Who to cut, who to keep

James Harrison? Kevin Kolb? Mike Vick? Here's who should stay, and go

Originally Published: February 10, 2013
By Chris Sprow | ESPN Insider
Kevin KolbAP Photo/Paul ConnorsThe time has come for the Cardinals to cut Kevin Kolb.

We've already seen the "It's just business" portion of the NFL lurk its stridently cap-compliant head this offseason. Start in New York. Ahmad Bradshaw is a pretty good NFL running back, won't be 27 until next month and, as pointed out this week, "… is one of the finest draft choices in the franchise's history, blossoming after being selected in the seventh round, 250th overall, in 2007. He became one of six Giants with at least 3,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards (1,087)."

And now he needs a job.

The Giants cut Bradshaw, saving $2.5 million against next year's salary cap, or about two games of Mark Sanchez. But that's the NFL, and that's the current salary cap, a figure the players union almost certainly regrets agreeing to in the course of staving off missed games. You make cuts where and when you can, those decisions only half the time based on what you expect from the player, the other half based on the cap.

So with the harsh reality of that cap in mind, here are players who should be cut, and some who could be cut but shouldn't be.

Offense

Quarterback

Do cut: Kevin Kolb
There are economics departments offering "Kevin Kolb: Sunk Costs 201" among course offerings for the fall semester. The first two years of his high-priced tenure in Arizona have been a waste (2011) and signs of hope (2012), but paying him at a cap-hit level of $13.5 million in 2013 is out of the question. The Cardinals should look to renegotiate, and if they fail to get Kolb below about $5 million, they should cut him. The draft, Matt Cassel, Alex Smith and other options are all in play at this point, and all offer as much or more hope than Kolb.