The date of June 1 may seem inconsequential to the NFL, given its distance from the season. However, when it comes to player cuts and trades, the date of June 1 means a great deal, especially in 2021. With a significant shift in the potential cost of moving on from a player, teams can use that June 1 date as a possible opportunity to cut or trade unwanted players.
Potential June 1 cut and trade candidates
Which players could be on the move after the all-important date of June 1 passes?
Aaron Rodgers, QB | Green Bay Packers – Potential trade candidate
Ever since the story of Aaron Rodgers’ discontentment exploded to life on Day 1 of the 2021 NFL Draft, June 1 has been circled as a potential showdown date. Rodgers’ contract has another three years to run and is structured in such a way it is hard for the Packers to move on before June 1.
Doing so would leave Green Bay with $31.6 million in dead money in 2021 in the event of a trade. However, post-June 1, that dead money figure drops to $14.4 million. The remaining $17.2 million would impact the cap in 2022, but with the cap expected to rise next year, that is not a concern for Green Bay.
Julio Jones, WR | Atlanta Falcons – Potential trade candidate
Another disgruntled, but highly respected veteran, is Julio Jones. Jones’ contract also makes it virtually impossible for him to be traded before June 1. Doing so would leave the Falcons with $23.3 million in dead money in 2021. A post-June 1 trade, on the other hand, would leave the Falcons looking at just $7.75 million in dead money in 2021.
Russell Wilson, QB | Seattle Seahawks – Potential trade candidate
The situation between Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks seems to have calmed down from earlier in the offseason. With that said, if there are still underlying tensions, Wilson’s contract makes it feasible to move him after June 1.
Prior to June 1, the Seahawks would be left with $39 million in dead money in 2021 following a trade. Meanwhile, a post-June 1 transaction will count just $13 million against the cap. Considering Wilson would still cause a $26 million salary hit in 2022, next June is a much more likely timetable for a trade.
Landon Collins, S | Washington Football Team – Potential cut candidate
After just two seasons in Washington, it would be a surprise to see Landon Collins released. Still, from a strictly financial situation, it is a possibility.
As a pre-June 1 cut, Collins would leave behind $26.3 million in dead money. As a post-June 1 cut, that number would drop to just $16.7 million. After missing over half the season in 2020, Collins may have found his starting role taken by a younger player.
Jordan Hicks, LB | Arizona Cardinals – Potential cut candidate
After the Cardinals added Zaven Collins in the draft, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Jordan Hicks had been given permission to seek a potential trade. Hicks is an intriguing candidate as a potential post-June 1 cut or trade option because he is still a potentially valuable player who can be had for cheap. A post-June 1 trade would save the Cardinals $2.9 million in cap space. Meanwhile, releasing him would save just under $1 million.
Trey Flowers, DE | Detroit Lions – Potential trade candidate
Trey Flowers is undeniably a talented player, but his contract somewhat outweighs his value. He is not an option for the Lions to cut, given he would leave over $20 million in dead money in 2021 as a post-June 1 cut. Nevertheless, if the Lions can find someone willing to take on the remaining $16 million in guaranteed base salary, they could save $14.4 million in cap space in 2021.
C.J. Mosley, LB | New York Jets – Potential trade candidate
After opting out in 2020, C.J. Mosley is ready to return in 2021. But after a stunted start to his Jets’ career, could he be on his way out sooner rather than later?
With $14 million in guarantees remaining, the Jets may try and shop Mosley to a contending team. Doing so in a post-June 1 trade would save the Jets $4.5 million in cap space.
Other potential NFL post-June 1 cut and trade candidates to watch
Eric Ebron, TE | PIT – Post-June 1 saving: $3.9 million
Anthony Hitchens, LB | KC – Post-June 1 saving: $4.2 million
Sterling Shepard, WR | NYG – Post-June 1 saving: $4 million
Devon Kennard, EDGE | ARI – Post-June 1 saving: $2.5 million
Explaining how pre and post-June 1 cuts work
The reason why the date of June 1 is so crucial in the NFL is the impact it has on how a player’s contract falls after being traded or released. Before June 1, any remaining prorated money on the player’s contract accelerates onto the cap in the year they are cut or traded. That changes after June 1, however.
If a player is released or traded after June 1, no further prorated money accelerates onto the cap. Instead, that money accelerates onto the following year’s cap.
For example, a player has four years remaining on his deal and $2.5 million in prorated money in each of those years. If his NFL team cuts him before June 1, 2021, his cap number in 2021 would be $10 million. Contrarily, the team releases him on June 2, his cap number in 2021 would then be $2.5 million. The remaining $7.5 million impacts the 2022 salary cap.
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