The Cowboys finally released Kyle Orton. A couple quick thoughts. First, let’s all hope that Tony Romo stays healthy, otherwise we’re in for a nightmare. Longer term, cutting Orton gives Dallas a bit of salary cap flexibility this year, but creates some dead money, and leaves them with just over $1 million in salary cap space for next season.
That screencap comes from Over the Cap’s Salary Cap Calculator, a really nifty tool, and shows the 2015 impact of Orton’s cut. This affects three important contract situations in Dallas. One likely cap casualty is DeMarco Murray, who is a free agent. As the article explains, Murray, a gifted runner when healthy, could be in his final season in Dallas, and a future landing spot may not afford as much opportunity. Could this make Murray a sell candidate in dynasty? Maybe. Regardless of where he plays next season, his value is pretty high right now, what with all the fireworks a Scott Linehan offense could provide. It’s possible that between now and the end of the season his value only declines, for example if he is injured again. It seems like it would be harder for his value to increase, as he’d have to stay healthy, have a monster season, and get re-signed by Dallas or another team with a good offense where he’d be the clear lead back. I’m always interested in selling high. The contract situation article linked above was written pre-draft, and suggested the Cowboys could draft another running back this year. They didn’t. But they did sign Ryan Williams, who is the likeliest Murray backup this season, and potentially his replacement going forward. I like the idea of rostering Williams in dynasty formats especially.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers are also right up against the cap for 2015. The biggest potential cap savings would come from cuts on the defensive side of the ball, which bolsters the case for Colin Kaepernick as a top fantasy QB going forward. Also worth noting is that recently acquired Steve Johnson offers quite a bit of savings if cut before next season ($6 million), three times the savings (and no dead money) that would be created by cutting Anquan Boldin. Presumably, Johnson gets the axe if Michael Crabtree performs well, and the money saved goes toward a new deal for Crabtree. In any case, Boldin has at least a bit of a financial hold on a roster spot for next year, and represents great fantasy value this year as well. Here’s another thought: assume Boldin stays on the roster in 2015. It seems that only one of Crabtree and Johnson will be present. Who’s the receiver most likely to replace whomever departs? Quinton Patton, who boasts an above-average Phenom score. If things break right: San Francisco’s defense gets weaker, and an opening is created at wide receiver, Patton could play a significant role next year. Admittedly, there are a few assumptive leaps in that scenario, but Patton is also a great speculative add in dynasty formats, if you’re interested.