The arrival of the NFL season is always exciting, but along with it comes an unfortunate reality—all 32 teams will cut down their rosters to meet league requirements and leave notable names out of jobs.
Surprising cuts happen every year. Whether it's a veteran who seemed like he would stick around to at least mentor younger guys or one of those younger guys who simply didn't pan out, job overturn in the NFL has no mercy, nor does it care about the nameplate on the back of a jersey.
Before NFL teams really chop up their rosters, let's target a handful of notable potential releases fans should be on the lookout for.
Dee Milliner, CB, New York Jets
Remember Dee Milliner?
That sounds harsh, but Milliner has quietly been one of the bigger busts in recent memory. The ninth pick in the 2013 NFL draft, the Alabama product appeared in 13 games as a rookie and all of eight total over the last two seasons.
In fact, Milliner was so often hurt and low on the depth chart that the New York Jets went out and grabbed guys like Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie to compensate. This year, he's behind Revis and Buster Skrine on the depth chart, with others pushing him.
Camp reviews haven't exactly been glowing, either, such as this note from the Big Lead's Jason McIntyre:
Milliner has the talent, but it hasn't all come together on the field, and his body being unable to help hasn't provided him with job insurance.
With luck, Milliner will get a second chance elsewhere, and perhaps a change of scenery will do the trick.
C.J. Spiller, RB, New Orleans Saints
This time last year, the New Orleans Saints appeared to make a big splash by nabbing running back C.J. Spiller.
One of the fastest players at the position with sure hands out of the backfield, Spiller seemed like a dream fit on the Saints' pass-happy offense led by Drew Brees. Spiller, though, received only 36 handoffs over 13 games and caught only 34 passes for 239 yards and a pair of scores.
Spiller just didn't look like himself in 2015 while coming back from a knee injury, and now he's fighting for a spot on the depth chart with Mark Ingram, Tim Hightower and others.
While Spiller might latch on elsewhere and contribute, his four-year deal worth $16 million, per Spotrac, is bound to come up in the coaching staff's analysis on cut day.
Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers
It's going to be hard for Green Bay Packers wideout Davante Adams to overcome the huge gaffe that was his 2015 campaign.
A second-round pick in 2014, Adams was gifted a huge opportunity last year when Jordy Nelson went down with an injury for the season. Rather than reaching what many suspected was a high ceiling, Adams caught just 50 of 93 targets for 483 yards and one touchdown.
Call it a colossal hiccup Adams couldn't really afford. The wideout depth chart belongs to the returning Nelson and Randall Cobb, with key depth names such as Jeff Janis, Jared Abbrederis and Ty Montgomery also fighting for spots.
The Packers have worked hard over the years to ensure Aaron Rodgers has quality depth at wideout. Barring an incredible turnaround in the consistency department, Adams has likely exhausted the patience of most involved in the roster decision.
Manti Te'o, LB, San Diego Chargers
It's getting crowded at linebacker in San Diego.
The Chargers just spent a fourth-round pick on Joshua Perry and a fifth-round pick on Jatavis Brown, moves that seemed to have quite a bit of foreshadowing to them.
Manti Te'o might be the guy on the hot seat. The former Notre Dame standout has been inconsistent on the field, and his body hasn't been able to withstand the rigors of stopping the run on the inside. Over three years, he's already missed 13 games.
Maybe making additions to the depth chart was simply a way to add insurance behind Te'o, but the Chargers could decide the inside 'backer next to Denzel Perryman needs to be more athletic.
If that's the case and Te'o continues to struggle in the speed department, he's going to be on his way out. San Diego has a new core of hungry, young linebackers who can assume responsibilities in the middle if necessary.
|Matt Elam, S||Baltimore Ravens|
|Barkevious Mingo, LB||Cleveland Browns|
|Alterraun Verner, CB||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|