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Veteran NFL players released to free cap space

It’s that time of the year again, as NFL teams cut veterans to free up salary cap space going into free agency.

Delanie Walker #82 of the Tennessee Titans runs onto field before a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers during week three of preseason at Nissan Stadium on August 25, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Steelers defeated the Titans 18-6. Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The NFL truly is a Not For Long league and teams have no qualms letting go of veteran players whose contracts are more than they want to pay for a declining player. As the 2020 free agency tampering season begins soon, teams are cutting veterans to open up cap space. This is yet another reminder that total contract numbers are useless when evaluating new contracts and that guaranteed signing bonuses are the true measure.

So far, we’ve had quite a few big name defensive players and a few offensive players let go. We’ll go through the bigger names and look at the impact on fantasy and the salary cap.

Delanie Walker, TE, Titans

Walker has been one of the more reliable fantasy tight ends for his career, but age and injuries have caught up with in the last few seasons, playing just eight games in the last two seasons. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported his release on Friday and it will save the Titans $6.4 million against the cap, which they probably need to re-sign Derrick Henry. Plus, the Titans already have a valuable backup tight end in Jonnu Smith who has flashed good potential the last two seasons. Smith should be in the Top-12 tight end conversation moving forward.

Xavier Rhodes, CB, Vikings

Rhodes has been one of the top cornerbacks in the league for much of his career, but last year he saw a steep decline in production. News of Rhodes’ release came via NFL Network’s Tam Pelissero. The Vikings had little choice but to let Rhodes go, as his release will save them $8.1 million against the cap. His absence can’t hurt the Vikings defense too much, as he was not a plus player last season.

Linval Joseph, DL, Vikings

The Vikings also released veteran defensive lineman Linval Joseph, per the team’s Twitter. Joseph hadn’t fallen in production as much as Rhodes, but he is on the downside of his career at the age of 32 once the season starts. His release will save the Vikings around $10.5 million in cap space, so letting him go before he is completely done makes sense. Joseph should have a decent market for his services this off-season.

If any more veteran cuts surface, watch this space for updates: