NFL Cuts 2013: Players Who Won't Last on Waiver Wire for Long

Ethan GrantAnalyst IAugust 29, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 08:  Joe McKnight #25 of the New York Jets returns a kickoff 100-yards for a touchdown in the third quarter against the Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium on October 8, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

When one door closes, another one opens. 

That's not always the case in the NFL, but looking on the bright side after being shown that first door is often how players cope with the reality of being cut from squads while looking toward the future. 

Undoubtedly, there are players who receive the ax in between training camp and the first regular-season game who can contribute to 53-man rosters in some capacity. Chances are a fickle thing—in one city a player might be unnecessary depth, whereas another franchise might have a positional hole to fill. 

As the old saying goes, "One man's trash is another man's treasure."

Keeping that in mind, here's a look at three players who have recently entered the NFL unemployment line who won't carry that weight with them for long. 

*For the latest look at each team's cuts before the final preseason game of the year, check out


Former New York Jets Running Back Joe McKnight

Even though he was a fourth-round pick in the 2010 NFL draft, Joe McKnight has been a bust. 

One of the most heavily recruited running backs in the nation out of high school, the speedy running back chose USC as his preferred destination. After three mediocre-to-average seasons with the Trojans, McKnight left college early to start his professional career. 

That professional career hasn't panned out. 

It's telling that the Jets released Knight on Monday; their RB situation isn't exactly set in stone. Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell are the lead dogs, but elsewhere Mike Goodson is suspended for the first four games of the season, and there are no other proven RBs on the roster. 

As noted by CBS Sports' Josh Katzowitz, legal issues, a head injury and poor-attitude/maturity issues have kept McKnight in the dog house throughout training camp.

That being said, New York Post writer Brian Costello provided us with a tweet that might serve as evidence that being cut is exactly what McKnight needs to turn his career around:

A talented kickoff returner who has the highest kick-return average among active players, McKnight can contribute on special teams and turn a game around with his speed. In three NFL seasons, he has two kick returns for touchdowns and has averaged a 12.9 yards per punt return.

In the right situation, McKnight can be a talented third-down back with game-changing ability in the return game.

It's hard to ignore that kind of talent.


Former Baltimore Ravens Tight End Visanthe Shiancoe

Shiancoe, 33, is on the down side of his career and was cut by the Baltimore Ravens since Ed Dickson, Dallas Clark and Billy Bajema figure to stabilize the position for John Harbaugh. 

That being said, the 10-year veteran is a capable pass-catcher and could be an emergency fill-in for a team in need of tight end depth.

Originally drafted by the New York Giants in 2003, Shiancoe didn't break through as a serviceable player until he moved to Minnesota in 2007. During a five-year stint with the Vikings, Shiancoe averaged 485 receiving yards and five touchdowns a season.

While not a starting-caliber tight end anymore, Shiancoe is a proven veteran with 27 career touchdown receptions. At 6'4" and 250 pounds, he can still contribute in the red zone and as a blocker in run situations.

As noted by's Ian Rapoport, Shiancoe could be an option in Miami:

Kansas City, which just lost Tony Moeaki for the season, and Pittsburgh, where Heath Miller and Matt Spaeth are on the shelf to start the season, are interesting possibilities when digging through current NFL rosters. 


Former Philadelphia Eagles Safety Kenny Phillips

A former first-round pick of the Giants, Kenny Phillips was released by the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Only 26 years old, Phillips should be in the prime of his career. 

Chip Kelly apparently doesn't think so.

Phillips has dealt with knee injuries and missed Philly's last two preseason games with a quadriceps problem, making him expendable to the Eagles as they revamp the defense. 

Injuries could serve as a crutch to Phillips' future plans, but there's little doubt that he's an impact safety capable of holding down a starting position when healthy—he did it for the Giants for the past five years. 

Speaking of the Giants, could the G-Men be a fit for Phillips? Stevie Brown is out for the year with an ACL injury, making safety a position of need in New York. 

Though an obvious connection can be made between the two parties, Newsday's Tom Rock doesn't see it as an obvious option—yet:


Cuts are never easy demotions to swallow for NFL players, but luckily, all 32 teams monitor the waiver wire for ways to improve all season. Once preseason is officially over and the regular season begins, don't be surprised if these three guys are scooped up quickly. 


Follow B/R's Ethan Grant on Twitter.