The Best Player Who Could Be Cut from Every NFL Roster This Offseason
This is one of those no-win situations.
The attempt here is to forecast each team’s best player who might get a pink slip in the coming months. In some instances, we used the term “best player” somewhat loosely. It could be someone who has underachieved to date.
Don’t confuse the issue. These aren’t predictions but rather potential decisions supported by football rationale, whether it's an influx of new talent at the position, a lack of production, advancing age, injuries or financial considerations. It won’t be a surprise if any of these performers are no longer with their current organizations down the road.
As each of the 32 NFL clubs fashions its roster for 2016, here’s some food for thought.
Arizona Cardinals: DT Frostee Rucker
After three seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, defensive lineman Frostee Rucker’s time in the desert could be on the verge of drying up.
Following an impressive showing in 2014 with the club (which included a career-best five sacks), the 32-year-old pro’s play fell off this past season. Pro Football Focus gave Rucker a minus-3.7 grade for his performance, one year after posting a solid plus-5.6 mark.
There’s no doubt Rucker would help in the schooling of rookie Robert Nkemdiche. He could also be handy in showing newcomer Chandler Jones the ropes when it comes to defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s system. But 10 NFL seasons may have finally taken a toll.
Atlanta Falcons: WR/KR Devin Hester
He’s the most dangerous return threat in NFL history. But will Devin Hester see the field in 2016?
The veteran speedster, who turns 34 years old in November, played in only five games this past season for the Atlanta Falcons. In January, he underwent surgery on his right big toe, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. Hester’s recovery time was slated for three to six months. So, what is his current status?
“He’s able to do certain things, but he can’t fully do it all,” head coach Dan Quinn said earlier this month, per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I don’t know that I have a timeline for it, but we’re hopeful that it’s prior to camp. But as far as OTAs, I don’t know.
“That toe has got to be right, and we’re not going to put him out there until it is."
When that will be is anyone’s guess. In the meantime, Eric Weems remains the main threat on returns for now, while Hester, a four-time Pro Bowler with the Bears and Falcons, is still sidelined.
Baltimore Ravens: FS Kendrick Lewis
This past season, the Baltimore Ravens were eighth in the league in total defense.
But numbers can be deceiving. They allowed an average of 25.1 points per game (24th in the NFL) and surrendered 40 offensive touchdowns, including 30 through the air. The Ravens gave up two or more aerial scores in 10 games. They picked off a league-low six passes, with three by cornerback Jimmy Smith.
Free safety Kendrick Lewis’ debut season in Baltimore was disappointing. Pro Football Focus tells us the former Chiefs and Texans defender got off to rough start and never recovered.
This offseason, general manager Ozzie Newsome added three-time Pro Bowl safety Eric Weddle. In the latter stages of 2015, Lardarius Webb moved from cornerback to safety.
While the Ravens have decided not to pick up the option on safety Matt Elam for the 2017 season, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun, he figures to be around this fall after missing all of this past year.
Buffalo Bills: QB EJ Manuel
The 2013 first-round selection has slipped into the background when it comes to the team’s quarterback picture. General manager Doug Whaley re-emphasized that in the draft when he used a fourth-round pick on Ohio State signal-caller Cardale Jones.
Last offseason, Manuel and veteran Matt Cassel (now with the Tennessee Titans) lost out on a three-way battle for the starting job that eventually went to free-agent pickup Tyrod Taylor.
A 10-game starter as a rookie, Manuel did see action in seven contests in 2015 and opened in place of Taylor twice. He completed 61.9 percent of his passes and threw three touchdown passes but turned over the ball four times. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Buffalo releases the former Florida State Seminole prior to the start of training camp.
Carolina Panthers: DT Kyle Love
This past season, the Carolina Panthers rode the talents of league MVP Cam Newton and one of the top defenses in the league to Super Bowl 50.
This offseason, the club has looked to add depth to the NFL’s sixth-ranked defense. General manager Dave Gettleman signed the experienced Paul Soliai to back up defensive tackles Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short. He also used a first-round draft choice on the position in Louisiana Tech’s Vernon Butler.
Where does that leave 29-year-old Kyle Love? In 15 games this past season, he totaled 19 tackles, three sacks and one fumble recovery. He added one sack in the club’s three-game playoff run. The journeyman defender, who’s played for four teams in six seasons, could be on the move again.
Chicago Bears: WR Eddie Royal
With Kevin White primed to make his NFL debut this season (after missing all of his rookie campaign in 2015) and Alshon Jeffery ready to return to Pro Bowl form, the Chicago Bears have the potential to field one of the better big-play wideout tandems in the league.
Is veteran wideout Eddie Royal really still an option? The 29-year-old wideout (who turns 30 on May 21) did finish fourth on the club with 37 catches in 2015. But he averaged a dismal 6.4 yards per reception and found the end zone only once in nine games.
The third wide receiver spot will likely belong to Marquess Wilson full time. He comes off a year in which he totaled 28 receptions and one score in 11 contests. But his catches added up to 464 yards—an impressive 16.6 yards per grab. The Bears have the experienced Marc Mariani and used a seventh-round pick on Western Michigan’s Daniel Braverman. That means Royal might not be long for the Windy City.
Cincinnati Bengals: DT Pat Sims
The Cincinnati Bengals and the word "deep" are often synonymous.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t relate to a run in the postseason. The franchise still hasn’t won a postseason game since 1990, despite reaching the playoffs each of the past five years.
One of the club’s strengths in recent years has been the defensive front, armed by the likes of Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson. Throw in Domata Peko, Pat Sims and Wallace Gilberry and this has been a formidable unit. The Bengals have recent draft choices such as Margus Hunt, Brandon Thompson, Will Clarke and Marcus Hardison biding time.
This offseason, Gilberry left via free agency and signed with the Lions. It’s a path both Johnson and Sims took in the past, only to return to the Queen City. The latter came back to Cincinnati in 2015 after a two-year stint with the Oakland Raiders. Sims played in eight games and totaled 16 stops.
The Bengals landed Baylor University defensive tackle Andrew Billings in the fourth round of April’s draft. It likely makes the 30-year-old Sims more than a little expendable.
Cleveland Browns: CB Justin Gilbert
Finding the best player on the current Cleveland Browns roster is easy. It is left tackle Joe Thomas, who has a perfect nine Pro Bowl invitations in as many seasons.
Locating one who could be cut loose by the franchise later this year is a different story.
The choice is disappointing cornerback Justin Gilbert, the eighth overall pick in the 2014 draft. There could also be some sentiment per se for outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo.
In two seasons, Gilbert has played in 23 contests, made three starts and picked off one pass. He’s taken back a dozen kickoffs in 2015 and averaged 28.3 yards per return but has been a non-factor on defense.
It adds up to another first-round swing-and-miss for this erratic franchise.
Dallas Cowboys: RB Darren McFadden
Earlier this month, David Moore of the Dallas Morning News got 2016 free-agent addition Alfred Morris’ thoughts on the Cowboys’ first-round selection of running back Ezekiel Elliott. Did the 27-year-old running back regret his decision to leave Washington for Dallas?
“None at all. This is where I'm supposed to be, and I’m excited about the opportunity and looking forward to it.”
He’s not the running back who should be worried.
Yes, Darren McFadden was one of only seven players in the league to rush for at least 1,000 yards in 2015. He turns 29 years old on August 27, and after failing to play an entire season in his first six years in the league, he’s taken the field for all 16 contests in back-to-back campaigns.
Still, Dallas has Elliott and Morris. The team can’t count on Lance Dunbar, who is on the mend from major knee surgery, but did use a sixth-round choice on running back Darius Jackson. It may not make total sense to just let McFadden go, but that Cowboys backfield is getting crowded.
Denver Broncos: WR Cody Latimer
A second-round pick in 2014, wide receiver Cody Latimer hasn’t proved to be the second coming of anyone.
So much more was expected from the former Indiana University product, who in two seasons (including playoffs) has totaled 11 catches for 113 yards and one score in 25 overall contests.
Reserve wideouts Jordan Norwood (22) and Bennie Fowler (16) both had more catches in 2015 than Latimer has had in his brief career. The Broncos also didn’t add a wide receiver in the 2016 draft.
The writing is on the wall for the former Hoosier.
Detroit Lions: TE Brandon Pettigrew
Back in 2014, the Lions made tight end Eric Ebron the 10th overall pick in the draft. Slowly but surely, the former North Carolina Tar Heel has shown his worth. He comes off a 2015 season in which he finished fourth on the club with 47 catches for 537 yards and five touchdowns.
Meanwhile, veteran Brandon Pettigrew’s role with the offense has dwindled in terms of being a pass-catcher. He played in eight games this past season and totaled seven receptions for 67 yards and one score. Keep in mind that reserve tight end Tim Wright totaled nine catches for 77 yards and two touchdowns in only nine games with the club.
More significant is Pettigrew’s status following a December knee injury, courtesy of Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com. While the 31-year-old performer feels he’ll be ready for training camp, don’t be surprised if the organization reaches an injury settlement with the 2009 first-round pick.
Green Bay Packers: OLB Nick Perry
Back in 2012, Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson used his first six selections in the draft on defensive help. The first was USC pass-rusher Nick Perry, taken with the 28th overall pick.
After three seasons, the 6’3”, 271-pound performer had played in a total of 32 games and amassed only nine sacks. Not surprisingly, Thompson and the organization declined to pick up his option for 2016. This past season, Perry played in 14 contests, made one start and finished with 31 tackles and 3.5 quarterback traps. However, he matched that sack total in the club’s playoff split with the Redskins and Cardinals.
On March 10, he re-upped with the Pack to the tune of one year and $5.05 million. But does that ensure a roster spot with a defensive unit that has been trying to find itself in recent years? It’s a situation that bears watching this summer.
Houston Texans: ILB Akeem Dent
If you came here looking for wideout Cecil Shorts in this spot, think again.
Yes, the Houston Texans used two of their first three picks in the 2016 draft on receivers Will Fuller and Braxton Miller. In 2015, general manager Rick Smith used a third-round draft choice on wide receiver Jaelen Strong.
What does that mean? Along with Pro Bowler DeAndre Hopkins, someone has to be around to groom these young pass-catchers, as well as 25-year-old quarterback Brock Osweiler.
Only two teams in the NFL allowed fewer yards than the Texans this past season. Backup inside linebacker Akeem Dent played in 12 games and made two starts for Romeo Crennel’s defense, logging a total of 18 tackles. A year earlier, he was a seven-game starter for the club and graded out fairly well.
Still, the 28-year-old defender is in the final year of a two-year contract. He could be a training-camp cut (or sooner) if one of the team's younger performers steps to the forefront.
Indianapolis Colts: DT Arthur Jones
Earlier this month, 12 franchises declined to pick up the fifth-year option on their 2013 first-round draft choices.
Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson didn’t have to worry about making such a decision. In early March, the team cut ties with disappointing outside linebacker Bjoern Werner—the 24th overall pick three years ago.
In 2014, Grigson signed former Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Arthur Jones to a five-year, $33 million deal. It hasn’t worked out to date. He played in only nine games for the Colts that first season, logging 23 tackles and 1.5 sacks. He missed all of 2015 after suffering torn ligaments in his ankle during the preseason.
In early March, Field Yates of ESPN.com reported the soon-to-be-30-year-old defender (June 3) took a $2 million pay cut for this upcoming season.
With 2016 fourth-round pick Hassan Ridgeway waiting in the wings, a parting of the ways with Jones is possible. All told, this has been a disappointing Colts defense that must turn the corner soon.
Jacksonville Jaguars: WR Marqise Lee
The Jacksonville Jaguars made wide receivers Marqise Lee (USC) and Allen Robinson (Penn State)—in that order—second-round picks in 2014.
Unfortunately, the former Southern Cal star can’t seem to remain healthy. That’s a problem when you’re a member of a team that already has one of the most talented wide receiving duos in the league. In two seasons, Lee has played in just 23 games—catching 52 passes for 613 yards and a pair of scores. Both Robinson and Allen Hurns easily surpassed those numbers just in 2015.
A year ago, the Jaguars added wideouts Rashad Greene and Neal Sterling in the fifth and seventh round, respectively. The former caught only 19 passes for 93 yards but scored twice and also added a touchdown via a punt return. Greene offers the biggest challenge to Lee in terms of the third receiver spot.
That is if the former Trojans standout can stay healthy long enough to win the job.
Kansas City Chiefs: CB Marcus Cooper
It wasn’t long ago that cornerback Marcus Cooper was one of those NFL feel-good stories.
A seventh-round pick by the San Francisco 49ers in 2013, he was cut loose by the team that same summer and latched on with the Kansas City Chiefs. He finished his rookie season with 44 tackles, three interceptions and 18 passes defensed.
But over the course of the past two seasons, his play has fallen off considerably. In 2015, he was limited to 10 contests, made one start and totaled two tackles.
In April’s draft, general manager John Dorsey used three of his nine selections on cornerbacks KeiVarae Russell (third round), Eric Murray (fourth) and D.J. White (sixth). Eventually, there will be no room on the roster for Cooper.
Los Angeles Rams: WR Brian Quick
In recent seasons, the Rams have used a number of early-round draft choices to bolster their wide receivers corps.
Be it the catchers, the throwers or both, the team finished dead last in the NFL in passing in 2015.
Obviously, a lot of that falls on quarterbacks Nick Foles and Case Keenum. Is it any wonder that the franchise now located in Los Angeles orchestrated a deal to grab Jared Goff with the first pick in the 2016 draft?
But what about those receivers? From 2010 to 2013, the club added seven wideouts via the draft from Rounds 1-4. The only three left from that grouping are Tavon Austin, Brian Quick and Stedman Bailey.
General manager Les Snead and head coach Jeff Fisher wound up with only six picks in April. But along with Goff, the Rams added a pair of tight ends and two wide receivers—South Carolina’s Pharoh Cooper (fourth round) and Southern Mississippi’s Mike Thomas (sixth).
Quick did re-sign with Los Angeles in March to the tune of one year and $1.75 million, courtesy of Spotrac. But 64 catches for 935 yards and seven touchdowns in four seasons (51 games) has no guarantees attached.
Miami Dolphins: DT Earl Mitchell
With defensive end Mario Williams joining the Miami Dolphins this offseason, the club has quite the formidable front with the four-time Pro Bowler Ndamukong Suh and Cameron Wake.
The team just added versatile veteran Jason Jones, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport (via NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus). The 28-year-old pro can play both inside and outside.
That’s not good news for defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, who could be the odd man out. He made 12 starts a year ago but graded out as the league’s worst defensive tackle in terms of run support in 2015, according to Pro Football Focus.
Only four teams in the league allowed more rushing yards than the Dolphins this past season. Jones could slide into Mitchell’s spot without much problem.
Minnesota Vikings: WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson
Keeping players on a roster who don’t produce as expected is one way to keep the program in neutral.
Hence, Ben Goessling of ESPN.com reports the organization has declined the fifth-year option on the last of the team’s three first-round picks in 2013.
Despite his prowess on special teams, could Minnesota kick Cordarrelle Patterson to the curb? In three seasons, he’s averaged 30.1 yards per kickoff return and taken four attempts the distance for scores. But he also comes off a 2015 season in which he totaled two catches for 10 yards.
This past season, rookie wideout Stefon Diggs led the club in receptions (52). In late April, general manager Rick Spielman used a first-round pick on Ole Miss receiver Laquon Treadwell.
As for Patterson, his role as a wideout continues to fade. Will his days with the Vikings do the same before 2016 kicks off?
New England Patriots: WR Aaron Dobson
Keeping wide receivers healthy this past season wound up being a problem for the New England Patriots.
Retaining Aaron Dobson may be a lot less difficult. Cutting ties with the 2013 second-round pick would hardly be a shock. But it would still be disappointing for a player who showed a lot of potential early in his career.
As a rookie, Dobson played in 12 games, made nine starts and caught 37 passes for 519 yards and four scores. Since then, he’s been limited to just as many contests and totaled 16 receptions for 179 yards and zero touchdowns. Injuries have played a part in the demise of the former Marshall product.
The Patriots still have Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. They added Nate Washington in free agency and University of Georgia wideout Malcolm Mitchell in the fourth round of the draft. There’s little room for a player such as Dobson who can’t seem to stay on the field.
New Orleans Saints: FS Jairus Byrd
In 2014, the New Orleans Saints opened up their wallets and inked former Buffalo Bills free safety Jairus Byrd to a huge contract. The three-time Pro Bowler signed a six-year, $54 million deal and looked to put his opportunistic skills to good use in the Crescent City.
Per Spotrac, it was more than a year ago that Byrd converted a $6 million roster bonus into a signing bonus. It cleared $4.8 million in cap space for the Saints.
Still, the team comes off a season in which it allowed an NFL record 45 touchdown passes, surrendered the second-most yards in the league and gave up the most points in 2015.
Byrd’s two seasons in the Big Easy have been hard to swallow. A total of 17 games has added up to two takeaways. This was a player who came up with 27 turnovers in five seasons with the Bills. Rookie Vonn Bell could be the heir apparent at free safety quite quickly.
New York Giants: ILB Jasper Brinkley
The good news is that inside linebacker Jasper Brinkley proved to be quite the find for the New York Giants this past season.
The journeyman defender played in 15 games and made nine starts. He finished third on the team with 67 tackles, had one sack and led the club with four forced fumbles.
To be fair, Brinkley earned solid grades in terms of overall performance and his play versus the run. However, the 30-year-old defender remains a liability in regard to pass coverage. That’s a hard sell to a team that also ranked dead last in the NFL in that department this past season.
The Giants signed free-agent linebackers Keenan Robinson and Kelvin Sheppard while adding former Clemson product B.J. Goodson in the fourth round of the draft. It adds up to a one-year stint for Brinkley with Big Blue.
New York Jets: QB Geno Smith
Might as well be bold.
In time, the New York Jets will work things out with unsigned free agent Ryan Fitzpatrick. You don’t simply cut ties with a quarterback who has enjoyed success with a specific coach (Chan Gailey). You also don’t give up trying to work things out with a player who set a single-season franchise record with 31 touchdown passes.
Just in case and with an eye toward the future, general manager Mike Maccagnan used a second-round pick on Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg.
When Fitzpatrick returns, there will be four quarterbacks on the roster, but that number will soon dwindle to three. A second-round pick in 2013, Geno Smith has played in 31 games for the Green and White. He’s completed less than 60 percent of his passes, thrown for 27 scores, rushed for seven touchdowns and committed a whopping 42 turnovers.
Despite the ongoing Fitzpatrick saga, it would still be a surprise to see Smith take the field for the Jets again.
Oakland Raiders: CB D.J. Hayden
After playing in a combined 18 contests his first two seasons in the league, Oakland Raiders cornerback D.J. Hayden hit the field for all 16 games in 2015.
He made 13 starts, finished fourth on the team with 70 tackles, totaled one interception and knocked down eight passes. Those are respectable numbers until you consider that out of 218 cornerbacks rated by Pro Football Focus in 2015, only three players at the position graded out worse.
Earlier this month, as reported by the Associated Press (via the Mercury News), the Raiders did not pick up the fifth-year option on his contract. It means Hayden becomes a free agent following this season.
But will he be in Oakland in 2016? The secondary is in the midst of a huge overhaul, although cornerback David Amerson returns following a monster campaign.
There will be three new starters in cornerback Sean Smith, free safety Reggie Nelson and rookie strong safety Karl Joseph. Cornerbacks Travis Carrie and Keith McGill are entering their third NFL seasons.
The Raiders may be on the verge of returning to the playoffs for the first time since 2002. It wouldn’t be a shock if Hayden missed the ride.
Philadelphia Eagles: DE/OLB Marcus Smith
The decision to draft University of Louisville defender Marcus Smith with the 26th overall pick in 2014 was a helmet-scratcher at the time.
His brief time in the league hasn’t added up to much. A total of 21 games has produced seven tackles and 1.5 sacks.
Could an organization give up on a first-round pick after only two seasons? It’s been done before for various reasons and is not uncommon in this day and age of immediate results.
More importantly, how does the 6’3”, 251-pounder fit in new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz’s system? Is he an end or an outside linebacker?
The Eagles may not be patient enough to find out after a season in which they ranked 30th in the league in total defense.
Pittsburgh Steelers: ILB Vince Williams
A sixth-round selection in 2013 from Florida State, inside linebacker Vince Williams was an 11-game starter for the Pittsburgh Steelers as a rookie.
His time in the opening lineup has dwindled since, but he remains a solid performer for a club that has a rich tradition at linebacker. Williams played in all 16 games this past season (zero starts), totaling 46 tackles and a pair of fumble recoveries.
This offseason, the Steelers fortified this position by adding free agent Steven Johnson (Tennessee Titans) and using a seventh-round draft choice on Temple’s Tyler Matakevich. Although Williams is just 26 years old and remains fairly productive, he could be the victim of the numbers game in the Steel City.
San Diego Chargers: NT Sean Lissemore
Only five teams in the league allowed more rushing yards than the San Diego Chargers in 2015.
That’s discouraging when you consider that only a year earlier the Bolts ranked 26th in the NFL in the same category. It seemed like no matter who the team lined up on the inside, the club struggled up front.
This offseason, general manager Tom Telesco added one of the league’s better run-stoppers in 31-year-old defensive tackle Brandon Mebane. It’s a positive move for a unit in desperate need of consistency.
That means Sean Lissemore, who’s played for the Bolts the past three seasons, could be on the chopping block. He made only 11 appearances in 2015 and started only five contests, totaling just 16 tackles. It would be the latest move in a new-look defensive line that includes not only Mebane but rookie Joey Bosa as well.
San Francisco 49ers: QB Colin Kaepernick
He’s been the subject of trade talks, most notably with the Denver Broncos.
He’s expressed an interest to play for another organization. The New York Jets come to mind.
There is still a chance the 49ers will work out a deal with quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who in 2012 helped lead them to Super Bowl XLVII.
“Kap’s at every meeting. Kap’s at rehab. Kap’s at every practice, doing what he can,” head coach Chip Kelly told KNBR 680-AM's Murph and Mac show, per Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. “We don’t know exactly what we have until we get those guys up and running. That won’t be determined until preseason camp.”
What has been determined is that the 28-year-old signal-caller still hasn’t gotten clearance (via Maiocco) to fully participate in the club’s offseason program following his numerous surgeries. Maiocco reported that Kaepernick could be ready to go in time for San Francisco’s three-day mandatory minicamp, which begins on June 7.
General manager Trent Baalke did use a sixth-round pick in April on Louisiana Tech quarterback Jeff Driskel. And with Kaepernick sidelined, Blaine Gabbert has seized the moment behind center.
The writing appears to be on the blackboard for the still-healing QB.
Seattle Seahawks: DE Chris Clemons
So much for sleeping in Seattle once again.
This offseason, the Seahawks brought back two of their own who helped build the current defensive tradition in the Pacific Northwest. Defensive back Brandon Browner is back with his Legion of Doom cohorts after one-year stints with the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints.
Defensive end Chris Clemons has also come back to Seattle after spending the past two seasons with Gus Bradley in Jacksonville. He was let go by the Jaguars this offseason after totaling just three sacks in 16 games with the club in 2015.
In four seasons with the Seahawks (2010 to 2013), the 34-year-old performer racked up 38 sacks and was part of the Super Bowl XLVIII title team. But the wear and tear of 11 campaigns has taken a toll.
It wouldn’t be a shock to see Clemons last through the preseason with Pete Carroll and Co, but he may have played his last down in the NFL as well.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB Alterraun Verner
Back in 2014, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were in the midst of one of the league’s bigger offseason spending sprees.
One of their prized pickups was talented cornerback Alterraun Verner, who signed a four-year, $25.75 million deal with the club.
Unfortunately, pass defense continues to be a sore spot. The Bucs have surrendered at least 30 scores through the air in four of the last five years.
This offseason, Tampa added free-agent cornerbacks Brent Grimes and Josh Robinson. The Bucs also used the 11th overall pick in the draft on Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves and a fourth-round choice on North Carolina Central's Ryan Smith.
In two seasons with the Buccaneers, Verner has totaled three interceptions and knocked down 13 passes in 30 contests. The production simply hasn’t matched the contract.
Tennessee Titans: RB Bishop Sankey
This is almost too easy.
In 2014, Bishop Sankey was the first running back picked in the draft. He lasted until the second round and was the 54th overall selection.
As a rookie, the former University of Washington product would lead the Tennessee Titans with 569 yards rushing and a pair of scores in 16 games. This past season, Sankey managed only 193 yards on 47 carries in 13 contests and ran for only one touchdown. He finished fourth on the team in rushing behind Antonio Andrews, rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota and Dexter McCluster.
Unfortunately, the Titans finished 25th in the NFL in rushing. That explains the team’s offseason acquisition of 2014 league rushing champion DeMarco Murray and the drafting of 2015 Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry.
Sankey will likely suit up somewhere else sooner than later.
Washington Redskins: WR Andre Roberts
Suddenly, the Washington Redskins are loaded at wide receiver.
And that could add up to 28-year-old Andre Roberts being on a different team in the coming months.
It just hasn’t worked out as planned for the former Arizona Cardinals wideout. He totaled 182 catches for 2,123 yards and 11 touchdowns in four seasons with the NFC West club. He joined the Redskins in 2014, but shortly afterward, the club picked up former Eagles speedster DeSean Jackson.
Two years and 25 games with the Skins has added up to 47 receptions, good for 588 yards and a pair of scores. He has been a valuable contributor on kickoff returns.
However, Roberts’ days as an offensive contributor are seemingly over. He was limited to nine games this past season and caught just 11 passes for 135 yards and zero scores.
With the wide receiver corps consisting of Jackson, Pierre Garcon, 2015 surprise pick Jamison Crowder and this year’s first-round draftee in TCU wideout Josh Doctson, Roberts could be on the next flight from old Washington, D.C.
Unless otherwise noted, all player and team statistics come from Pro-Football-Reference.com and ESPN.com. All player ratings courtesy of Pro Football Focus. All 2016 free-agent and salary-cap information, contract terms and 2016 transactions are courtesy of Spotrac. Depth charts via Ourlads.