10 Players NFL Teams Will Be Happy to See off Their Rosters in 2013
With free agency set to kick off on Tuesday, many NFL teams will be excited to add new talent, while other teams will simply be happy seeing certain players off their respective rosters.
Since the 2012 season ended, numerous moves have been made in accordance to the salary cap. The Green Bay Packers cut ties with veteran Charles Woodson for financial reasons, and the Carolina Panthers let go of Chris Gamble to get below the salary cap.
Sometimes letting go of a proven veteran player is a necessity when trying to build a team capable of long-term success.
On the other hand, some roster moves have nothing to do with finances. Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall has been a headache both on and off the field, and Pittsburgh won't blink in letting him walk as an unrestricted free agent.
Let's take a look at 10 players whose team will be happy they're not on the roster next season, for one reason or another.
10. CB Quentin Jammer, Chargers
Since being the No. 5 pick in the 2002 NFL Draft, Quentin Jammer has been one of the most reliable cornerbacks in football.
In 11 seasons, Jammer has missed just four games. He has 21 career interceptions and seven forced fumbles.
But this past year may have been Jammer's worst as a professional. According to Pro Football Focus, Jammer ranked 107th among the 113 cornerbacks that played at least 25 percent of their team's defensive snaps.
PFF also had Jammer as the eighth most-targeted cornerback in the league, while quarterbacks had a passer rating of 94.4 when throwing at him. Jammer will turn 34 before the 2013 season kicks off, and he's clearly on the decline athletically.
Chargers beat writer Kevin Acee suggests the door remains open for Jammer's return, but San Diego probably wouldn't be too upset if he lands somewhere else as an unrestricted free agent.
9. OLB Connor Barwin, Texans
As a former basketball player at Cincinnati, Connor Barwin was a hot name entering the 2009 NFL Draft. Barwin spent his first three seasons on the Bearcats as a backup tight end before moving to defensive end as a senior.
The Houston Texans drafted Barwin with the 46th-overall pick, and he's certainly shown flashes of his potential during his four seasons in the league.
After a relatively quiet first two seasons, Barwin exploded onto the scene in 2011 with 11.5 sacks while starting all 16 games at outside linebacker. Expectations for Barwin were high entering 2012, but he was only able to muster three sacks on the season.
There were 34 outside linebackers that played in a 3-4 scheme and appeared in at least 25 percent of their team's snaps. Barwin graded out as No. 32 overall and No. 33 against the run, according to Pro Football Focus.
Barwin will likely receive a nice paycheck this offseason, but with Brooks Reed and Whitney Mercilus already on the roster, it's unlikely that the Texans would be willing to overpay for Barwin's services.
They could afford to lose Barwin this summer.
8. OLB Calvin Pace, Jets
When the New York Jets signed outside linebacker Calvin Pace to a six-year, $42 million deal in 2008, he was expected to provide a much-needed boost to the pass rush.
Five seasons and 28 sacks later, the Jets decided to cut the 32-year-old linebacker.
Pro Football Focus graded Pace as the 31st-best 3-4 outside linebacker last season among the 34 players that played in a minimum of 25 percent of their team's snaps. Pace ranked 30th as a pass-rusher.
As an unrestricted free agent, Pace will likely be looking at primarily one-year, incentive-based contract offers on the open market. He will turn 33 during the 2013 season and hasn't been playing at the same level as when he first arrived in New York in 2008.
The Jets need to address their pass-rushing situation this offseason, and Pace was clearly not the answer. It won't take much to replace Pace's output in Rex Ryan's defense.
7. CB Chris Gamble, Panthers
The Carolina Panthers selected Chris Gamble with the 28th-overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. Gamble started 31 games in his first two seasons and racked up 13 interceptions.
In nine NFL seasons, Gamble has 27 interceptions, but he'll now look to continue his career elsewhere.
Gamble was still playing at a high level before a shoulder injury limited him to just four games last season. By releasing Gamble, the Panthers cleared up $7.9 million in cap space.
Now under the salary cap, Carolina can pursue help at other areas of need. Currently, Josh Norman and Josh Thomas sit atop the Panthers' depth chart at cornerback, but they had no choice but to cut ties with their former first-round pick.
It likely won't be long before Gamble finds work, perhaps reuniting with former head coach John Fox on the Denver Broncos.
Had the Panthers opted not to cut ties with Gamble, they'd be in a financial struggle this offseason. They'll have a much easier time improving their team without Gamble on the payroll.
6. DT Richard Seymour, Raiders
Since coming into the NFL in 2001, Richard Seymour has been one of the league's best interior defensive linemen.
Seymour helped the New England Patriots win three Super Bowls, racking up 39.5 sacks in eight seasons in New England. The Patriots surprised Seymour by trading him to the Oakland Raiders in 2009 for a first-round draft pick.
He was reportedly "blindsided" by the trade originally, but eventually warmed up to the idea of playing in Oakland.
In four seasons with the Raiders, Seymour accounted for 18.5 sacks. He missed half the 2012 season with a hamstring injury but had only missed three games in the previous three seasons.
Despite not being with the Raiders in 2013, Seymour is set to count $14 million against the cap in "dead money." General manager Reggie McKenzie probably should have made this move a year ago, but if nothing else, letting go of Seymour will assist them in turning the page on the Al Davis fiasco.
This is a team that needs to purge all of Davis' questionable roster acquisitions and move on. Letting go of Seymour will pay off in the long run by allowing younger players to develop, as well as freeing up cap space following the 2013 season.
5. DB Charles Woodson, Packers
Packers general manager Ted Thompson typically isn't very active during free agency, but he struck gold when he signed cornerback Charles Woodson to a seven-year, $52 million contract in 2006.
In seven seasons with the Packers, Woodson won a Super Bowl and was named 2009 NFL Defensive Player of the Year by the AP. Woodson racked up 38 interceptions and nine touchdowns during his time with the Packers and is likely headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Coming into the 2012 season, the Packers envisioned Woodson playing safety in their base 3-4 defense and bumping up to slot cornerback in the nickel.
But the Packers got a preview of life after Woodson when the veteran suffered a broken collarbone last season and missed nine games. In his absence, rookie Casey Hayward emerged as a turnover machine at cornerback, while young safeties Jerron McMillian and M.D. Jennings rotated at safety alongside Morgan Burnett.
Faced with the decision of paying Woodson $10 million in salary and bonuses for 2012 or letting him go and freeing up cap space, the Packers decided to move on.
Woodson will likely catch on with another team for a year or two, but the Packers made the right move in letting him walk. He simply wasn't worth the money he was scheduled to make, and the defense kept the wheels from falling off without him in the lineup last season.
4. SS Adrian Wilson, Cardinals
For the past 12 seasons, Adrian Wilson has been a mainstay in the back end of the Arizona Cardinals' defense.
While accounting for 27 interceptions and 25.5 sacks, Wilson has missed a total 11 games since 2001. He's been the leader of Arizona's defense and one of the league's most consistent safeties.
In 2011, Pro Football Focus graded Wilson as the second-best safety in football, behind only Troy Polamalu. This past season was a much different story for the 33-year-old safety. Among 88 safeties that played at least 25 percent of their team's snaps, Wilson came in at No. 59.
And after his disappointing 2012 season, the Cardinals cut Wilson, saving $3 million in cap room.
At this point of his career, Wilson is strictly an in-the-box safety. With plenty of free-agent safeties on the market, Wilson may have to wait a while for a deal.
The Cardinals could be in the market to sign such a free agent to compete with second-year player Justin Bethel for playing time alongside Kerry Rhodes. Either way, the Cardinals weren't relying on Wilson too heavily last season, and they won't miss him in 2013.
3. RB Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers
Rashard Mendenhall was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 23rd-overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. After appearing in just six games as a rookie, Mendenhall took over as the team's primary ball carrier in 2009.
Between 2009-11 the former Illinois star rushed for 3,309 yards and 29 touchdowns. However, ball security has continued to be an issue (Mendenhall has lost seven fumbles in 57 career games) and his character has also been called into question.
Late in the 2012 season, Mendenhall didn't show up for Pittsburgh's game against the San Diego Chargers. He received a one-game suspension and didn't appeal his fine which was more than $41,000. A player with minimal impact on the field the past few years certainly won't benefit from being labeled as a locker-room cancer.
Replacing Mendenhall for much of 2012, running backs Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman carried the ball a combined 266 times for 1,033 yards and four touchdowns.
Mendenhall is an unrestricted free agent, and he's replaceable. The Steelers won't regret letting him walk.
2. RB Michael Turner, Falcons
Since being traded to Atlanta in 2007, Michael Turner has racked up 60 rushing touchdowns in five seasons with the Falcons.
Turner found the endzone 11 times this last season but averaged a career-low 3.6 yards per carry. He's listed at 247 pounds on NFL.com, but at this stage of his career, Turner looks more like a offensive guard than a running back.
Once known as "The Burner," Turner clocked a 4.49 in the forty-yard dash at the 2004 NFL Scouting Combine. Unfortunately for Turner, those days are a distant memory, and he's now a free agent looking for work.
Second-year player Jacquizz Rodgers emerged as a weapon for the Falcons in 2012. While Turner led the team with 222 carries, Rodgers touched the ball a total of 147 times.
Rodgers will return next season, but Atlanta will likely be in the market for a running back to help share the load. According to NFL.com, the Falcons are one of the front-runners to land free-agent running back Steven Jackson.
Assuming they can find a player to rotate with Rodgers at running back, the Falcons should have an improved running game without Turner in the fold.
1. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eagles
The Kevin Kolb trade is an interesting move no matter how you slice it. In 2011, Arizona traded cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round pick to Philadelphia for quarterback Kevin Kolb.
Almost two years later, the Cardinals don't have a definitive starting quarterback, and the Eagles are still searching for a shutdown cornerback.
In his first season in Philadelphia, Rodgers-Cromartie often played in the slot while Nnamdi Asomugha and Asante Samuel handled the perimeter. DRC failed to record a single interception for the first time in his career, and the first chapter of his Eagles career was off to a rocky start.
As a second-year player with the Eagles, Rodgers-Cromartie wasn't any better. Despite intercepting three passes, he graded out as Pro Football Focus' No. 98 cornerback in football, among 113.
Prior to the 2011 season with DRC, Samuel and Asomugha in the fold, many thought the Eagles would have the league's best trio of cornerbacks. Needless to say, things didn't go as planned. Philadelphia went 12-20 in the past two seasons.
With Rodgers-Cromartie likely headed elsewhere as an unrestricted free agent, the Eagles could opt to cut Asomugha next. That whole "Dream Team" thing suddenly looks like a nightmare.
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