4 Commanders players who could be spared after 2024 salary-cap hike

The big rise in available financial resources could be good news for these Commanders players.
Charles Leno Jr.
Charles Leno Jr. / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
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Nick Gates - Commanders OL

Another veteran offensive lineman who arrived in free agency last year was Nick Gates. The versatile interior presence was seen as someone who could provide an immediate upgrade on center Chase Roullier, who dealt with some injury concerns and became a salary-cap casualty once his replacement was acquired.

To say Gates struggled right out of the gate would be something of an understatement. He looked undersized. Some technical aspects of his production weren't up to the required standard. It takes a lot for Ron Rivera to give up on a starter. But he was left with no choice other than to install Tyler Larsen into the lineup.

Gates performed better down the stretch when given reps, but it was yet another offensive line acquisition that failed to reap instant rewards. Something that's come with the inevitable speculation about his future this offseason.

There's a chance Gates is cut despite the minimal savings involved. Much will depend on what additions the Commanders can make in free agency or the draft. This is something the player and his representatives will be watching extremely closely in the coming weeks.

That said, the Commanders have enough financial assets - which were bolstered by the larger-than-expected salary-cap increase announced by the NFL - to absorb his $5.65 million hit next season with minimal fuss. Even if that means Gates will be a backup option based on his first campaign in Washington.