By Nick Villano @nick_villano on May 21, 2014
It seemed this year that more superstars than ever were released prior to the NFL Draft. Players like Julius Peppers, DeMarcus Ware, DeSean Jackson, Darrelle Revis and Steve Smith were briefly without a team. There are other veterans that aren't going to be with their current teams. Every season, we see vets who don't make the 53-man roster. These 15 will hit the market before Week 1.
Might as well start with the defending champs. Zach Miller has two years left on his deal, but the cap penalty is low. He was the team's highest-paid player last year. Even with the pay cut he took, it won't be enough for him to stay on the roster for million in 2014.
This is a move many thought would happen last year. Injuries to Danario Alexander and Malcolm Floyd made him a crucial part of the offense. Despite scoring eight touchdowns in 2013, Royal is expandable with Floyd coming back and the possibility of re-signing Alexander. With Keenan Allen showing he was a true No. 1, there is no room for Royal on this team.
The 11-year veteran is in the twilight of his illustrious career. Will Allen wasn't bad as Troy Polamalu's backup, but the Pittsburgh Steelers will look for cheaper options. Even though Allen is only making $ 955,000 this year, he is taking up a spot Mike Tomlin could use to mold a rookie.
Rashean Mathis spent the first season of his career outside of Jacksonville last season. He wasn't very good with Detroit. He didn't record an interception, although he did deflect 15 passes. With a new defense being instituted, I don't see Mathis standing out and winning a starting job. That will cause him to lose his job altogether.
Green-Ellis has not been what the Bengals hoped for when they signed him three years ago. With the emergence of Giovani Bernard, the Law Firm is expendable. His rushing average dropped to 3.4 yards per carry. The team will forgo the final year of his contract and move on.
From a talent standpoint, Greg Hardy is a player you do not let go of. He is one of the best defensive ends in the game. The problem is, he has a very sticky domestic violence case over his head. The facts of the case are scary to say the least. If he is found guilty, he could see some serious jail time. That isn't something the Panthers will want to deal with for a guy signed to a franchise deal.
Don't lie, a lot of you didn't know that Jerome Simpson was still employed with the NFL. The new regime in Minnesota will most likely move on without Simpson on the team. Greg Jennings should be returning healthy, which makes Simpson unnecessary for Teddy Bridgewater and the Vikings.
With Jeff Fisher and the St. Louis Rams taking another running back in the draft, Isaiah Pead's time with the team should be quickly coming to an end. He has not fit in this system from the start, so his release will probably come as a relief.
Peria Jerry was brought back this offseason, along with the rest of the Falcons' defensive line. He is signed to a team-friendly contract, but he could give another team much more. This may be more of a hope, seeing how he is only going to be used as more of a backup in this role. His odd-man-out status could spell free agency for Jerry.
With the impending suspension looming, the Jaguars have obviously moved on with two receiver prospects taken in the second round. I will admit I am not sure how the CBA works when it comes to contracts of suspended players, but I think the Jags move on from Blackmon however they can. If he plays in 2014, he is going to be a very good signing.
The San Francisco 49ers know that they will soon need to re-sign Colin Kaepernick and others if they want to stay as competitive as they have. With that much money moving around, there will be veterans who will lose their jobs. They can save over .5 million by cutting Glenn Dorsey this offseason.
Jacob Tamme was supposed to break out in 2013. He ended the season with 184 yards while he watched Julius Thomas win fantasy leagues. When Peyton Manning throws for 55 touchdowns and you only come down with one, you might not make the team the next season.
Santana Moss was brought back to the Redskins before they added DeSean Jackson to the team. Moss has been great for them during his career, but there just isn't room for him this year. He may decide to retire, or he could hold on with someone else. Either way, he will not start the year with the Redskins.
The Dallas Cowboys made noise this offseason by signing Brandon Weeden. Jerry Jones bypassed the sexy pick when he did not take Johnny Manziel in the Draft. Even with that, Kyle Orton seems like the guy who is expendable. He was a very well-paid backup. The Cowboys could use that money elsewhere.
Brandon Graham had three sacks for the Eagles in 2013. That seems like something that will keep him on a team. Unfortunately, that was part of only 19 tackles all year. The former first-round pick will not make it onto the Eagles' roster for Chip Kelly this year.
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