Burst? 35 Notable NFL Players on the Roster Bubble
Ah, a few more weeks of safety for those choosing to continue their dreams of playing in the NFL.
Then training camp begins and all bets are off for the fringe talent—the busts, the troubled souls, the has-beens, and the injury prone. The "Turk" will be coming with a pink slip for nearly a third of the players currently on NFL Rosters.
NFL teams are currently limited to 80 players on a preseason roster. But by the time the regular season comes, that limit is down to 53 lucky individuals.
Certainly the vast majority of cuts will come as little or no surprise to virtually anyone, player included.
However, in this piece there are 35 POTENTIAL cuts that might surprise and at a bare minimum would be notable if they happened for one reason or another.
There are some players on this list that invariably won't be cut. I'm simply suggesting that they could be.
Taylor is 34 and older players are not a desirable commodity in the league. Old running backs with 11,540 yards of tread on their tires are like the plague, plus he missed most of last season with an ankle injury.
Laurence Maroney and Kevin Faulk (versatility) are near locks to make the roster. Sammy Morris and BenJarvus Green-Ellis are younger more dependable options, which should close the book on a great NFL career.
Gholston hasn't recorded a sack in two years.
The No. 6 overall pick in the 2008 draft was recently moved to defensive end even though he is only 6'3" and 264 pounds and the New York Jets play a 3-4 defense (which requires bigger defensive ends).
Despite catching 37 passes for 622 yards and five touchdowns last season, Patrick Crayton is caught in the numbers game in Big D.
Emerging star Miles Austin, Roy Williams and first round draft pick Dez Bryant figure to hold down the first three spots. Kevin Ogletree and Sam Hurd are decent backup options.
Crayton has requested a trade. But unless the Cowboys are willing to take a lower round draft choice, he might just get a pink slip.
Whitner, another former Ohio State Buckeye and high first round draft pick bust (he was taken eighth in 2006), is in trouble in Buffalo.
Revelations in 2009, Jairus Byrd and George Wilson had excellent seasons at free and strong safety respectfully. Whitner might be too expensive of a backup option to keep as a reserve.
There were quite a few surprised people when the New York Jets allowed Thomas Jones to leave and replaced him with LaDainian Tomlinson.
This is not three years ago and there is a reason his rushing yards plummeted to 730 in 2009. His average of 3.3 yards per carry is even more of a concern.
Tomlinson, a future lock for the Hall of Fame, still scored 12 touchdowns last year.
Unfortunately, for one of the NFL's class acts, he has been constantly bothered by nagging injuries the last couple of years and is as likely to sit on the bench or stand on the sidelines in street clothes as he is to be released.
Andre Davis isn't a very good receiver and he might have a replacement in the diminutive but blazing rookie out of LSU, Trindon Holliday.
A second-round pick in 2009, White never showed the NFL the explosive multi-purpose threat he was in college for West Virginia.
Actually, White hasn't even completed a pass in the regular season and made just five attempts despite being active and seeing sporadic action as a rookie.
Expect the Dolphins to give "Wildpat" a chance in training camp to show that he is improved. But, Miami's quarterback depth chart goes Chad Henne, Tyler Thigpen, Chad Pennington, and then White.
It will be an uphill climb for White if he is bound and determined to be behind center even for a few snaps in South Florida.
It wasn't good to be a "Pat" and a Miami Dolphin in 2009.
Despite being drafted in the third round, Patrick Turner made even less of an impact than Pat White. The 6'5", 225-pound target was active for just two games and didn't catch a pass.
Meanwhile, wide receiver Brian Hartline, who was selected by Miami in the fourth round, was active for all 16 games and caught 31 passes for 506 yards and three touchdowns.
Turner is competing for the fifth receiver spot because Brandon Marshall, Hartline, Davone Bess and Greg Camarillo are virtual locks barring injury for the first four slots.
Derrick Johnson, the 15th pick in the 2005 draft, hasn't been horrible but he hasn't matched expectations either.
Reportedly he is coach Todd Haley's doghouse, and if last year is any indication Demorrio Williams and Corey Mays will be the starters.
Finneran might be under most fans' radars, but he is notable for his perseverance. He has carved out a nine year NFL career despite tearing his anterior cruciate ligament twice and missing consecutive seasons (2006-2007).
Finneran had his best season in 2002 when he caught 56 passes for 838 yards and six touchdowns.
Beyond Roddy White and Michael Jenkins, there isn't a whole lot of receiver depth for the Falcons. But there may be enough that Finneran's remarkable run (considering injury) is over.
It's hard to believe that Jared DeVries has been in the league for 12 years. It seems like he was coming out of Iowa just a few years ago.
After being a three-time All-Big Ten selection for the Hawkeyes, he has had a rather pedestrian NFL career for a defensive end, with 180 career tackles and 16.5 sacks.
DeVries was already released in February, only to be re-signed in April. He's 34 and way down the depth chart.
Ike Taylor and the reacquired Bryant McFadden figure to start at cornerback.
Second-year pros Keenan Lewis and Joe Burnett should push for playing time, leaving Gay on the outside looking in.
While Clinton Portis only rushed for 494 yards last season, he played in just eight games primarily, due to a serious concussion which eventually put him on injured reserve.
It doesn't appear that Portis' tank is on empty. He still averaged four yards a carry last season, but it's not a positive sign that new coach Mike Shanahan has already brought in Larry Johnson and Willie Parker as competition.
Reportedly the Redskins would also like to bring in Brian Westbrook, who has a serious history of concussions.
One of these guys or more won't make the squad despite Shanahan's preference to have a full stable of backs.
Umenyiora had seven sacks in 2009 but was benched late last season for his lack of consistency. He also had the lowest tackle numbers (29) since his rookie season.
Then there was the declaration that he'd rather quit if he couldn't reclaim his starting spot. He has since changed his tune, but the Giants didn't draft a defensive lineman in the first two rounds of the draft by accident.
There were also rumors that the Giants tried to move Umenyiora in the offseason but could not find a taker. In fairness to Umenyiora, he seemed to struggle regaining the strength and confidence in his surgically repaired knee that caused him to miss all of 2008.
Boller has fallen a long way since he was drafted to be the Ravens franchise quarterback by former coach Brian Billick.
Now, he is competing with Charlie Frye for the Oakland Raiders' third-string job.
Here's hoping that his recent marriage to controversial former Miss California USA Carrie Prejean goes better than his NFL career at this point.
Tony Ugoh lost his starting job to Charlie Johnson last year and has never been the starter the Colts hoped when Tarik Glenn retired unexpectedly in 2007.
Still, he probably makes the roster unless former Ravens second-round pick Adam Terry or Gerald Cadogan make him expendable.
Jerome Simpson, a former second-round pick out of Coastal Carolina, will have trouble finding room on a roster that has veterans Chad Ochocinco, Antonio Bryant, Andre Caldwell and talented rookies Jordan Shipley and Dezmon Briscoe.
Simpson has one catch for two yards in two years.
Bobby Carpenter, the third first round pick from Ohio State, has yet to fulfill the potential he flashed during his collegiate career.
He was traded from Dallas to St. Louis in May (in an under the radar trade, so much so that I initially missed it) for Alex Barron which amounts to an exchange of first-round busts. Neither one is a good bet to make their team's final roster.
Slaton is proof of how quickly life can change in the NFL. In 2008, he rushed for 1,282 yards with nine touchdowns and a gaudy 4.8 yards per carry.
Last season, he rushed for 437 yards, averaged just 3.3 yards per carry, fumbled seven times, and was benched by Texans head coach Gary Kubiak before a neck injury that required cervical fusion surgery put him on injured reserve.
Make no mistake, Auburn's Ben Tate was drafted in the second round to start, even though he is far from the dynamic runner that Slaton can be at optimum.
Reserve Arian Foster also looked very capable in the team's final two games of last season (he rushed for 216 yards against Miami and New England).
The 2006 Heisman Trophy winner is far more likely to be traded than released. However, the longer the Ravens hold on to this probably third stringer (Joe Flacco and Marc Bulger will be first and second on the depth chart), the harder trading Smith will be.
Quarterbacks need time to be acclimated to a new system, and if the Ravens have no attention of Smith seeing action the best thing for him could be a quick change of scenery.
Smith has been decent in very limited action and should find an opportunity for meaningful snaps somewhere.
Any Miami Dolphins fan knows that Ted Ginn can't catch passes.
'Frisco fans, forget Ginn challenging Michael Crabtree or Josh Morgan. He will likely have trouble making the team as a receiver. His game doesn't translate to the slot position, and despite world class speed he doesn't get open deep near as much as one might think.
Ginn's one ability is to return kicks, and even that comes with questions.
Yes, he had a pair of 100-yard kickoff returns for touchdowns in a win over the Jets. But on most of his other returns (and he is not a reliable punt returner) he chose to run out of bounds.
I can't imagine that going over too well with San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Singletary.
Oh, and for those counting, that makes four Buckeye first round picks who have made this list and would be considered busts.
Michael Vick completed just six passes last season for 86 yards and rushed for 95 yards on 24 attempts.
You'd have a hard time convincing most Eagles fans that kind of return is worth the investment in a player with Vick's history of off-field troubles or the negative public relations it brings to the team.
Perhaps the only reason Vick is still a member of the Eagles is Philly's inexperience at the quarterback position. Considering that first stringer Kevin Kolb has started two games in his NFL career and the third man on the depth chart is rookie Mike Kafka, Vick provides one of the weirdest "security blankets" in history.
Still, given the shooting at his recent birthday party, the Eagles will take a better option if they can find one.
Given his propensity for taking plays off, his unwillingness to play in a 3-4 defense, and his large contract that no other team wants to take on via trade, it would seem that Albert Haynesworth could easily be looking for a new team or perhaps an old team (as in the Titans) after going on the waiver wire.
It's truly amazing that in today's NFL, Gallloway will be entering his 16th season.
Unfortunately, for this competitor, its unlikely he will finish it.
Cut by the Patriots and not used by the Steelers last season, Galloway did sign as a free agent with the Washington Redskins. But he has just 20 reception in last two years and doesn't have the top end speed anymore that allowed him to rack up 10,777 career receiving yards.
Yes, Galloway was also a first round pick who went to Ohio State (eighth overall in 1995), but he has had an undeniably great professional career.
Injuries have hampered this pass rusher's NFL career. He is also a victim of Philadelphia's depth on the defensive line.
Abiamiri, a former second round pick, has four sacks in three years and will having trouble making a team that has Trent Cole, Darryl Tapp, Juqua Parker, and first-round draft pick Brandon Graham at defensive end.
Another Eagle, another second round draft pick out of Notre Dame, and another potential roster cut.
Laws was actually a roommate of Abiamiri's at Notre Dame, and he has had a similar limited impact.
As a member of the Fighting Irish in 2007, Laws had an astounding 117 tackles. In two years with the Birds, he has 22.
Hill was a first round pick four years ago and is now on his third team, the Tennessee Titans.
He still has speed to burn, but the Titans have a crowded secondary. Cortland Finnegan will man one starting spot, and Hill with have to compete with Jason McCourty, Ryan Mouton, Rod Hood, and Alterraun Verner for playing time.
One of the biggest draft busts in NFL history, Williamson was selected seventh overall by the Minnesota Vikings in 2005.
He caught just three passes last season for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
This might be the end of the NFL road for Williamson because the Jags have emerging star Mike Sims-Walker, another playmaker in Mike Thomas and several other young players with potential.
Considering Colledge started all 16 games of the regular season in 2009, he would not seem like a candidate for this list. But his play last year was, by most accounts, "shoddy".
Colledge was drafted in the second round of the 2006 draft out of Boise State but might lose his job to the guy drafted by the Pack one round later—Jason Spitz.
For a player who is in the midst of a four-year, $40 million contract extension, Harris is limited from a knee injury that he suffered in 2007 and isn't the same explosive player he was before the injury.
Truth, be told, Harris has always been somewhat overrated and is running out of excuses for a six-year career in which he has just 27 sacks.
McFadden will probably be given one more year to show his worth.
But running backs tend to show their talent earlier in their pro careers. In his first two years in the league, McFadden has been somewhat injury prone, but more than anything doesn't appear to be able to take the pounding then NFL game demands.
McFadden rushed for 357 yards last season and averaged 3.4 yards a carry. The Raiders' Michael Bush rushed for 589 yards and averaged 4.8 yards per carry.
The Raiders have been hurt by not committing to a single starter over the last few years (or not being able to). But it is Bush who is the better back right now, by far.
Leon Washington wouldn't be on this list if he didn't suffer a compound fracture to his fibula last season.
He has averaged 4.9 yards per carry in his career and is an electric return man.
However, his leg injury was so severe that the Jets gave Washington away to Seattle for a fifth-round pick. That doesn't sound like a team too keen on a player's recovery.
Watson has had five years to prove his worth to the Cardinals.
The two-time first team All-Big Ten selection from Michigan hasn't done it.
The Cardinals drafted NT Dan Wiliams in the first round of this year's draft, which is a clear message to Watson to step up or clear out.
According to Pro Football Weekly, Johnson, a fomer first round pick (Cardinals in 2003), caught only 40.2 percent of the passes thrown his way in 2009.
Nate Burleson was signed away from Seattle to replace Johnson as the team's complement to Calvin Johnson.
Ironically, if fellow Penn State product Derrick Williams blossoms in training camp or early in his third season, Johnson could be out of Detroit entirely.
Its pretty clear that Huff will never live up to being the seventh overall pick in the 2007 draft, or the six-year, $43 million dollar contract he signed at the time.
Now, it's a question of whether he should make the roster. Three out of four of his career interceptions came in the first two games of last season, and then he went back to being the non-factor he has been for most of his career.
The Raiders don't have a ton of depth at safety, but they might be wise to try moving strong safety Mike Mitchell to free safety to replace Huff, if Mitchell is as athletic as advertised.