With five weeks remaining in the NFL's regular season, there is just one division with a gap of three games between the first- and second-place teams, as the Patriots (9-2) are now three games clear of the Dolphins (6-5) in the AFC East. The rest of the divisions are air-tight, with the AFC North and NFC South -- in entirely different ways -- shaping up to be particularly fascinating races down the stretch.
So while much of the NFL is still alive in the playoff hunt, every team -- even those that look likely to reach the postseason -- must keep an eye toward its future and sustaining or achieving success. Part of success in the NFL is managing finances, and while high-priced, free-agent signings often generate significant buzz, they also come with risk. Every team evaluates every player based on his performance, his attitude, whether he is worth the price is he owed, and the consequences of moving on from him.
Below are five big-name players who, based on performance, salary and the contingency plans a team has available in place, are possible cap casualties during the 2015 offseason.