to work through their $3M cap problem.  Though not a massive number like the other four teams, the Jets are still above the cap.  The easy name for me to cut is Corey Davis.  It is time for the Jets to admit the Corey Davis attempt fell very short.  Davis will be fine as some team will sign the veteran receiver as guys like him always seem to find a job.  The major beneficiary of a Davis cut is most likely going to be Elijah Moore.  One season removed from his trade request and the possibility of an upgrade to Zach Wilson makes me really like Moore heading into 2023 drafts.  I would love him as my WR4 especially if I land Shakir as my WR5.

Thank you for coming back to read our stuff and be a part of the podcast by listening and commenting.  We are here for you!  We will come back next week with a look at NFC teams facing the same cap dilemmas.