James Conner is undoubtedly a fan favorite, so few fans in the Red Sea would be okay with the Arizona Cardinals cutting ties with him following the 2023 season. But the reality check is this: Conner is an injury-prone back who will be entering his eighth season as a pro in 2024. There is also a potential out for 2024 in his contract that would only cost the team $3 million in dead cap.
Should the Cardinals release Conner following the 2023 season, they would save $5.49 million for 2024, allowing them to go after younger players to fill the void at running back. It doesn’t look like Keaontay Ingram has a future in the desert, but thanks to Emari Demercado’s performances so far this season, he could be part of a future running back committee in Glendale.
Besides Conner, D.J. Humphries could also be shown his walking papers following the season. The former first-round pick is well past his prime, and while he is a great leader, Humphries has become a liability at this point in his career.
Like Conner, Humphries has a potential out, which will count nearly $14 million against the dead cap. However, the Cards will also accumulate just over $9 million in savings if they cut ties with the 30-year-old.
The Arizona Cardinals may cut loose several vets from the Keim regime in 2024
There was a chance the Cardinals would trade Zach Ertz before the trade deadline, but the 11-year veteran recently landed back on injured reserve. Once again, the Cards have a potential out that will penalize them just $5 million against the dead cap, but the Redbirds will also save $7.55 million should they release Ertz.
And finally, Kelvin Beachum is another aging tackle who is seeing substantially less playing time than we thought he would this season. The 34-year-old is clearly on the back end of his career, and therefore, he also has a potential out in his most recent contract that will cost the Arizona Cardinals just over $1 million in dead cap. However, they will also save $1.55 million, so cutting ties with Beachum will free up even more cap space.
Cutting all four veterans following the season would accumulate to roughly $23 million in dead cap, but it will also save the Cards $23.55 million in cap space, which will allow the Cards to continue overhauling the roster with younger, homegrown talent. Sure, it means the roster overhaul will continue into 2024, but the potential window of opportunity will also open further.
(Information provided by Spotrac)