Biggest NFL Dead Salary Cap Hits in 2022

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Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022.
(AP Photo/Danny Karnik)
Colton Pool @CPoolReporter Aug 12, 2022, 4:32 PM
  • Matt Ryan has the largest dead salary cap hit in NFL history.
  • Dead salary cap money can negatively impact a team’s NFL odds.

When the Falcons traded away Matt Ryan, this signaled the beginning of a new era for the franchise. But they haven’t completely moved on from him yet.

The Falcons, who have Super Bowl odds of +25000, will have a $40.5 million dead cap hit for Ryan for the 2022 season. This represents the largest dead cap hit in NFL history.

Biggest NFL Dead Salary Cap Hits in 2022

RankPlayerTeamDead cap hit
1Matt RyanFalcons$40.5 million
2Russell WilsonSeahawks$26 million
3Khalil MackBears$24 million
4Deshaun WatsonTexans$16.2 million
5Julio JonesFalcons$15.5 million
6Terron ArmsteadSaints$13 million
7Zach CunninghamTexans$12.8 million
8Trey FlowersLions$12.1 million
9Robert WoodsRams$11.9 million
10James BradberryGiants$11.7 million
11Drew BreesSaints$11.5 million
12Logan RyanGiants$11.5 million
13Za'Darius SmithPackers$11.4 million
14Baker MayfieldBrowns$10.5 million
15Ben RoethlisbergerSteelers$10.3 million

What is Dead Money in the NFL?

Dead cap money refers to guaranteed cash and bonuses for a player no longer on a team that hasn’t yet been paid and bonuses that haven’t been applied to a team’s salary cap.

In other words, if a team signs a player to a contract with guarantees and bonuses but then releases that player, the team is still on the hook to pay that money. It also counts toward salary caps for coming seasons, which can hinder that team’s future if the dead money is large enough.

Biggest Dead Salary Cap Hits in NFL History

The Falcons are particularly hampered by their dead cap situation this season. They have a league-high $63.3 million in dead money in 2022.

That’s partly because two players’ dead cap figures are among the biggest dead salary cap hits in NFL history. That includes Ryan, who was traded to the Colts this offseason.

Julio Jones will have a cap hit of $15.5 million even though he was traded to the Titans a year ago. In 2019, he signed a three-year, $66 million deal.

Eight of the 10 biggest dead cap hits are for players in the league.

Largest Dead Money Totals in NFL

RankTeamDead Cap Hit
1Falcons$63,300,790
2Bears$57,645,174
3Eagles$55,053,554
4Texans$52,941,841
5Seahawks$47,607,794
6Saints$33,437,814
7Giants$31,489,872
8Steelers$30,863,174
9Raiders$29,541,565
10Browns$29,274,054
11Packers$24,633,773
12Panthers$23,543,126
13Jaguars$23,538,285
14Cowboys$22,766,464
15Vikings$22,092,189
16Lions$20,334,288
17Buccaneers$19,445,910
18Bills$16,603,689
19Broncos$16,029,802
20Rams$15,688,668
21Ravens$15,161,836
22Titans$14,442,608
2349ers$12,575,218
24Cardinals$11,278,530
25Patriots$11,129,221
26Bengals$9,592,578
27Dolphins$8,489,233
28Chiefs$7,982,236
29Colts$7,039,427
30Commanders$6,394,328
31Chargers$3,661,167
32Jets$2,098,411

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About the Author

Colton Pool

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Colton Pool is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM living in Bozeman, Montana, focusing on the NFL and NBA. Previously, he covered Montana State football at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and worked at newspapers in his home state of North Dakota. He graduated from North Dakota State in 2015.

Colton Pool is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM living in Bozeman, Montana, focusing on the NFL and NBA. Previously, he covered Montana State football at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and worked at newspapers in his home state of North Dakota. He graduated from North Dakota State in 2015.