20 NFL Veterans Who Won't Make 53-Man Roster of Current Team
Every single offseason we see big names change teams for a multitude of reasons. This trend isn't going to change in 2012. In fact, you could see some extremely productive veterans get the boot as training camp approaches.
Donald Driver will probably be calling a new city home, while Osi Umenyiora might not be returning to the defending Super Bowl champions.
This article is going to focus on 20 players who are not going to make their team's 53-man roster for one reason or another.
Let's take a look.
Pacman Jones, Cornerback, Cincinnati Bengals
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I had previously focused on Nate Clements as a possible training camp cut for the Cincinnati Bengals. While that still makes some sense, you can bet Marvin Lewis and company are going to go into the regular season with all hands on board.
Clements, Terence Newman and Jason Allen represent a rock-solid veteran trio at this position. That doesn't even take into account the Bengals' No. 1 corner, Leon Hall, who should be back early in the season from injury, or first-round pick Dre Kirkpatrick.
Needless to say, the Bengals seem stacked at this position.
They also have Brandon Tate and Bernard Scott prepared to handle kick-return duties, which means that there probably isn't any room for Pacman Jones on the roster. He has performed adequately when healthy but isn't anything special at this point in his career.
He won't be a huge loss for this up-and-coming team.
Possible Destinations: Oakland Raiders, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Larry English, Linebacker, San Diego Chargers
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Once again, I am reversing course here as I had Shaun Phillips on the chopping block a few weeks ago.
But while the veteran outside linebacker did have his worst season in 2011, he brings a lot to the table in terms of leadership and pass-rushing ability.
Larry English, a first-round pick of the San Diego Chargers in 2009, just hasn't lived up to the expectations in their 3-4 defensive scheme. He has a total of seven sacks and four starts in three NFL seasons.
With the selection of Melvin Ingram and signing of Jarret Johnson in free agency, the Chargers don't have a tremendous amount of room on the roster for a player not living up to his potential.
Look for them to attempt to find a trade partner for the young pass-rusher. If that doesn't happen, the Chargers could just release English outright.
Possible Destinations: San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens
Ryan Lilja, Guard, Kansas City Chiefs
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It remains to be seen if 2012 second-round pick Jeff Allen is ready to take over the starting left guard position for the Kansas City Chiefs. This is an entirely new position for the former Illinois standout, but he does possess the necessary skills to translate to the interior of the offensive line.
Ryan Lilja struggled a great deal in both pass protection and run-blocking last season. His regression in every aspect of the game is going to be placed under a microscope during training camp because of the Chiefs' improved personnel on the offensive line.
If Allen wins the job, which isn't out of the realm of possibility, Lilja could be looking for a new job.
Possible Destinations: San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals, Minnesota Vikings
Ty Warren, Defensive Tackle, Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos made a strong effort to fortify the interior of their defensive line by re-signing Justin Bannan and drafting Derek Wolfe in the second round of April's draft.
This was an area of weakness along a vastly improved overall Broncos defense in 2011.
Ty Warren played absolutely no role in it and has suited up for just one game over the course of the last two seasons. Despite a lack of productivity and inability to see the field, Warren is refusing to take a pay cut from his $4 million 2012 salary.
This means that the Broncos are probably going to cut him loose.
Possible Destinations: New England Patriots, San Diego Chargers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Anthony Fasano, Tight End, Miami Dolphins
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The Miami Dolphins are definitely going to want some weapons at the tight end position if Ryan Tannehill earns the starting job out of training camp.
However, it remains to be seen if they view Anthony Fasano as one of those weapons. Miami selected Michael Egnew in April's draft and plans on using Charles Clay in a hybrid fullback-tight end role.
Fasano hasn't lived up to expectations in Miami since coming over from the Dallas Cowboys in a trade prior to the 2008 season. The veteran tight end has failed to catch at least 40 passes in each of his four seasons in South Beach.
Additionally, Fasano is set to earn nearly $4.5 million in the final year of his contract.
Possible Destinations: Oakland Raiders, Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bears
Will Witherspoon, Linebacker, Tennessee Titans
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This is all contingent on the Tennessee Titans feeling that second-round pick Zach Brown is ready to take over as their starting weakside linebacker.
If so, you can fully expect Will Witherspoon to be looking for another job in the near future. He has tons of starting experience in the 4-3 defensive scheme and would be a solid addition on the open market.
Possible Destinations: Philadelphia Eagles, Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions
Danny Amendola, Wide Receiver, St. Louis Rams
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As with every veteran receiver on the St. Louis Rams' roster, it is a numbers game for Danny Amendola. They have selected four wide receivers in the top four rounds of the last two NFL drafts.
This leaves little room for veterans, who obviously didn't perform up to par.
At this point I would have to assume Brandon Gibson's job is safe because of how he has performed over the course of the last couple of seasons. The leaves newly signed Steve Smith and Amendola fighting for the final roster spot at wide receiver.
My money is on Smith winning the job at this point.
Possible Destinations: Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens
Michael Jenkins, Wide Receiver, Minnesota Vikings
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Michael Jenkins didn't exactly set the world on fire in his first season with the Minnesota Vikings in 2011. He was way too inconsistent to be counted on in the passing game and struggled stretching the field on the outside.
This is something the Vikings cannot afford if they plan on Christian Ponder growing into a franchise quarterback in the future.
Minnesota also drafted both Jarius Wright and Greg Childs in April, while bringing in Jerome Simpson in free agency.
There just isn't any room on the roster for Jenkins at this point.
Possible Destinations: Oakland Raiders, Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints
Jimmy Clausen, Quarterback, Carolina Panthers
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It never a good thing when you can't beat out Derek Anderson for a backup quarterback role. This is the situation that Jimmy Clausen found himself in last season, just one year removed from being a second-round pick.
At some point a young quarterback just needs a change of scenery in order to realize his full potential. This might be the case for Clausen right now.
Look for the Carolina Panthers to test the trade market for the remainder of the offseason in order to receive a late-round pick in return. However, there is a possibility he is just released outright during training camp.
Possible Destinations: Kansas City Chiefs, Cleveland Browns
Darryl Tapp, Defensive End, Philadelphia Eagles
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The addition of Vinny Curry in the draft last month has left a couple of Philadelphia Eagles' veteran pass-rushers vulnerable of losing a roster spot.
At this point it seems to be between Brandon Graham and Darryl Tapp. While the former has been a tremendous bust in his first two seasons with Philadelphia, it is hard to imagine them giving up on a high first-round pick after just a couple years.
This leaves Tapp on the chopping block. He has been far from a consistent performer since coming over from the Seattle Seahawks in a trade prior to the 2010 season, tallying just 5.5 sacks.
Possible Destinations: Kansas City Chiefs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Chad Ochocinco, Wide Receiver, New England Patriots
The New England Patriots currently have 10 receivers on their roster who could conceivably make the 53-man out of training camp. This promises to lead to a lot of competition during training camp.
Chad Ochocinco did take a pay cut, which dropped his salary from $3 million to $1 million. But that doesn't mean the veteran receiver is guaranteed a roster spot.
Tom Curran over at Comcast Sports New England believes Ochocinco "stands a 30 percent chance of making the roster."
I wouldn't put the odds that high.
Possible Destinations: Washington Redskins, New Orleans Saints, St. Louis Rams, Oakland Raiders, Houston Texans
Knowshon Moreno, Running Back, Denver Broncos
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Even before the Denver Broncos drafted Ronnie Hillman last month it appeared Knowshon Moreno would have a hard time making the roster out of camp.
Moreno has had troubles off the field to compound his problems on it. The former first-round pick was arrested on DUI charges in February. Couple that with his disappointing production, and you have the makings of a divorce here.
Possible Destinations: New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions, Atlanta Falcons
Mike Jenkins, Cornerback, Dallas Cowboys
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The Dallas Cowboys outwardly put Mike Jenkins on the trade market during the draft after they traded up for Morris Claiborne in the first round.
This is an indicator that Jerry Jones and company do not envision the cornerback having a future with the team. They went out and added Brandon Carr in free agency, who will team up as a starter with the aforementioned Claiborne.
Moreover, the Cowboys owe Orlando Scandrick $7.7 million in 2012, indicating that he has cemented a spot as their nickel corner.
Now that the draft is over it appears that Jenkins isn't happy with his contract and wants to be traded. No matter how it happens, don't expect him back in Dallas.
Possible Destinations: Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots
Chris Kelsay, Defensive End, Buffalo Bills
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The Buffalo Bills have done a great job upgrading their front seven over the course of the last couple seasons with the additions of Marcell Dareus, Mario Williams and Mark Anderson.
This is going to leave holdovers on the fringe of being cut. Chris Kelsay is one of those players. He has leveled out as a productive, but basically average player over the course of the last couple seasons.
Kelsay is also set to earn nearly $5.8 million in 2012—a price tag that seems too high for a player that has lost his starting job.
Possible Destinations: New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Kansas City Chiefs
Colt McCoy, Quarterback, Cleveland Browns
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The Cleveland Browns plan on giving Brandon Weeden every possible opportunity to win the starting job as a rookie in 2012.
This leaves Colt McCoy on the outside looking in. Are the Browns realistically planning on keeping the young quarterback as a backup? I just do not see that happening.
There will be a tremendous amount of interest in McCoy on the trade market. Teams that are looking for a viable backup option will definitely give Cleveland a call. Other teams that are looking for competition at the starting position in the future could also show interest.
Possible Destinations: Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs
Titus Young, Wide Receiver, Detroit Lions
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This might be jumping the gun a little bit, but the last thing that a young team like the Detroit Lions needs is internal issues within the roster. They have the talent and continuity to compete for a Super Bowl in 2012, and they cannot afford anymore distractions to keep them from that ultimate goal.
Titus Young was involved in a fight with teammate Louis Delmas last week, and while the details in various reports are still murky, indications are that the Lions are at the very least unhappy with their young receiver. If Jim Schwartz and company want to start showing more discipline on this roster, they might make the decision to trade Young prior to the start of the 2012 season.
After all, it isn't like the Lions are without options at the wide receiver position.
Possible Destinations: Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens
Rolando McClain, Linebacker, Oakland Raiders
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There are a few different reasons that Rolando McClain is on this list.
First, he is going to have to serve a 180-day jail sentence for gun charges involving an incident earlier this year. Secondly, McClain just hasn't been that solid of a performer for the Oakland Raiders over the course of his first few seasons in the NFL.
McClain is also set to earn nearly $5.6 million on a Raiders team in a relatively tight salary cap situation. The team cannot afford to have a player like McClain take up that amount of money against the cap. Oakland would be better served releasing McClain outright and using that money to find a veteran linebacker that can be counted on to perform on a consistent basis.
Possible Destinations: Denver Broncos, Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals
Donald Driver, Wide Receiver, Green Bay Packers
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As I mentioned in a previous article, it is hard to imagine Donald Driver in any other uniform than that of the Green Bay Packers. However, there is a strong possibility this could happen in the near future.
The Packers have ample wide receivers on their roster that figure to play a larger role than Driver heading into the 2012 season. Additionally, he is owed $5.6 million next season. If Driver doesn't agree to a restructured contract prior to June, it's likely he will be looking for a new home this summer.
Possible Destinations: Denver Broncos, Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans, San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins
Bart Scott, Linebacker, New York Jets
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The only thing that has kept Bart Scott on the New York Jets roster throughout this offseason is the fact that $4.2 million of his 2012 salary is fully guaranteed.
Scott has seen his production decline a great deal over the course of the last couple seasons as he appears to be on the downswing of a strong career.
New York also drafted Demario Davis in the third round of April's draft. He figures to be the starting inside linebacker sooner rather than later. If the Arkansas State product shows he can handle the starting job immediately, there is a strong possibility Scott will be shown the door.
Possible Destinations: Baltimore Ravens, Oakland Raiders
Osi Umenyiora, Defensive Line, New York Giants
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Don't get me wrong, the New York Giants are not going to release Osi Umenyiora outright unless things break down further between the two sides.
That being said, the defending Super Bowl champions do not need the distractions that this talented pass-rusher brings with him on a consistent basis. At some point they are going to come to the conclusion that he just isn't worth it.
After all, it isn't like the Giants are lacking in the pass-rush department outside of Umenyiora.
Considering the public nature of the spat between the two sides, it is hard to imagine New York getting fair market value in the form of an early-round pick. The Giants are probably looking at something in the third- or fourth-round range at this point.
Possible Destinations: Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Philadelphia Eagles