2011 NFL Predictions: 10 Most Surprising Cuts That Might Happen on Tuesday
With the first set of roster cuts coming up this Tuesday to get teams down to 75 players, there are going to be a lot of guys looking for jobs real soon.
This cut isn't as significant as the second, and final, round of cuts that come on September 3rd when the final cut to 53 players is made. Unlike that second round, the majority of these guys will never play in the National Football League again.
So while most of the cuts will be guys that no one outside of huge fans of certain teams will have ever heard of, there are usually a handful of guys that come as a surprise. Be it their contracts or a numbers game or even a player getting up there in age, good players do get cut sometimes.
But why would anyone decent get released on this first set of roster cuts that are actual NFL-level players? Well, sometimes teams want to give a guy a chance to get an opportunity to catch on with another team, and in that scenario, earlier is better.
Even though I will likely be batting a big goose egg by Tuesday, here is my guess at ten players that could be looking for new homes Wednesday morning. I did want to go with some bigger names like Haynesworth, Gholston, Ronnie Brown and Roy Williams; but I believe their new teams will give them more of an opportunity than a couple preseason games and they will likely come down to the final set of cuts. So while my list may be lacking true star power, I'm afraid it's just too early for any true shockers.
WR Marlon Moore: Miami Dolphins
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Even though Marlon Moore had a big catch against the Oakland Raiders last season that saw him have the Dolphins longest play from scrimmage all year, his roster spot is far from guaranteed.
Brandon Marshall, Devon Bess and Brian Hartline all have their spots locked up, while Moore is in a heated camp battle with Clyde Gates, Julius Pruitt and Roberto Wallace, who is a close personal friend of Marlon's.
CB Bryant McFadden: Pittsburgh Steelers
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This one would be strictly a salary issue. Most think that Bryant McFadden had a mediocre season for the AFC champs last year and believe that his play is far less stout than his paycheck.
Bryant isn't getting any younger and many fans are clamoring for Keenan Lewis to start opposite Ike Taylor in 2011. He's cheaper and there isn't too much of a drop off on paper.
LB Aaron Maybin: New York Jets
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A first round, 11th overall pick, to be cut after only two years in the league is usually a pretty big red flag that a guy just isn't an NFL player. That, or he is just a poor teammate and/or human being.
For a team that has struggled as much as Buffalo has as a franchise, for as many years as it has, to give up on a guy like that, to me it says he isn't going to work anywhere. I believe that Rex Ryan, as unlikable as he can be to fans outside of New York, can motivate okay players to be good. But Maybin is a lost cause and the Jets were just doing their due diligence on a guy like Maybin and he'll be out of the league soon.
RB Tashard Choice: Dallas Cowboys
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Choice is one of those guys I actually thought would get traded as soon as the league year started. Felix Jones has a stranglehold on the starting job and Choice has become more of a blocker and special teams player. Still, with the departure of Marion Barber, I thought he would stick around.
But being sidelined in the preseason with a calf injury didn't help Tashard's situation. With the impressive play of Lonyae Miller and Phillip Tanner, Choice could be looking for a new residence later this week.
RB Steve Slaton: Houston Texans
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I don't know if you'd call this one a surprise or not, but when a guy who rushed for almost 1,300 yards just two seasons ago gets cut, there is a little bit of a surprise. Unfortunately, his fumble problems and injury concerns had him lose his starting role to some guy named Arian Foster.
Slaton could probably stick around on the team if it weren't for the revelation Foster was last year and second-year rookie Ben Tate (he missed his rookie season with a broken ankle) looking like a perfect fit in Gary Kubiak's offensive scheme. Running backs just don't last the way they used to.
CB Donald Washington: Kansas City Chiefs
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Here is the problem with teams with a lot of talented young talent; they have to make some tough decisions. The Chiefs have done a terrific job at rebuilding their defense through the draft and their roster is loaded with numerous options in the secondary.
Brandon Flowers, Eric Berry, Brandon Carr and Kendrick Lewis are your starters. Then you have the veteran Jon McGraw, whom Coach Haley loves, as well as Javier Arenas, Jalil Brown, Reshard Langford, Quintin Lawrence and several others. It's just a numbers game that Donald could find himself on the wrong end of.
CB Shawntae Spencer: San Francisco 49ers
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A two-year starter for the Niners, Spencer could be a real stunner if he doesn't make the final roster in September. But being slowed by a hamstring injury for the past two weeks, others have begun to try and snatch the starting spot away from him.
With a new coaching staff that isn't married to any of these players and even proclaimed that other than Patrick Willis and Justin Smith, no one on this roster had a spot on the roster locked up. Approaching 30-years-old, Spencer could be a victim of "you can't make the club from the tub."
RB Joe McKnight: New York Jets
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McKnight barely made the final roster for the Jets last season and hasn't done too much to impress in the preseason in 2011. His coverage skills have been shaky and he's fought a concussion as well as arguably being outplayed by rookie Bilal Powell.
Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson have the starting backfield on lock down and rumor out of camp is that the Jets are afraid to try and stash Powell on the practice squad in fear of another team picking him up. This could leave McKnight as the odd man out.
QB Charlie Batch: Pittsburgh Steelers
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The latest rumor going around is that the Steelers are hoping to find a trade partner for backup quarterback Dennis Dixon. There is only enough room for three signal-callers on the roster and Roethlisberger and Leftwich have the first two locked up. Leaving both Batch and Dixon to battle it out for that third spot.
Both proved they could be good in a pinch in leading the Steelers to a 3-1 record in Big Ben's absence last season. Go with the veteran guy or go young and athletic; it's that simple. I believe the Steelers will hold onto the hope that they can flip Dixon for a draft pick or two in the future, so that is they way they will ultimately go.
RB Ryan Torain: Washington Redskins
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I know, I know; Torain was the best back for the Redskins in 2010 and it would be nuts to see him cut. But his durability has never been consistent and this preseason is no different, hurting his hand early in August.
Tim Hightower pretty much nailed down the starting running back position after his performance against the Ravens first-team defense last week. Roy Helu and Evan Royster have both played very well through the first few preseason games, as well. With a coach that believes it doesn't matter who you plug in at running back in his scheme, Torain might once again find himself looking for a job next week.