4 extremely early Commanders salary-cap cut candidates in 2025

Could these Commanders players be on the chopping block next year?
Andrew Wylie
Andrew Wylie / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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Austin Ekeler - Commanders RB

  • Cap saving: $3.61 million
  • Dead money: $1.5 million

The Washington Commanders raised eyebrows during free agency when Austin Ekeler joined the ranks. This didn't seem like the biggest need, but those in power felt like the prolific veteran represented an upgrade on Antonio Gibson, who departed for the New England Patriots after his contract expired.

Ekeler was looking for the right fit and feels like he's found it in the nation's capital. He wanted somewhere with a productive young running back already in place. Someone who could shoulder the load and reduce his carries at this stage of the player's career. Brian Robinson Jr. is exactly that, so this looks like it could be a decent tandem if everything comes together quickly under offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury.

Much like the situation with Jeremy Reaves, the Commanders have left nothing to chance where Ekeler is concerned. Hopes are high he can make his presence felt - especially in the passing game and in red-zone situations - but the structure of his deal means Washington can get off it quickly if things don't go according to plan.

The Commanders gave out plenty of bad contracts under previous regimes. That's something Adam Peters has avoided up to now, which gives the franchise an additional sense of freedom and avoids any long-term financial ramifications along the way.

If Ekeler cannot meet expectations, the Commanders could easily part ways with the player after one season. Releasing the dual-threat weapon comes with $3.61 million in savings and just $1.5 million in dead money. This is a worst-case scenario, but one those in power won't hesitate to pull the trigger on if they feel like the money could be better spent elsewhere.

Ekeler has the experience and talent to make this move a success after things ended sourly with the Los Angeles Chargers. But one doesn't have to look far around the league to see how situations like this can go the other way.