June 1 used to be the day that teams released players and were able to push some of the salary cap consequences of the move. But the date has come and gone and there were no major cuts in the NFL. In fact, there weren’t even any minor ones. And there are expected to be any today, the NFL’s first business day after June 1.
Technically, the date still has significance. Essentially, bonus prorations are frozen for the rest of the year starting June 1. Teams can now release players and, if they have more than one season left on their contracts, some of the salary cap pain can be pushed into the 2015 league year.
But teams don’t have to wait until June 1 to release a player and get the favorable cap treatment. As of 2006, as soon as free agency starts teams can release up to two players and designate them as June 1 cuts. That way the player gets to hit the free agent market before the big money has dried up. The team benefits because they don’t have to risk the player getting injured while working out on team premises or during OTAs. If that happens the team could be on the hook for the player’s entire season salary.
What it boils down to is that June 1 cuts have already been made. However, there still is some significance to the date. For one thing, the cap numbers of the players who were designated June 1 cuts remain on the books until today. For example, the Cowboys woke up today with $5.5 million more in salary cap room than they had yesterday due to the March release of wide receiver Miles Austin.
None of the players the Redskins released earlier this year were designated as June 1 cuts.
June 1 is significant in one other way. Unrestricted free agents (as differentiated from players who were released by their teams) can now be signed without counting in the compensatory draft pick formula. This has no effect on the Redskins as they do not appear in line to collect any comp picks in 2015 because of the number of free agents that the signed already far outweighs count of those who have signed with other teams.