Sure, there are exceptions and surprises along the way, but no big surprise that the two most egregious victims of "dead money" and their own poor decision making are the 2-14 Jaguars and the 4-12 Raiders, while the two most efficient teams in managing the cap and avoiding "dead money" are the defending NFC champion 49ers and the Packers (36-12 and a Super Bowl title in the last three years).
1. OAKLAND: $26,601,452
Richard Seymour represents half of that number at $13,714,000, and the recently released Darrius Heyward-Bey is a healthy chunk at $5,260,000. If you're wondering why the Raiders are in the state they're in, consider they drafted Heyward-Bey with their 2009 first round pick and they traded their 2011 first round pick for Seymour. (Also, that little thing about drafting JaMarcus Russell first overall in 2007. That, too.)
2. JACKSONVILLE: $24,012,892
The Jags "dead money" ledger reads like a "Who's who" in shitty Jaguar business decisions: wide receiver Laurent Robinson (cut after one season, $9,000,000 hit), safety Dawan Landry (cut after two sesaons $3,900,000 hit), linebacker Clint Session (cut after two seasons $3,600,000 hit), Mike Thomas (traded to Detroit one season into a long term extension, $3,600,000 hit). There's a reason they're so terrible. Actually, there are a thousand reasons, this just happens to be one of them.
3. KANSAS CITY: $13,326,323
Two biggest "dead money" hits here are quarterback Matt Cassel ($3,950,000) and tackle Eric Winston ($3,000,000), who were both at the center of the whole "cheering for Cassel getting hurt" controversy. I guess they don't have to worry about that anymore.
4. ARIZONA: $12,410,450
Quarterback Kevin Kolb represents about half of this number at $6,000,000 in "dead money." Moving along...
5. ATLANTA: $11,513,432
Ray Edwards was released in November due to a poor attitude. At a "dead money" hit of $4,650,000, he must have been a total fricking a-hole. The great purge of March 2013 hits their cap this fall, too, in cornerback Dunta Robinson ($3,000,000), running back Michael Turner ($2,000,000), and defensive end John Abraham ($1,500,000).
6. ST. LOUIS: $10,312,806
Tackle Jason Smith $4,022,000 is the big hit here, although props to safety Quentin Mikell for counting as two separate "dead money" hits of $4,000,000 and $2,000,000. Nice!
7. BUFFALO: $9,500,035
Another desperation quarterback signing gone awry (Ryan Fitzpatrick, $3,333,333).
8. CAROLINA: $9,754,796
9. BALTIMORE: $8,136,837
Retirement "dead money" hits are painful and no one knows this better than Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome (linebacker Ray Lewis $2,950,000, center Matt Birk $1,400,000). Also, Billy Cundiff's missed field goal against New England in the AFC title game two seasons ago continues to cost, "dead money" value of $1,800,000.
10. DETROIT: $7,567,505
11. DENVER: $7,335,301
Over half of this number is courtesy of the Elvis Dumervil Fiasco ($4,869,000).
12. CLEVELAND: $7,262,779
13. NEW YORK JETS: $7,130,453
14. NEW YORK GIANTS: $6,771,306
15. NEW ENGLAND: $6,637,523
The quest to find a downfield threat post-Randy Moss continues to cost New England in "dead money" in 2013 (Brandon Lloyd for $2,000,000, and Chad Ochocinco for $1,583,333).
16. DALLAS: $5,986,584
17. PHILADELPHIA: $5,906,313
Nnamdi Asomugha for $4,000,000, Jason Babin for $900,000. Dream team.
quote: 28. New Orleans