5. Laken Tomlinson, OG, NY Jets
- Cap Savings: $3-13 million
- Dead Cap: $8.5-18.5 million
As you probably could tell from the heading above, we've reached the most complex situation of the article. Long story short, Laken Tomlinson was abysmal this season and by far the biggest disappointment of the 2022 free-agent class.
He was heralded as a Pro Bowler who was extremely familiar with the system and proceeded to perform as the worst lineman on the entire team.
Unfortunately, the financial commitment made to him was the biggest one of Joe Douglas' career so there isn't really an easy out after one year.
If Tomlinson is cut before Jun. 1, the entirety of his dead cap ($18.5 million) goes on the payroll and the Jets actually lose an additional $1.1 million. Cutting him after Jun. 1 will split his cap between this year and next, and the savings jump up to $3 million (not a lot).
But here's where moving him becomes feasible: if traded, Tomlinson's dead cap becomes a much more manageable $8.5 million. If traded after Jun. 1, that $8.5 million is split between this year and next while the cap savings are $13 million. It would certainly take a lot of work, but the point is that it is possible to move on from this disappointment who will be 31 years old next season.
Keep him. It's not wise to make such a drastic move to such a key unit (offensive line) so late into the offseason. Tomlinson's best games were when Duane Brown was at his healthiest, so perhaps all he needs is a stud left tackle to perform.
If that's the case, get a stud left tackle (preferably through the draft) and hope for the best. If not, Tomlinson is an easy cut next year.