By Howard Balzer for KSDK Sports
Is it possible that we haven't seen the last of linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar? Coach Jeff Fisher made it sound that way Wednesday afternoon.
"We haven't said this is it as far as his future's concerned here, but we felt it was in the best interest of the organization right now," Fisher said. When asked if might be re-signed following his suspension, Fisher said, "Of course, there's a good possibility. Anything's possible. There were no other issues. It was just a decision we had to make."
A closer look at Dunbar's contract, which was in its final year, reveals that he had $500,000 of what are considered likely to be earned incentives, based on what he achieved last season, in his terminated contract. Those incentives count against the salary cap.
Missing four games would make it unlikely he would earn that money, but it would still count against the cap all year. Dunbar's cap figure was $2.3 million this season, and about $2 million minus the lost money from the suspension.
Releasing him saves the Rams $1.5 million instead of $1 million, and the Rams have been snug up against the cap for awhile when only the top 51 players counted. By 3 p.m. Wednesday, all NFL teams had to be compliant with the cap for all 53 players, those on reserve/injured or physically unable to perform and the practice squad.
This year, practice-squad players saw their weekly salary increase from $5,700 to $6,000. That's $102,000 for a player on the squad all season. With eight players, that's a cost and cap charge of over $800,000 for each team.
Howard Balzer will be contributing to KSDK Sports throughout the 2013 season. Howard hosts PrimeTime Monday-Friday from 6-8 pm on CBS Sports 920, and Pro Football Sunday pre- and post-game shows on 590 the Man. He is also a host on SiriusXM NFL radio and one of 44 selectors for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.