Where will cap casualties land?

Updated: June 4, 2004, 9:55 AM ET
By Steve Muench | Scouts, Inc.
One of the biggest reasons teams aren't making as many or as noteworthy June 1 cuts as in the past is they are learning from their mistakes and doing a better job of operating within cap.

Baltimore was an elite team in 2000 and 2001 but had to make drastic cuts after the 2001 season. In slightly less than seven months, Baltimore had five new starters on offense and seven on defense. Not all the departures were cap-related cuts, but a number of free agents left because Baltimore didn't have the money to re-sign them. The Ravens went 7-9 in 2002.

It's testament to the organization that Baltimore rebuilt its roster quickly enough to get into the playoffs last year, but teams took notice of the dilemma that caused the quick fall. Teams also took notice when New England won with quality role players with low cap numbers. With those two examples fresh in their minds, teams have been less willing to invest big money in a player who can help them win now but may create cap problems in a few years.

But players have contributed to the decrease in big-name June 1 cuts, too, by being more willing to accept pay cuts in restructured deals with their current teams. Even those deals are likely to be worth more than will be available on the open market in June.

Nevertheless, while this year's June player pool may not be deep, there still are some quality players capable of filing important roles. Here's a look at players who have been cut and where they might find a new home, and a look at players who still could be cut before camp.

Steve Muench played four years of Division I-AA football before joining Scouts Inc. in 2002. He has evaluated both NFL and college players for Scouts Inc., but his current focus is on the NFL draft.