Because of the new collective bargaining agreement, things have changed.
According to the NFLPA, before the new league year starts in March, teams can choose up to two players each year who may be released before June 1 to sign with another team, but whose salary cap amount is still carried with the team until June 1 (such salary cap amount shall not reflect any renegotiation of the player's contract that occurred after the last regular season game prior to last season).
By releasing the players early so they can find another team to play for, teams are in a sense rewarded for this by spreading out the remaining accelerated signing bonus in to next year's cap. So they only get charged for one season of the remaining bonus not the entire bonus acceleration in the current season.
Because so many teams made moves earlier this year and the salary cap has risen, the June 1 cutdown date probably will be anticlimactic.
While there's a good chance you won't see any big name players released in early June, here is Scout.com's list of possible salary cuts:
Marcel Shipp/Arizona/base salary - $1.425 million (final year of his contract): That's a lot of money to a player whose play has deteriorated in recent years and who isn't certain to win the No. 2 job.
Lee Suggs/Cleveland/base salary - $950,000: While there hasn't been an indication that his job is in jeopardy, RB William Green is ahead of him on the depth chart and the team selected RB Jerome Harrison in April's draft. If Suggs isn't released, he could be dealt some time during training camp to a team that loses a back due to injury.
David Patten/Washington/base salary - $1.085 million: Patten doesn't figure to be any better than their fourth receiver so his salary seems quite high for player in that role.
Paul Grasmanis (DT)/Philadelphia/base salary -$710,000 (final year of his contract): The Eagles don't usually release players post June 1 because they're usually in great cap shape at this time and they're in solid cap shape again so they don't need to make a move. However, it should be noted Grasmanis hasn't contributed much over the past three years mostly due to injury and he's projected to be no better than No. 5 on the depth chart, that is if he beats out fellow veteran DT Ed Jasper. The team would be doing Gramanis a favor of releasing him in early June so he could hook up with another team.
Bobby Hamilton (DE)/Oakland/base salary - $1.335 million: The veteran end is probably a better fit for a 3-4 scheme and the team went back to using four down linemen last season. Hamilton is also slated to be a backup this season and his salary is high for a player in his role.
Courtney Watson (MLB)/New Orleans/base salary-$425,000: He would have been traded to Miami had the deal not been voided due to LB Eddie Moore flunking the Saints' physical. Watson has been a big disappointment for the club since being selected in the second round of the 2004 draft.
Kailee Wong (OLB)/Houston/base salary -$2 million: He's still coming back from knee surgery and may not be ready for the start of the regular season. Wong is also on the hook for over $10.5 million over the next four seasons.
Mark Roman (SS)/Green Bay/base salary -$800,000: He has been competing against free agent signee Marquand Manuel during their most recent mini-camp. Though Roman had a career year last year, his play since he signed with Green Bay prior to the 2004 season has been inconsistent.