*Victor Cruz was the first big name released this offseason, but he won't be the last. Expect the free-agent market to swell with more notable players before March 9, when the new league year starts. Here's a look at some of the players on the roster bubble in the AFC. (Click here for the NFC rundown.) *
Strong candidates for release
1) Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: It can get awkward when a franchise legend's salary-cap number exceeds his value. Charles has played only eight games over the last two seasons because of knee injuries, and general manager John Dorsey is digging for cap room. The team can save $6.187 million by cutting Charles, money that can be used to sign safety Eric Berry.
2) Darrelle Revis, CB and 3) Nick Mangold, C, New York Jets: The Revis reunion tour has churned out diminishing hits and acrimony. There's no chance the Jets want an encore with Revis set to make a quarterback's salary in 2017. If Revis is the best Jets draft pick this century (14th overall in 2007), Mangold (29th overall in 2006) might be No. 2. The team can save $9.075 million by releasing the 33-year-old center, who missed half of last season with an ankle injury. GM Mike Maccagnan should embrace a rebuild.
4) Mario Williams, DE and 5) Branden Albert, LT, Miami Dolphins: This is the second straight year Williams has made this list as a near-certainty to get cut. That's a sign that his career is nearly over, unless he wants to continue playing at a drastically reduced salary. Unlike Williams, Albert was a terrific free-agent signing by Miami. But that signing happened in 2014, and the Dolphins have since stumbled upon a future star left tackle in Laremy Tunsil. Albert's play tailed off in 2016, and the team can save $7.2 million in cap room by cutting him.
8) Elvis Dumervil, LB, Baltimore Ravens: Dumervil arrived in Baltimore just after the Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII, having left Denver just before the Broncos' two Super Bowl appearances. Perhaps that's why such an excellent career (99 sacks, two first-team All-Pro nods) has been so overlooked. GM Ozzie Newsome has a lot of work to do on the Ravens' defense, and dodging Dumervil's $8.375 million cap figure is one obvious place to start.
13) Brandon Flowers, CB and 14) D.J. Fluker, OG, Los Angeles Chargers: Flowers has suffered four concussions the last three seasons and said in January he's "got to pray about" the possibility of retiring. Fluker was GM Tom Telesco's first draft pick with the organization, but no amount of loyalty should make the team pay him $8.8 million on the fifth-year option it exercised last year. Cutting pricey free-agent pickup guard Orlando Franklin could also be a possibility.
The Tyrod dilemma
Sanity can still prevail in Buffalo with what NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport called the "very real" possibility that Tyrod Taylorstays with the team on an adjusted contract. Taylor fits new offensive coordinator Rick Dennison's scheme well, and the Bills are unlikely to find a better quarterback in free agency or on the trade market.
Still, there's a chance that the Bills will cut Taylor before the March 11 deadline to exercise an option that would guarantee him $30.75 million. The Browns, among other teams, could be waiting in the wings to see if Buffalo GM Doug Whaley completes his quest to rid the Bills of any competent quarterbacks.
Potential surprise names
1) Brandon Marshall, WR and 2) David Harris, LB, New York Jets: Marshall's salary ($7.5 million) isn't outrageous for a solid starting receiver, which Marshall should be in 2017. The question is whether Marshall will get in the way of younger players, specifically Robby Anderson. Harris has long been an unheralded rock for the Jets and should only be released if Mike Maccagnan goes Full Rebuild.
McCoy is a very awkward fit in new coordinator Rick Dennison's one-cut running attack. The Bills could decide to risk letting McCoy go a year too early rather than hold on to him a year too long. If the team designates McCoy a post-June 1 cut, they get $6.25 million in cap room and -- more importantly -- save $6 million in cash to spend elsewhere. The Bills have a number of high-priced players who may no longer work with the new coaching staff. Tight end Charles Clay is paid like a superstar for role-player production, although his contract makes him difficult to cut. Defensive end Jerry Hughes and defensive tackle Kyle Williams are also questionable fits with new coach Sean McDermott. GM Doug Whaley may be loath to blow this team up because of the dead money involved, but there's a case to be made to start clearing the decks.
4) Jason McCourty, CB, Tennessee Titans: This would be a surprise primarily because he's the only guy you know in the Tennessee secondary.
Other potential cuts
1) Danny Amendola, WR and 2) Sebastian Vollmer, RT, New England Patriots: Amendola is like a groundhog that only comes out on Super Bowl Sundays. He will have to take a pay cut for a third straight offseason to stick in Foxborough. Vollmer is a wonderful German teacher and host, but the Patriots have committed to right tackle Marcus Cannon long term, while Vollmer missed 2016.
5) Arthur Jones, DT, Indianapolis Colts: Look for a lot of ex-GM Ryan Grigson's signings to leave the building.