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25 NFL stars who could be cut during the 2018 offseason

For The Win logo For The Win 2/12/2018 Steven Ruiz

a person wearing a helmet: USA TODAY © USA TODAY USA TODAY With NFL free agency set to get underway March 14, teams will be scrambling over the next few weeks to clear as much cap space as possible. Let's take a look at some of the biggest names who could end up on the chopping blockā€¦

1. Justin Houston, OLB Chiefs ($15 million)

Houston has struggled to stay on the field and his production has slipped as a result. With the Chiefs looking to get younger on defense, Houston will have a hard time sticking around. He can still be a Pro Bowl level player if he can stay healthy.

2. Mike Glennon, QB Bears ($11.5 million)

Mike Glennon wearing a suit and tie: (Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune) © File Photo (Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune)

OK, so Glennon isn't a star, but he was paid like one last season. How about we just pretend like this signing never happened. That sound good, Chicago?

3. Tyrann Mathieu, FS Cardinals ($11 million)

Just two years after signing a big extension in Arizona, the Honey Badger could be looking for a new team. Mathieu was solid in 2017, but a $14 million cap hit for the 2018 season is a little too steep for just "solid." If he can regain his form from before a 2015 ACL injury, Mathieu will be a good pickup for some team.

4. Richard Sherman, CB Seahawks ($11 million)

5. Michael Bennett, DE Seahawks ($3.2 million)

Earl Thomas is threatening to hold out. Sherman is coming off a major injury and was involved trade discussions last offseason. Bennett has already said he knows he's not coming back. And Kam Chancellor's career might be over due to injury. The Seahawks defense is going to look a whole lot different in 2018.

6. Muhammad Wilkerson, DE Jets ($11 million)

Wilkerson got paid and stopped trying. His play slipped and he just decided to stop showing up for team meetings regularly. He'll have a hard time convincing a team he's still a player worth an eight-figure investment. At the same time, if Wilkerson is motivated, he's one of the best interior defenders in the game.

7. Dez Bryant, WR Cowboys ($8.5 million)

Bryant is no longer a legitimate No. 1 receiver but he's still being paid like one. If Dallas does cut ties, it'll be interesting to see what he can get on the open market. Bryant now struggles to get separation and has had issues with drops.

8. Demaryius Thomas, WR Broncos ($7.6 million)

9. Emmanuel Sanders, WR Broncos ($5.6 million)

a baseball player holding a bat: USA TODAY © USA TODAY USA TODAY

If the Broncos are going to make a run at Kirk Cousins, one of these guys has to go. Cutting Thomas offers more savings but Sanders is more replaceable. Both are 30, making this decision all the more difficult.

10. Aqib Talib, CB Broncos ($11 million)

Talib is still a tremendous player but Denver needs to get younger and that $11 million could go a long way this offseason.

11. Jordy Nelson, WR Packers ($10.2 million)

If you thought Aaron Rodgers was mad about losing his QB coach this offseason, imagine how he'll respond to losing his favorite target. But Nelson is getting older (and more injured) and is no longer a receiver worth an eight-figure salary.

12. Randall Cobb, WR Packers ($9.5 million)

If the Packers decide to keep Nelson, Cobb is definitely getting his walking papers. There's no way both stay this offseason.

13. Tyrod Taylor, QB Bills ($9.4 million)

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports © USA TODAY Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports The Bills benched him for Nathan Peterman, so it's unlikely they'll be comfortable paying nearly $19 million for him to play in 2018.

14. Derrick Johnson, LB Chiefs ($8 million)

Johnson will be another victim of the youth moment in Kansas City. Johnson is older and his role was reduced late in the 2017 season, but he remains a potentially valuable three-down linebacker. He'll have no trouble finding a new team.

15. Martellus Bennett, TE Patriots($6.2 million)

Injuries have taken their toll on the once-dynamic tight end. Bennett has publicly discussed retirement. If he decides to continue his NFL career, the Pats will likely part ways unless he's willing to take a paycut.

16. Brandon Marshall, WR Giants ($5.1 million)

This would be the second offseason in a row where Marshall ends up a cap casualty. The veteran receiver wasn't very good before the Giants lost him to a season-ending ankle injury after just five games. Marshall says he wants to play two more seasons, but don't be surprised if he's forced into an early retirement by a cold market.

17. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB Giants

Rodgers-Cromartie remains a good player - he was an All-Pro in 2016 - but he's getting up there in age and starting to show signs of it. He said he would welcome a move to free safety, but that move probably won't happen in New York with new GM Dave Gettleman running the show.

18. Mike Mitchell, FS Steelers ($6.4 million)

a man wearing a uniform: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports © USA TODAY Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Mitchell is now the oldest and least productive player in the Steelers secondary. The 2017 season was a bad one for the veteran safety. When he wasn't injured, he was giving up big plays in the passing game.

19. Michael Crabtree, WR Raiders ($7.7 million)

Still one of the best possession receivers in the league, Crabtree's numbers may have taken a hit in 2017 but he can still get open and was Derek Carr's only reliable receiver last season.

20. Mike Iupati, OG Cardinals ($6.3 million)

Iupati can still be a good player when healthy. He's just never healthy. And now that he's hit 30, it's unlikely that he ever will be again.

21. Jeremy Maclin, WR Ravens ($5 million)

The Chiefs reportedly thought Maclin was done last offseason and he did nothing to prove them wrong during his first season in Baltimore. When he wasn't hurt, Maclin had trouble catching the ball.

22. Marshal Yanda, OG Ravens ($5.7 million)

Marshal Yanda looking at the camera: USA TODAY © USA TODAY USA TODAY

This likely won't happen because Yanda remains one of the best at his position, but the Ravens should at least consider it. He'll be 34 next year and is coming off a serious injury.

23. Pernell McPhee, OLB Bears ($7 million)

McPhee is still a useful player but the Bears are paying him to be much more than that. His age and inability to stay healthy will drive his price down on the open market, but McPhee can be a contributor on a good team.

24. Adam Jones, CB Bengals ($5.8 million)

Barely any of Jones' 2018 cap hit is guaranteed, so this one's a no-brainer for the Bengals. The 34-year-old lost playing time to younger corners in 2017.

25. Brian Cushing, LB Texans ($7.6 million)

Cushing's game has aged like milk, he can't stay healthy, he's failed two PED tests and he's overpaid. This one's easy.

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