18 Veterans Who Could Be Cut If They Lose Upcoming Camp Battles
In the NFL, position competitions don't simply mean who is starting, or who is getting more playing time.
They often mean who has a job.
Many times, the losing player in a competition ends up cut. The team either doesn't want his salary or his presence.
Who are the candidates to lose their job in 2012?
Matt Moore, Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins drafted Ryan Tannehill to be their franchise quarterback. If the team decides Tannehill is ready to start, it may not want Matt Moore lingering around.
David Garrard should be capable of backing up Tannehill.
Bart Scott, New York Jets
Nate Clements, Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals added a ton of cornerbacks this offseason.
Between Jason Allen, Terence Newman, Adam Jones, Leon Hall and Dre Kirkpatrick, there may not be a spot for the 32-year-old Nate Clements, who is probably the worst of the group.
Kevin Walter, Houston Texans
Houston entered the offseason with Kevin Walter occupying one of the team's weakest starting spots. The Texans then drafted Ohio State's DeVier Posey in the third round and followed by adding Dwight Jones and Keshawn Martin.
It's entirely possible one or more of these guys will beat out Walter. And though Walter recently agreed on lowering his 2012 base salary from $3.5 million to $2 million, his contract is too large for a more limited role.
Aaron Kampman, Jacksonville Jaguars
Because of injuries, Aaron Kampman has barely played with the Jaguars, and the team has upgraded at defensive end. Jacksonville re-signed Jeremy Mincey and drafted Andre Branch in the second round.
As Aaron Wilson of Scout.com notes, Kampman is due a $4.975 million base salary and carries a $7.5 million salary cap hit next season.
If Kampman doesn't prove he can still play at a high level, he and his large salary could be headed out of town.
Will Witherspoon, Tennessee Titans
Between Colin McCarthy, Akeem Ayers and second-rounder Zach Brown, there isn't much room at linebacker on the Tennessee Titans roster.
Brown will be competing with Will Witherspoon, and if Witherspoon loses the battle, he will have too large of a salary at around $2.5 million for a simple backup linebacker.
Ryan Lilja, Kansas City Chiefs
This comes down to Jeff Allen.
If the second-round pick from Illinois proves ready to start, Kansas City won't have much further use for Ryan Lilja. The 30-year-old disappointed in 2011 and doesn't offer the team much as a backup.
Shawne Merriman, Buffalo Bills
The Bills signed defensive ends Mario Williams and Mark Anderson to start.
Shawne Merriman seems unlikely to beat out Anderson, and unless he manages to win a spot as a situational pass-rusher, he and his $4 million salary will be out of town.
Larry English, San Diego Chargers
The former No. 16 overall pick, Larry English has just seven career sacks.
The Chargers spent their first-round pick on Melvin Ingram, who will play alongside Antwan Barnes and Shaun Phillips at outside linebacker.
That doesn't leave much room for English.
Mike Jenkins, Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys paid a lot to acquire Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne this offseason.
Orlando Scandrick currently owns the team's nickel back position, and unless Mike Jenkins—the Cowboys' 2008 first-round selection—pries the spot away, Jenkins could be on the streets.
Shaun Rogers, New York Giants
The Giants made a low-risk signing by adding Shaun Rogers. The 6'4", 350 pounder has been dominant in the past but struggled with New Orleans last year, recording 22 tackles in 16 games.
If the 11-year vet doesn't work hard and win a starting job, Rogers' time in New York will probably be short-lived.
Brandon Graham, Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia already had Jason Babin and Trent Cole before drafting Vinny Curry in the second round in the 2012 draft.
In all likelihood, Brandon Graham will be fighting with Darryl Tapp for a roster spot. A torn ACL has severely limited Graham's short NFL career, and the 13th overall selection in 2010 doesn't seem likely to beat out Tapp.
Sam Baker, Atlanta Falcons
In 2011, Will Svitek took away Sam Baker's starting job. Unless Baker can win it back, the former first-round pick could be too expensive to keep around as a backup.
The 6'5", 300-pound Baker started just six games in 2011 and has been a huge disappointment. And though he'll be just 27 by season's start, he doesn't offer much upside at this point.
LeGarrette Blount, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers drafted Doug Martin to take away LeGarrette Blount's starting job.
Blount isn't exactly known as a high-character guy either, so Tampa Bay and new head coach Greg Schiano don't have a ton of incentive to keep him around if he doesn't show something in camp.
Bruce Carter, Dallas Cowboys
Though he is entering just his second season and considered one of the top LBs in the 2011 draft coming out of UNC, Bruce Carter's roster spot is already in danger.
Dallas was strongly considering drafting an inside linebacker in the second round.
And with Sean Lee and Dan Connor also at inside linebacker, Dallas still doesn't need Carter.
Clint Sintim, New York Giants
Clint Sintim racked up a not-so-impressive 33 tackles in his first two NFL seasons combined and missed all of 2011 with injury.
Tragically hard on luck, the 26-year-old has already suffered two devastating knee injuries and a torn patellar tendon thus far in his career.
Sintim hasn't developed into the starting SAM linebacker New York wanted him to be, and the team may just cut its losses.
Tarvaris Jackson, Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks have a three-way competition at quarterback between Matt Flynn, Russell Wilson and Tarvaris Jackson.
Jackson seems likely to come in last place, and Seattle may wish to avoid further controversy by cutting its former starter.
T-Jax simply has not gotten the job done despite ample opportunity with the 'Hawks.