C.J. Spiller is searching for his third team since the Bills drafted him No. 9 overall in 2010, but he at least got paid for the short amount of time he spent down in New Orleans.
As first reported by NFL Network's Rand Getlin, the Saints cut Spiller on Tuesday, despite already paying him a $1.55 million roster bonus, despite the fact that his $1.7 million salary was fully guaranteed. So, as ESPN's Field Yates pointed out, that means "the Saints are now carrying [roughly $40 million] of dead money on their 2016 salary cap."
To be clear, the Saints are paying about $40 million to players who are not on their actual team. That's not unexpected, though.
in the last two years the #saints will have carried over $75m in dead money. they also have early lead in dead money for 2017— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) September 13, 2016
It's also not ideal.
The Saints treat dead cap money like I treat loose socks at the bottom of my closet. "Sure, what's a few more?"— Robert Mays (@robertmays) September 13, 2016
There was no need at all to give Spiller all of that money for so little in return. After his 2015 season ended on injured reserve, Spiller didn't step out onto the field in the Saints' season-opener Sunday, even after Saints coach Sean Payton boasted to reporters that Spiller looked "noticeably different" this summer.
As Larry Holder of the Times-Picayune wrote on Tuesday, the team had to wait until Tuesday to release Spiller because it just wasn't possible to release him earlier due to the team's financial woes:
They had to wait for the cap space to do it. The cap space came when Drew Brees signed his one-year extension. New Orleans can absorb the $4.5 million cap hit for 2016 and a $2.5 million cap hit for 2017.
In all, Spiller gained 112 yards on the ground and an additional 239 yards through the air in his Saints career, which began a year ago.
Saints got 198 offensive snaps out of CJ Spiller for $9M.— Joel Corry (@corryjoel) September 13, 2016
Spiller, 29, hasn't looked like a first-round pick since 2012, when he racked up 1,244 rushing yards, gained 6.0 yards per carry, added 459 yards in the passing game, and scored eight touchdowns from scrimmage. So, he probably shouldn't expect another team to make the same mistake as New Orleans. Spiller will most likely be signed at some point this season, but not at the price the Saints set.
And really, that's what the story is about: The Saints' continued failure to hand fat contracts to the wrong players. Spiller joins Brandon Browner, Keenan Lewis, and Junior Gallette (among others) on that list.