The NFL is in many ways like the jungle. Sure, we have our Panthers, Lions, Jaguars and Tigers, (Bengals). But I was primarily thinking about the law of the jungle, survival of the fittest.
Every year, there's a certain percentage of NFL veteran players who are told that this is the end of the line. Your locker is cleaned out, and you wait to hear from your agent if some other team has claimed you on waivers or not.
The reasons for a veteran player to be released can vary across the board. Sometimes, it comes down to performance issues, salary-cap maneuvering, coaching change, scheme change, player gained weight or lost too much weight, player lost a step, not recovering from injuries fast enough, age, or maybe, a combination of multiple factors we listed.
We have already witnessed one surprising release this offseason, as Oakland Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie has begun cleaning house with the release of cornerback Stanford Routt.
In some of these cases, a player may opt to simple retire, rather than risk the humbling experience of being waived or released. In some cases, a player will be released, only to come back to the team later on with a new contract that has suddenly become more cap-friendly to his team. We would still consider that scenario to qualify for our presentation, as there appears to be some of those exact situations that need to be resolved in the 2012 offseason.
On to our presentation of the 30 NFL veterans who are the most likely players to be released in the 2012 offseason.