Thursday, Bloody Thursday

As unexpected as a tsunami, the ramifications of the talks breakdown between the NFLPA and the owners are already starting to be felt. As Len Paquaurelli puts it:
    By Thursday, however, when the real-world ramifications of the failed labor talks become more apparent, fans in a lot of NFL precincts will take notice. With negotiations toward an extension having broken off Tuesday afternoon -- despite earlier optimistic reports that the sides were poised to strike an agreement -- salary cap managers from several franchises are readying themselves for what one general manager suggested late Tuesday will come to be known as "Bloody Thursday."

    Translation: Because so many teams are up against the projected cap limit of $95 million to $96 million for 2006, and the lack of a CBA extension means there are few options for relief, some big-name players will be jettisoned by Thursday, when teams must be in compliance with the spending limit.
How bad will it get? For some teams, this is the tolling of the bell...
    How drastic? There continue to be rumors the Washington Redskins, who extended numerous contracts in the past to deal with previous cap crunches, could have to play with 20 rookies on the roster in 2006. On Tuesday night in Atlanta, there were rumblings the Falcons, who aren't in nearly the dire straits some other franchises are, might be forced to release tailback Warrick Dunn, who rushed for a career-best 1,416 yards in 2005. The Kansas City Chiefs could part ways with perennial Pro Bowl guard Will Shields if he doesn't agree to adjust his contract and reduce a $6.67 million cap charge. And that is just the start of the many examples of potential attrition cited by team officials Tuesday evening.
So who will be most and least affected? ESPN has a list as of yesterday of teams in the black and the red. See if you can find yours on the 'good' list:Well, the Bills are under, just barely, so that's good. Most interesting to me is the Eagles' situation. Last year the management took a lot of ribbing for being tight-fisted with salaries and ruthless with contracts, especially in light of the T.O. fiasco (who won't be demanding any money from anyone after this day). Well, now it just looks like damn good money management and keen foresight. Granted, no one could foresee that things would go this bad, but if you are on the 'naughty' list below, you are getting blindsided.Does this really mean that teams are going to be cutting some of their best players? It's already happening as of 9 A.M. this morning:
  • The Bills, who entered Wednesday $2 million under the $92 million salary cap, made their second major cut of the offseason by releasing former Pro Bowl defensive tackle Sam Adams.
  • The Panthers cleared $4.64 million of cap room Wednesday by releasing three veterans -- running back Stephen Davis, running back Rod Smart and defensive tackle Brentson Buckner.
  • The Broncos released three starters -- defensive end Trevor Pryce, running back Mike Anderson and tight end Jeb Putzier in moves that pull the team within a couple of millions of the salary cap.
  • Forced to slash contracts in order to get under the salary cap for 2006, the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday released four veterans, the most notable of which was four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Sam Madison.
And there is certainly more to come. For the local sports fans, the sad news is that the Redskins are almost certainly going to cut LaVar Arrington. Maybe the Eagles can sign him for a pittance. So what is the bottom line? Some are saying it is doomsday, some are saying it's a good thing. I think it's exciting and interesting to see how this shakes up the rosters for next year. I think it's good to have a little revolution now and then.

UPDATE: ESPN has listed possible and probably cuts for every team.

UPDATE THE SECOND: This morning the NFL owners unanimously rejected the latest NFLPA proposal. Teams continue to feel the urge to purge. Question: with Green Bay way over the salary cap, will they cut Favre?

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