15 NFL Veterans Headed for Release During Training Camp
15 NFL Veterans Headed for Release During Training Camp
Let me start off by saying I wish the absolute best to every player on this list and sincerely hope they either prove these projections wrong or find a nice paycheck elsewhere by Week 1 of the 2013 NFL regular season. However, both roster space and salary cap are finite figures and teams need to shuffle things late in training camp; That's just how it goes.
Some of the all-time greats have been cast away either before or after their prime. Future Hall of Fame linebacker James Harrison was cut several times by multiple teams before ascending up the Pittsburgh Steelers' depth chart, scoring a Super Bowl-changing touchdown and earning Defensive Player of the Year during a terrifying tenure with the team.
Brian Urlacher, on the other hand, was an early round selection by the Chicago Bears before enjoying a long career as one of the best middle linebackers in pass coverage that the league has ever seen. When the Bears let him go this offseason, he lingered in limbo throughout free agency and the draft. Urlacher has faced a great deal of ailments and nagging injuries over the past five years and instead of risking becoming a late-training camp cut, he called it a career recently.
This year could see a dramatic increase in late-training camp cuts of high-profile players thanks to the inertia of the 2011 collective bargaining agreement, which has put teams in better position to cut vets and replace them with cheaper young talent. Pretty rough.
Jerry Hughes, Buffalo Bills
Traded to Buffalo from Indy this offseason, the first-round bust (so far) has a chance to turn it around in upstate New York, but I'd like to see it from the edge rusher before counting on it.
Alex Green, Green Bay Packers
Green notched about 460 yards in just under 150 carries, making him replaceable as rookie draft picks Johnathan Franklin and Eddie Lacy take some carries.
Jerome Simpson, Minnesota Vikings
Simpson has never quite lived up to the hype of that touchdown flip from a couple seasons ago. The Vikes re-signed him this offseason but the addition of Greg Jennings makes him less necessary to keep.
Bernard Scott, Cincinnati Bengals
Coach Marvin Lewis' team re-signed the backup halfback this offseason as he recovered from season-ending injury, but his outlook got more cloudy when Cincy took Gio Bernard in Round 2 this April.
Matt Simms, New York Jets
This was more a coin flip between Simms and Greg McElroy, but I don't see the Jets carrying four quarterbacks into the regular season.
Jason Pinkston, Cleveland Browns
Jason Pinkston lost snaps to left guard John Greco this past season due to injury, and Greco vastly surpassed Pinkston's previous output during the 2012 campaign. We'll see how this one unfolds in camp.
Jeremy Trueblood, Washington Redskins
The Redskins have a rag-tag group of right tackles at this point with Maurice Hurt, Tom Compton and Tony Pashos in the mix, and their may not be room for a player who had struggled in Tampa for years.
Michael Egnew, Miami Dolphins
Joe Philbin, Jeff Ireland and Co. will have tough decisions to make at wide receiver and tight end, and "Hard Knocks" star Egnew could get the axe.
Jonathan Dwyer, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers' backfield was already crowded before Le'Veon Bell joined it in the early rounds of the draft, and I'll give Isaac Redman the nod over Dwyer due to value in pass game.
Mike McGlynn, Indianapolis Colts
The Colts struggled mightily with interior pressure and have addressed the offensive line a great deal through free agency and the draft, so 2012 starting guard McGlynn could go.
Chris Spencer, Tennessee Titans
Same situation for the Titans, as they've added interior help to protect their young quarterback through free agency and the draft with Andy Levitre and Chance Warmack, while additional free-agent signing Spencer might not have room come September.
David Nelson, Cleveland Browns
The Browns pulled a trade for veteran Davone Bess this offseason and already have some high-upside depth in Travis Benjamin and Josh Cooper, making Nelson's spot on the roster a battle ground.
Michael Jenkins, New England Patriots
Jenkins was slow when he was on the good side of 30, and doesn't seem as good a fit for the speedy, quick-twitch slot qualities that New England already has on roster in Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola.
Chris Prosinski, Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jags overhauled their secondary this offseason and free safety Chris Prosinski could end up one of the late cuts as this franchise transitions.
Willis McGahee, Denver Broncos
It's been an incredible career for McGahee given how it started with the knee injury, but the drafting of Montee Ball this year, Ronnie Hillman last year and Knowshon Moreno's play down the stretch could spell the writing on the wall for the veteran halfback.
Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles
Cutting Vick would hit the cap pretty hard but new head coach Chip Kelly might take measures to ensure this locker room is not divided in the event Vick is benched.
Nnamdi Asomugha, San Francisco 49ers
Asomugha struggled mightily in the tackling department while in Philly, and doesn't quite mirror the bruising nature of this Niners defense. No guaranteed money in his deal either.
LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots
Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen and Brandon Bolden will already wolf down ample carries each and Blount could see the axe.
Quentin Jammer, Denver Broncos
The Broncos are already well-stocked at cornerback, and it's hard to say that Jammer will definitely be reinvigorated by a late-career safety switch.
Plaxico Burress, Pittsburgh Steelers
A longtime Steelers vet in Jerricho Cotchery and deep-burning rookie Markus Wheaton already provide a nice combination of skills for receiver depth.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals
Averaging less than four yards per carry behind one of the league's best offensive lines is less than thrilling, as The Law Firm did last year.
Malcolm Jenkins, New Orleans Saints
Jenkins and Roman Harper occupied the bottom of PFF's safety grading in 2012, and Jenkins goes because Harper has more dead money against the cap.
Jonathan Vilma, New Orleans Saints
Vilma's run with Gang Green went disastrous after they switched to the 3-4, and the same effect could happen here in New Orleans with a much older Vilma.
Donald Brown, Indianapolis Colts
The Colts now possess two backs that can create yards through the ground and air. Ahmad Bradshaw's acquisition means Brown is the third-best back behind Vick Ballard in the backfield.
Devin Hester, Chicago Bears
Once the most feared kick returner of this millennium, Hester's now on the wrong side of 30 and has never quite panned out consistently on the receiving end.