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?
Baltimore Ravens: Fullback Vonta Leach. Some would say wide receiver Anquan Boldin, but he proved his worth in the playoffs. The better bet is Leach, who would free up $3 million in cap space. Leach is still the best at his position, but it's hard to justify paying him $3 million when he's only on the field for a quarter of the offensive plays. Center Matt Birk would also be a candidate, but he's expected to announce his retirement Friday.
Cincinnati Bengals: Cornerback Jason Allen. The Bengals have the most salary-cap space in the NFL, so they don't need to cut anyone. But the Bengals aren't going to pay unproductive players just because they have the cap room. Allen was injured for most of the season and managed to play in four games, including no starts. It doesn't seem likely that Cincinnati will pay a backup $3 million in 2013 plus a $700,000 roster bonus. Releasing Allen would create $3.7 million in cap space. Guard Travelle Wharton is another potential cut because the Bengals would gain $1.6 million in cap room.
Cleveland Browns: Quarterback Colt McCoy. Like the Bengals, the Browns have enough cap room that they don't have to cut anyone. But, just as defensive end Frostee Rucker (cut this month) didn't fit the new defense, McCoy doesn't have the strong arm needed in Norv Turner's downfield passing attack. Plus, McCoy's $2.3 million salary in 2013 makes it an easy decision to part ways.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Guard Willie Colon. The salary-cap strapped Steelers need to create a lot of space, and cutting Colon would free up $1.9 million. Pittsburgh wants to keep getting younger on the offensive line and has a couple of options for filling Colon's spot at left guard: move center Maurkice Pouncey there or start Kelvin Beachum. There's still a possibility that the Steelers will cut linebacker James Harrison. While this move would give Pittsburgh $5.1 million in cap room, I see the Steelers restructuring Harrison's contract because they're not confident Jason Worilds can step into a starting role.