NFL Roster Cuts 2011: Brandon Meriweather and 10 Big Names Now Available
The end of a player's career is inevitable. Every NFL player, star or undrafted rookie knows that they have a limited period in which they get to play. Most envision retiring at a press conference to the adulation of adoring fans.
Most find their way out of the league getting a call to the head coach's office, being led by the "Turk."
The players on this list likely envisioned something closer to the retirement scenario. On Saturday, they met the "Turk."
As you read through the cut list, these are the names you are going to recognize who may have just played their last snaps of football.
Max Jean-Gilles, G
The former Philadelphia Eagle was release by the Cincinnati Bengals.
After being one of the top free-agent offensive linemen, and one of the few who would even consider Cincinnati, Jean-Gilles was let go because he never quite caught on in the Bengals offense.
What makes the move even more surprising is that lineman Bobbie Williams was suspended for four games. While they still need to keep him on the roster, Jean-Gilles may have been an alternative in case of injury.
The Bengals may look to sign an interim lineman after Week 1, when contracts are not guaranteed.
Tommie Harris, DT
Not a huge surprise, as Tommie Harris was let go by the Chicago Bears earlier in the year and had major injury concerns.
Harris was brought on in Indianapolis to help the defense, which was amongst the worst in the league last year. The expectation for Harris was to be more of a role player as opposed to being a starter, as he was with the Bears. Harris thought his role should have been bigger.
Unfortunately, Harris, despite making a few plays in the preseason, was not quite up to snuff for the Colts. There are plenty of teams in need of big bodies on the defensive line, so Harris' career may not be over.
Igor Olshansky, DE
Igor Olshanky was just too expensive to be a reserve, and the Dallas Cowboys let him go.
Olshansky is a productive defensive end and started more than 12 games each of the last two seasons. His real value comes from the ability to kick inside depending on personnel.
Olshansky did not get cut as one of the more shocking moves, just a big name. New defensive coordinator Rob Ryan preferred Kenyon Coleman.
Olshansky should find work elsewhere, and very quickly.
Perrish Cox, CB
There are a multitude of reasons that Perrish Cox is not an NFL player right now.
There are also quite a few reasons he still should be, though. Cox started nine games last season despite being a rookie, but he fell down the depth chart behind Andre Goodman.
With Syd'Quan Thompson being lost for the season with a torn Achilles heel, Cox at minimum seemed to be a lock for the team despite his lackluster performance this preseason.
Cox also has legal troubles on the horizon stemming from a sexual assault case. It is unclear if Cox, when the case is settled, would then face disciplinary action. This may have played a factor in his release.
Chester Taylor, RB
Chester Taylor left Minnesota for a bigger payday. He found it. He then saw his production fall.
It was possibly the porous Bears' offensive line that led to last year's terrible production, or it could have been that he was 30 years old and making $7 million per year that led him to no longer have the desire to play at a high level.
Taylor saw the writing on the wall after this week's botched attempt to cut Taylor in the first round of cuts. Taylor should find work, as plenty of teams still need a backup running back. He could land in Detroit or San Francisco if all else fails.
Will Allen, CB
Sean Smith and Vontae Davis combine to make one of the best cornerback duos in the league.
Will Allen would have been a backup and possible nickelback, but after 11 seasons, he appeared to have lost a step, and Miami is trying to rebuild on the fly. Not always a recipe for keeping veterans.
It didn't help that Allen saw minimal time in the preseason and training camp and missed all of last season with a knee injury. Allen's best days are clearly behind him.
It would be a surprise for him to get picked up by another team.
Lito Sheppard, CB
It appears that Lito Sheppard's career may be coming to a close.
A former Pro Bowler and All-Pro, Sheppard has bounced around the league after leaving the Eagles. Sheppard has clearly lost a step and has not been able to be the cover cornerback he once was.
With the Raiders releasing him, this likely spells the end of his career. In his 10th season, much like other defensive backs on this list, it appears that defensive backs just fall off a cliff after 30.
Sheppard was, at best, a nickel and dime corner, someone who could come in and cover a slot receiver. It will be interesting to see if he garners any interest from any teams.
Justin Gage, WR
Some will say this is a surprise considering how thin the Tennessee Titans are at receiver. Others will say Justin Gage never lived up to his potential.
Gage had the same reputation as Braylon Edwards did coming out of Cleveland: Gage couldn't catch the ball. Luckily for Gage, he didn't quite have the same name recognition.
Gage's production dropped dramatically after 2008. On any other team, it would be no surprise to see him get cut.
The Titans will need to address wide receiver through waivers or pick up another free agent. Gage will have to pray for an injury to every other available receiver. Otherwise, he should probably get a real estate license.
Donnie Avery/Mardy Gilyard, WR
These two had to know that their time was running short. Mark Clayton was resigned after a knee injury last year. Mike Sims-Walker was brought on, and the Rams spent two draft picks on wide receivers in Austin Pettis and Greg Salas.
Donnie Avery was an up and coming receiver in St. Louis before an injury derailed his career. Avery was in the running for a starting spot, but the emergence of the other young receivers made him expendable coming off a lost season.
Mardy Gilyard never produced and didn't seem to fit in. Despite coming out of the University of Cincinnati with the reputation as a "burner," Gilyard never looked fast on the field and was well below average as a return man, severely limiting his value.
Both should catch on somewhere else.
Brandon Meriweather, S
A two-time Pro Bowler was just cut in the prime of his career. Thus continues the bizarre personnel management in New England.
Meriweather is erratic, taking chances on the ball. Belichick clearly wants players who play to the system rather than give up a big play trying to make something happen.
Meriweather will certainly find a spot somewhere else, just like James Sanders did earlier in the week. He will probably continue to make Pro Bowls, too.
The better question is: what are the Patriots going to do at safety this year?