The Best Player Who Could Be Cut from Every NFL Roster This Offseason
The offseason is an exciting time for NFL fans because free agency and the draft bring new faces and fresh talent to their favorite teams. While fans see the new additions as signs of hope, however, some veterans undoubtedly see them as competition.
The National Football League is a bottom-line business, and the bottom line doesn't always have to do with performances on the field. "What have you done lately" doesn't even accurately sum up the business of football. When teams make their final cuts down to 53 players, age, draft status and salary can factor in just as much as how a player is performing.
Because of this, numerous talented players are always released at offseason's end. Fair or not, it's going to happen again this year. We're here to try figuring out 32 of the top players who could be headed to the cut pile. We'll pick the best player from each team and discuss the situations that could lead to his surprise release.
Arizona Cardinals: G Evan Boehm
The future of Arizona Cardinals guard Evan Boehm could be determined by a numbers game. While he has experience—he's appeared in 31 games with nine starts—and provides quality depth on the interior of the offensive line, Boehm could be the odd man out if Arizona only keeps a handful of backup linemen.
Boehm sits behind Mike Iupati and Justin Pugh on the guard depth chart, and it wouldn't make financial sense for the Cardinals to cut either one. Pugh just signed a five-year, $45 million deal in March. While Iupati played only one game last year due to a triceps injury, he has $8.4 million of guaranteed money remaining on his contract.
Center A.Q. Shipley has started all 16 games in each of the past two seasons. He isn't likely to go anywhere. The Cardinals also have John Wetzel, who has made 19 starts in two seasons, and rookie third-round pick Mason Cole.
If the new Cardinals regime isn't happier with Boehm's performance than the last one was—he was benched in favor of Earl Watford before injuries forced him back into the lineup—he could be out. However, Boehm has both the talent and the experience to catch on elsewhere.
Atlanta Falcons: CB Justin Bethel
The Atlanta Falcons brought in veteran cornerback Justin Bethel this offseason to provide depth in their secondary. Bethel, who appeared in all 16 games in each of the past six seasons with the Cardinals, has been named to three Pro Bowls as a special teams player and made 14 starts over the past three seasons.
However, he also fell out of favor in Arizona.
"It's a failure in progress," former Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians said of Bethel's role on defense in December 2016, per NFL.com's Marc Sessler.
For Bethel to secure his spot on the Falcons, he'll have to beat out the likes of Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Leon McFaddon for a spot high on the reserves depth chart.
Robert Alford and Desmond Trufant are entrenched as starters, wile Brian Poole serves as Atlanta's nickel back. Rookie second-round pick Isaiah Oliver is also looking at a secure roster spot because of his draft status.
Unless Bethel manages to unseat Poole, he'll likely be team's fourth or fifth cornerback—depending on how Oliver develops—at best. If Atlanta decides $1.75 million is too much to pay a depth player and special teamer, it can release Bethel and pay out only $400,000 in guarantees.
Baltimore Ravens: RB Kenneth Dixon
The Baltimore Ravens selected running back Kenneth Dixon with a fourth-round pick in 2016, and he arrived with plenty of hype. The Louisiana Tech product rushed for more than 4,400 yards and a whopping 72 touchdowns during his collegiate career.
Dixon showed some promise as a rookie, too, as he averaged 4.3 yards per carry and caught 30 passes. However, Ravens haven't seen much of him since. He was suspended for the first four games of the 2017 season for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy and missed the rest of the year with a torn meniscus.
During Dixon's absence, Alex Collins established himself as Baltimore's go-to back, rushing for 973 yards and 4.6 yards per carry. Heading into this year, Dixon thus will be battling for a backup role behind Collins and the versatile Javorius Allen (591 rushing yards, 46 receptions in 2017).
If an undrafted free agent like Gus Edwards, De'Lance Turner or Mark Thompson flashes during the offseason, Dixon could be a roster casualty given the uncertainty of how he'll look after his injury and the risk of him being suspended again. Cutting him would save the Ravens $725,000 in cap space.
Buffalo Bills: DT Adolphus Washington
The Buffalo Bills selected Ohio State defensive tackle Adolphus Washington with third-round pick in 2016. While Washington has the physical tools to be a disruptive NFL defender (6'4", 295 lbs, ran a 4.95-second 40 at his pro day), he hasn't become the dominant force the Bills had envisioned.
In free agency, Buffalo brought in a pair of productive defensive linemen in Star Lotulelei and Trent Murphy. The Bills also drafted former Stanford defensive tackle Harrison Phillips in the third round this year.
While Washington can still be a valuable rotational player, general manager Brandon Beane has two reasons to consider moving on from him. For one, Washington was a piece of the defensive front that allowed 124.6 yards per game on the ground last season. Beane traded away defensive tackle Marcell Dareus last season and recently released defensive end Ryan Davis.
Washington also represents a piece of the Doug Whaley and Rex Ryan regime, which Beane and head coach Sean McDermott have been trying to overhaul ever since taking over last offseason.
Releasing Washington would only save the Bills roughly $470,000 in cap space, but it would spare McDermott the trouble of dealing with a defensive piece he didn't choose. Dareus, Davis and Ronald Darby are a few similar pieces who Buffalo has already shown the door.
Carolina Panthers: WR Russell Shepard
After entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2013, Russell Shepard finally broke out with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2016, catching 23 passes for 341 yards and two touchdowns. During the ensuing offseason, the Carolina Panthers inked him to a three-year, $10 million deal.
Shepard was a serviceable secondary receiving option last season, amassing 202 yards and a touchdown in 15 games. However, the Panthers added a few new receivers this offseason, which could leave him on the outside looking in.
Carolina brought in speedster Torrey Smith and Jarius Wright during free agency and used a first-round pick on former Maryland standout D.J. Moore. With Devin Funchess, Smith and Moore potentially serving as the team's starting trio, Shepard will be battling for a backup role. If second-year man Curtis Samuel takes a positive step, Shepard could be the fifth receiver at best—and that's if the Panthers feel he's worth the money.
While Shepard has two years remaining on his current deal, only $1.4 million of it is guaranteed. The Panthers could save more than $2 million this season alone by releasing him.
Chicago Bears: C Hroniss Grasu
The Chicago Bears have endured a fair amount of roster turnover over the last few years as they undergo their latest rebuild. Hroniss Grasu could soon find himself part of that turnover.
The 2015 third-round pick has good size for a center at 6'3" and 301 pounds, and he's only 26 years old. However, injuries and poor play have prevented Grasu from establishing himself as a full-time starter in Chicago. In three seasons with the Bears, he has appeared in just 14 games with 12 starts.
Cody Whitehair earned the starting center job over the last two years, though he spent some time at guard due to Grasu's lack of versatility. Injuries forced Grasu into the starting lineup last season, but since he is a center only, Whitehair had to slide over a spot.
That inflexibility is a problem for Grasu, as he looks to compete with the likes of rookie second-round pick James Daniels, veteran Eric Kush and undrafted rookie Dejon Allen for a roster spot.
Grasu has enough talent to provide valuable depth for a team with less talent at the center spot. The Bears, however, have players with more versatility. Cutting Grasu would provide the roster spot to keep one of them and save nearly $800,000 in cap space.
Cincinnati Bengals: OT Cedric Ogbuehi
Cedric Ogbuehi has been a disappointment in his three years with the Cincinnati Bengals. While the 2015 first-round pick has started 25 games, he hasn't locked down the left tackle position as Cincinnati had hoped.
"Ogbuehi is my least favorite OL in league," former NFL offensive lineman Ross Tucker tweeted in 2016. "Can't stand watching him play."
The Bengals traded to acquire Cordy Glenn from the Bills this offseason to shore up their left tackle spot. Ogbuehi should get a chance to compete at a different position, perhaps at guard or against Jake Fisher at right tackle, but Cincinnati ultimately may decide to cut its losses.
The Bengals have already declined Ogbuehi's fifth-year option, and they could save around $1.3 million this year by cutting him. Though he hasn't worked out in Cincinnati, his draft pedigree and age (26) should help him draw interest from teams willing to give him a second chance.
Cleveland Browns: CB Jamar Taylor
Jamar Taylor reinvigorated his career with the Cleveland Browns over the past two seasons. Cleveland acquired him from the Miami Dolphins ahead of the 2016 season, and the former Boise State star has started 29 games since.
However, new Browns general manager John Dorsey is looking to remake Cleveland's secondary.
He brought in safety Damarious Randall and cornerbacks E.J. Gaines and T.J. Carrie. He drafted Ohio State product Denzel Ward with the fourth overall pick and also shipped Jason McCourty off to the New England Patriots.
Taylor could be following McCourty out of Cleveland. According to Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer, the Browns are looking to trade him.
If the Browns are unable to move Taylor and aren't happy with his performance in the offseason, they could opt to release him. While he has two years remaining on his contract, only $1.5 million of it is guaranteed.
Dallas Cowboys: G Joe Looney
The Dallas Cowboys have one of the league's best offensive lines, and they have plenty of depth as well thanks to the presence of players like guard Joe Looney. The former Wake Forest standout has six years of NFL experience and 13 starts under his belt.
Though Looney has only made three starts over the last two years for the Cowboys, he still has a ton of value as one of the better backups in the NFL.
Dallas' problem is a lack of cap space. The Cowboys have just over $8 million available, which may incentivize them to cut Looney and save $1 million. That would weaken Dallas' depth at the position, but the drafting of Texas' Connor Williams would make Looney's departure easier to take.
The presence of La'el Collins and Zack Martin should mean Dallas won't have to thrust Williams into duty too early. Meanwhile, Looney would have little trouble finding work, as a number of teams should view him as more than a backup.
Denver Broncos: G Max Garcia
The Denver Broncos are still in the process of rebuilding their offensive line.
They brought Ronald Leary in at guard last year. They brought Jared Veldheer in at tackle this offseason. If Garrett Boles continues to improve and Matt Paradis continues to play well at center, it will leave just one guard spot uncertain.
Connor McGovern, Max Garcia and rookie sixth-round pick Sam Jones likely will compete for that guard spot. Billy Turner and Jeremiah Poutasi should get their chances as well.
Of those players, Garcia may make the most sense for release. He's due to make just under $2 million this season, but only $86,000 is guaranteed.
Garcia started 16 games in each of the past two seasons for the Broncos and started five games the year before. However, the 2015 fourth-round pick has struggled at times, particularly in the run game.
If any of the other guys up for the guard spot manage to outperform Garcia in the offseason, it would make fiscal sense for Denver to cut him.
Detroit Lions: RB Ameer Abdullah
The Detroit Lions haven't had a running back rush for 100 yards in a single game since 2013. Detroit drafted former Nebraska star Ameer Abdullah in the second round of the 2015 draft with the hope he could break that depressing streak, but he has yet to do so.
While Abdullah shows flashes at times, he has struggled to be an every-down back. He missed most of the 2016 season with a torn foot ligament and has averaged just 3.8 yards per carry in his three-year career.
This offseason, the Lions brought in LeGarrette Blount, who used to play for new head coach Matt Patricia's Patriots. They also spent the 43rd overall pick on former Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson.
With receiving back Theo Riddick also on the roster, Abdullah could be the odd man out of Detroit's backfield.
Johnson can be the back of the future, Blount can be the ram between the tackles and Riddick can be the pass-catcher. Abdullah could be left without a primary role, and cutting him would save just over $1 million.
Green Bay Packers: QB Brett Hundley
Backup quarterbacks have a lot of value in the NFL, especially those who have gained starting experience. That's precisely why Green Bay Packers backup Brett Hundley likely would get gobbled up quickly should the team release him before the start of the season.
Hundley has spent three years learning behind star signal-caller Aaron Rogers. He also started nine games last season. Though Hundley didn't play particularly well in Rodgers' stead—he threw for 1,836 yards with nine touchdowns and 12 interceptions—it's not like Green Bay surrounded him with top-tier talent.
Depending on how many quarterbacks the Packers decide to keep on the roster, Hundley could find himself on the cut pile. Green Bay acquired DeShone Kizer from the Browns in return for Randall, and it seems the team likes his potential.
"He has starter ability in this league, clearly," head coach Mike McCarthy said, per Zach Kruse of Packers Wire. "In my opinion, if he was in that class this year, he would have been part of the first five quarterbacks, the first-round guys. He has exceptional arm talent."
Rodgers isn't going anywhere, so if the Packers only keep two quarterbacks, Hundley seems like the odd man out. However, he has plenty of talent for a backup, so some team would jump on him and his $760,000 salary.
Houston Texans: TE Ryan Griffin
Two years ago, tight end Ryan Griffin had a breakout year for the Houston Texans, catching 50 passes for 442 yards and two touchdowns. Houston subsequently inked him to a three-year, $9 million deal.
In the first year of that new contract, Griffin wasn't as nearly as productive. He appeared in seven games and had caught only 13 passes before a concussion prematurely ended his season. In Griffin's absence, Stephen Anderson increased his own value with 342 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Anderson isn't the only player Griffin will have to compete with this offseason. Houston also has MyCole Pruitt, rookie third-round pick Jordan Akins and rookie sixth-round pick Jordan Thomas on its roster.
While Griffin should have a chance to earn a roster spot and possibly even the starting job, his concussion history—his second one of 2017 landed him on injured reserve—has to be a concern. If the Texans don't believe Griffin can safely play a full 16-game season or determine some of their younger players can be bigger contributors, Griffin could be a cap casualty.
Though Griffin has two years remaining on his contract, none of it is guaranteed. Houston could save nearly $2.5 million this season by letting him go.
Indianapolis Colts: RB Robert Turbin
Robert Turbin primarily has been a backup and role player during his six-year NFL career, but he's had some productive stretches. He averaged 4.2 yards per carry with the Seattle Seahawks in 2014, and he averaged 4.3 yards per carry with the Cowboys in 2015.
For the right team, Turbin has value as a backup. However, it likely won't be with the Indianapolis Colts.
Turbin has spent the last two seasons in Indianapolis, but he has never averaged more than 3.5 yards per carry with the team. Last year, he had just 23 carries for 53 yards and a touchdown.
Marlon Mack established himself as a better rushing threat with the Colts last season, averaging 3.8 yards per carry and scoring three rushing touchdowns. Indianapolis also added running backs Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins in the draft and has Josh Ferguson and Christine Michael on the roster.
If the Colts deem Turbin expendable, they would save north of $1.1 million by releasing him. Turbin, who won't turn 29 until December, should garner interest from other teams if Indianapolis does cut him.
Jacksonville Jaguars: DT Eli Ankou
Defensive tackle Eli Ankou made his way to the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent last year and managed to carve out a reserve role. He appeared in nine games and produced 15 tackles and 1.5 sacks.
While those weren't eye-popping numbers, the fact Ankou even earned a spot in Jacksonville's talented defensive line rotation is a testament to his talent. He was sharing time with the likes of Malik Jackson, Marcell Dareus, Abry Jones and Calais Campbell.
Ankou may have a harder time earning a role this year, as the Jaguars added first-round defensive tackle Taven Bryan to the mix. Bryan's roster spot is effectively guaranteed, while Ankou's is not.
Though Ankou may not excite casual fans, consider this. If he can be a contributor on the league's most dominant defense as a rookie, he could almost certainly help your favorite team. Other franchises will jump at the chance to add him on a $555,000 salary.
Kansas City Chiefs: RB Charcandrick West
A few years ago, Kansas City Chiefs running back Charcandrick West appeared to be one of the league's young rising stars. He tallied 848 yards from scrimmage, averaged 4.0 yards per carry and scored five combined rushing and receiving touchdowns in 2015.
Fast forward to 2017, and West was basically an afterthought in Kansas City. Rookie Kareem Hunt took the NFL world by storm, while West logged just 18 carries and 27 receptions.
That could make West a cap casualty this offseason, as his contract features an easy out for Kansas City. While he is due to earn just over $2 million in 2018, only $333,000 is guaranteed. If backs like Spencer Ware, Kerywnn Williams and undrafted rookie Darrel Williams impress in the offseason, West could be out.
Ware would be a nice complement to the speedy Hunt if he's back to 100 percent after last year's knee injury. He's a big back at 229 pounds, but is a capable runner and receiver who averaged 4.3 yards per carry and had 33 receptions in 2016. If Ware is healthy, West would be the Chiefs' No. 3 back at best, and the team may want a cheaper option in that role.
Loa Angeles Chargers: DT Brandon Mebane
The Los Angeles Chargers already restructured the contract of defensive tackle Corey Liuget, who will be suspended for the first four games of 2018. This means his starting spot is likely safe upon his return.
Things aren't quite as certain for fellow starter Brandon Mebane.
The longtime veteran is 33 years old, which puts him on the back end of his career. He's also part of the defensive line that allowed an NFL-high 4.9 yards per carry last season.
It makes some sense for the Chargers to want to keep Mebane, especially with Liuget out for the first month. However, Los Angeles does have young defensive linemen like Darius Philon and rookie third-round pick Justin Jones.
If one of L.A.'s other defensive tackles can impress in the offseason, the Chargers could look to part with Mebane and fill out the depth chart with cheaper talent. Los Angeles would save $4.5 million by parting ways with Mebane.
Los Angeles Rams: CB Sam Shields
The Los Angeles Rams made a pair of trades this offseason to upgrade at cornerback. The team added both Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters, who are projected to form the starting duo. Returning Rams Troy Hill and Kevin Peterson will look to provide depth behind them, along with offseason acquisition Sam Shields.
Shields made a name for himself with the Packers over the last eight years. The former undrafted free agent earned both a Super Bowl ring and a Pro Bowl nod with Green Bay, and he was a starter for the majority of his time there.
However, a concussion ended Shields' 2016 season after just one game. It was his fourth documented concussion with the Packers, and he decided to sit out all of 2017.
"I was going through hell—headaches, couldn't see the light, things like that," Shields said, per Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com.
Shields believes he's ready for a return to football—and we wish him nothing but the best—but it's fair to wonder whether concussions remain a concern and what kind of player he'll be after a year away.
L.A. gave Shields a one-year deal worth just over $1 million for an opportunity to compete. But the Rams are trying to win now, so if they don't believe Shields can help with that, they can release him without paying him anything.
Miami Dolphins: TE MarQueis Gray
MarQueis Gray is a typical journeyman tight end.
He's a good in-line blocker, and while he won't wow you with raw statistics, he is a capable pass-catcher as well. In 2016, for instance, he started seven games with the Dolphins and caught 14 passes for 174 yards.
This combination of skills has allowed Gray to last in the NFL for five seasons and counting. He may never be a star, but Gray is talented enough to continue his career as a depth player.
However, he may not be able to do so as a member of the Dolphins. Though Miami parted with Julius Thomas in the offseason, it also added A.J. Derby, Gavin Escobar, rookie second-round pick Mike Gesicki and rookie fourth-round Durham Smythe.
Gesicki will almost certainly become Miami's primary pass-catching tight end. At 6'6" and 247 pounds with 4.54 speed, he is the kind of mismatch Thomas was supposed to be in Miami. Since he and Smythe are both likely to make the team based on draft status, Gray could have a hard time earning the last roster spot if the Dolphins only keep three tight ends.
Gray is a good all-around tight end, but he isn't special in any one area. Cutting him would save the Dolphins nearly $1 million in cap space.
Minnesota Vikings: K Kai Forbath
While Kai Forbath has never been one of the NFL's top specialists since he began kicking in 2012—he's made 85.9 percent of his career field-goal attempts—he has been more than serviceable. With the Minnesota Vikings last year, he made 32 field goals, ninth-most in the NFL.
The Vikings re-signed Forbath to a one-year deal this offseason, but the UCLA product still may be on his way out. Minnesota also used a fifth-round draft pick on former Auburn kicker Daniel Carlson, which doesn't seem to bode well for Forbath's roster spot.
"We're just trying to create competition," Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said, via the team's official website. "Kai's [Forbath] done really good this spring. So, we're just going to let them go out there and kick."
The Vikings may not hand Carlson the kicking job based on draft status alone, but the rookie will undoubtedly have a chance to win it. If he does, Minnesota can save $790,000 by parting with Forbath.
Given the dearth of reliable kickers around the league, the veteran likely wouldn't be out of work for long.
New England Patriots: RB Mike Gillislee
The Patriots have leaned on a committee backfield in recent years. Having multiple backs with a variety of skill sets has been a big part of their offensive plan.
However, they have too many ball-carriers on the roster at the moment, so they'll inevitably cut some before the start of the season.
New England bought back James White, Brandon Bolden, Mike Gillislee and Rex Burkhead. They also added Jeremy Hill in free agency and used a first-round pick on Georgia product Sony Michel. Fullback James Develin is on the roster, too.
Michel is obviously staying put, and receiving ability could keep both White and Burkhead on the roster. Bolden has special teams value, and the Patriots like keeping a fullback like Develin around. Both Gillislee and Hill are prime cut candidates, and Gillislee has performed better between the two in recent years.
Gillislee averaged 5.7 yards per carry in both 2015 and 2016. Hill hasn't topped four yards per carry since his rookie season in 2014.
The Patriots utilized Gillislee early in the 2017 season, but they lost confidence in him toward the end of the year. He played only once during the final eight games of the regular season.
While Gillislee has the talent to help out a backfield this season, the Patriots may not want to pay to make it theirs. Instead, they could save more than $2 million by releasing him.
New Orleans Saints: S Chris Banjo
New Orleans Saints safety Chris Banjo isn't a star, or even a starter. However, he has a lot of value as a depth player and a special teams ace, which is why he has lasted in the NFL since 2013 despite making only two career starts.
The Saints will have to determine whether Banjo's value as a backup and special teamer is worth $1.55 million this season. Only $100,000 of that is guaranteed, so if New Orleans decides the value isn't there, it can release him with little financial penalty.
The Saints have depth at the safety position after adding Kurt Coleman in free agency and after drafting Natrell Jamerson in the fifth round. They also added former Mississippi State safety J.T. Gray as an undrafted free agent.
Jamerson, in particular, poses a threat to Banjo. The Wisconsin product is raw as a defensive back, but he has plenty of special teams experience. He could make the team based on his special teams ability alone, which could push Banjo off the roster. New Orleans is in win-now mode and could potentially use the saved money to bolster another position.
It's unlikely Banjo would be looking for work for long, as most teams can always use more defensive back depth. It just so happens the Saints may be the exception this year.
New York Giants: LB Ray-Ray Armstrong
Despite being an undrafted free agent back in 2013, linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong has carved out a respectable five-year NFL career spanning four teams. The most recent was the New York Giants, who claimed Armstrong off waivers last November.
In Armstrong's five games for the Giants (one start), he logged 10 tackles and a forced fumble.
Though Armstrong has one year remaining on his current contract, he signed that deal with the San Francisco 49ers. And while the 49ers thought enough of Armstrong to give him that contract, they didn't believe he was good enough to see the end of it. The Giants may not either, especially since cutting Armstrong would save $1.23 million.
Armstrong will be competing for a depth role behind starting inside linebackers Alec Ogletree and B.J. Goodson. New York has less than $10 million in cap space and may not want to spend that kind of money on a role player.
Though Armstrong is good enough to earn a backup job in the NFL, he may have to earn it with a team that has more cash to spend.
New York Jets: QB Teddy Bridgewater
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was a first-round pick, a Pro Bowler in his second year and once considered the future face of the Vikings. However, a severe knee injury put his career on pause and nearly ended it.
Now, Bridgewater is vying to be a short-term solution for the New York Jets, who added their own future face of the franchise in Sam Darnold this offseason. The Jets gave Bridgewater a one-year, $5 million deal that only includes $500,000 guaranteed.
The problem for Bridgewater is that the Jets also re-signed Josh McCown this offseason. McCown was a solid starter for the Jets last year and is likely to hold the starting job until Darnold is ready to take over. McCown's deal is worth $10 million fully guaranteed. New York won't want to part with him even if Darnold is ready to play from day one.
Even Christian Hackenberg is owed more guaranteed money in 2018.
While the Jets would probably rather have Bridgewater than Hackenberg—seeing as how Bridgewater has actually accomplished something in the NFL—if they only keep three quarterbacks on the roster, Bridgewater will be out. The Jets may also simply be willing to give Bridgewater a chance to latch on with another team if they don't believe his future is in New York.
Oakland Raiders: RB Doug Martin
Running back Doug Martin has had an up-and-down NFL career. The 2012 first-round pick has a pair of Pro Bowls to his name and rushed for more than 1,400 yards in both 2012 and 2015. However, he has also dealt with a PED suspension and averaged just 2.9 yards per carry in each of the last two seasons.
Still, Martin is just 29 years old and three years removed from a Pro Bowl campaign. In the right situation, he may recapture some of that former magic. The Oakland Raiders gave Martin a one-year, $1.475 million deal in hopes that situation could be in the Bay Area.
The challenge for Martin, however, will be earning a roster spot over the likes of Marshawn Lynch, DeAndre Washington, Jalen Richard and undrafted free-agent Chris Warren. With the exception of Lynch, these other backs are younger and potentially have a brighter future. If new head coach Jon Gruden doesn't see some of the old Doug Martin on the field in camp, he'll likely be the odd man out.
Even Lynch could make for a difficult cut to swallow, as he's owed $4.5 million in guaranteed money this season. None of Martin's contract is guaranteed.
Philadelphia Eagles: LB Mychal Kendricks
Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks is a fantastic player. He had 77 tackles, 2.0 sacks and six passes defended last season. Yet, the defending Super Bowl champs don't seem too keen on keeping him around.
Trade rumors regarding Kendricks have swirled for much of the offseason. In mid-March, for example, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported the Eagles were "expected to shop" Kendricks after they re-signed fellow linebacker Nigel Bradham.
Perhaps the Eagles believe their defense can continue to function sans Kendricks with the help of linebackers like Bradham and Jordan Hicks. Perhaps they don't like the lack of turnovers Kendricks creates. He has had zero interceptions since 2013 and hasn't forced a fumble since 2015.
Perhaps they simply believe Kendricks is overpaid. He's set to earn $7.6 million in 2018 and more than $16 million over the next two years.
The selection of linebacker Josh Sweat in the fourth round of the draft could give the Eagles their eventual replacement for Kendricks, too, so we can probably expect some of those trade rumors to re-emerge at some point this offseason.
If Philadelphia doesn't move Kendricks this offseason, it very well may consider releasing him. Only $3.2 million of his remaining salary is guaranteed.
Pittsburgh Steelers: DE Anthony Chickillo
Realistically, we could put Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell on this list. If he avoids the team for the majority of the offseason, the Steelers could grow tired of his antics and release him. However, he'd hold such high trade value—assuming Pittsburgh could convince Bell he'd be getting a long-term deal at his new destination so he would sign his tender—that it's far more likely Pittsburgh would move him.
Instead, we'll go with outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo, who has spent the last three seasons with the Steelers. While Chickillo is more of a depth player behind Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt, he is just 25 years old and has some edge-rushing value.
Chickillo recorded 5.5 sacks over the past two seasons.
While Chickillo seems like a player the Steelers would like to have around as a reserve, he is scheduled to make nearly $2 million in 2018. This is a sizable amount of money for a backup on a team with less than $6 million in cap space. If a player like undrafted free-agent Ola Adeniyi can push Chickillo in camp, Chickillo could become a potential cap casualty.
San Francisco 49ers: LB Reuben Foster
Nobody will question the on-field talent of 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster. The 2017 first-round pick made plays all over the field and amassed 72 tackles as a rookie last season. From a talent standpoint, he's one of the best players on San Francisco's roster.
Unfortunately, off-field behavior could lead to Foster's release. Foster was arrested in February on domestic-violence charges involving his ex-girlfriend Elissa Ennis. Ennis has since recanted her accusation, but the Santa Clara District Attorney's Office is still following through with charges. His future with the team will depend on the legal outcome.
"If Reuben did indeed hit this young lady, he won't be a part of our organization going forward," 49ers general manager John Lynch said, per Cam Inman of the Mercury News.
According to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports, the district attorney is in possession of video that "is described as showing the alleged victim sustaining injuries in a fight with another woman."
Foster may well be cleared of the charges. If he isn't, he'll become one of the most talented young players on the NFL cut pile.
Seattle Seahawks: S Earl Thomas
If things were based on talent alone, there's almost no way the Seahawks would consider cutting safety Earl Thomas. The Texas product has been a mainstay of Seattle's defense for eight years and is a six-time Pro Bowler.
However, things aren't simply about Thomas' performance. The veteran safety is entering the final year of his contract and is seeking a new deal. He hasn't reported for offseason activities, and Seattle isn't sure when he might do so.
"We'll find out," Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said, per Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times.
According to general manager John Schneider, Thomas isn't likely to stage a long-term holdout over his contract.
"My sense is that he wants to be here," Schneider said during an appearance with 710 ESPN Seattle. "I haven't got that sense from his agents at all."
However, Schneider may not be taking into account how Thomas feels about the team's trade talks during the draft. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Seattle talked with the Cowboys about trading Thomas.
Thomas has previously expressed interest in playing for the Cowboys.
"Come get me," Thomas said to Cowboys coach Jason Garrett last season, per Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News.
If he no longer feels wanted by the Seahawks, he may try to force his way there by holding out and requesting his release. Seattle would save $8.5 million by releasing him.
A lot would have to fall into place before the Seahawks would release Thomas—they'd certainly seek a trade first—but it is a possibility, and he would undoubtedly be the most talented Seahawk released if it happened.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: G J.R. Sweezy
The Buccaneers offensive line was not good in 2017. As a unit, it allowed 40 sacks and produced the league's 27th-ranked run game last season (90.6 yards per game). One of the starting members of that unit, guard J.R. Sweezy, could be a cap casualty this offseason.
The reason for this is fairly simple. Sweezy is set to earn more than $7 million this season and may not even have a legitimate shot at starting.
The Buccaneers have Ali Marpet, Evan Smith and rookie third-round pick Alex Cappa at guard. Sweezy ended last season with a foot injury and may be unable to compete with these three early in the offseason.
"J.R.'s rehabbing right now and we're going to see how that goes," Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said during an appearance with WDAE-AM 620 (h/t JoeBucsFan.com). "You know, he hasn't been cleared and hopefully he gets cleared by training camp."
Less than $2 million of Sweezy's contract is guaranteed, so clearing his next three seasons off the books wouldn't be a financial challenge for the Buccaneers. While Sweezy does have four years of full-time starting experience, it makes no sense for Tampa to keep him if he isn't a clear-cut top starting option and is still working his way back from injury.
Tennessee Titans: G Kevin Pamphile
The Buccaneers drafted former Purdue offensive lineman Kevin Pamphile in the fifth round back in 2014. Pamphile became a starter in 2016 and started 29 games at guard for the Buccaneers over the last two seasons. The Tennessee Titans brought him in this offseason to provide depth.
Last year's starting guards were Quinton Spain and Josh Kline. The Titans gave Kline a new four-year, $26.5 million deal this offseason. His starting job is clearly secure. Pamphile may have a chance to compete with Spain and fellow offseason acquisition Xavier Su'a-Filo for the starting left guard spot, though.
If Pamphile doesn't win the starting job, Tennessee could decide to part ways before the start of the season. While Pamphile would be a solid depth player, the Titans could save $1 million by releasing him. Su'a-Filo, who has a salary of just $880,000, would be a more cost-efficient backup. Releasing Spain would save the team nothing, as his $1.9 million salary is fully guaranteed.
It could be starter or bust for Pamphile with the Titans this season. Considering he was a starter on a Buccaneers line that was bad in both the rushing and passing games, that could be a bad proposition. Pamphile has enough talent to make a roster in 2018, but it may not be Tennessee's.
Washington Redskins: DT Ziggy Hood
As is the case with many players on this list, Washington Redskins defensive tackle Evander "Ziggy" Hood's future could be determined by the number of players at his position the team decides to keep.
The drafting of former Alabama defensive tackle Da'Ron Payne pushes Hood down the pecking order. He's a lock to make the roster. Defensive linemen Jonathan Allen, a first-round pick in 2017, and Stacy McGee, who signed a five-year, $25 million deal last offseason, likely are as well.
Hood is far from a lock to make the roster. While he is an experienced veteran who made 13 starts last season, he is not the kind of upper-echelon defender Washington cannot afford to part with. He had 25 tackles in 2017 with just half a sack. He was also part of a defensive front that allowed an NFL-worst 134.1 rushing yards per game.
If the Redskins decide to part with Hood, they can save roughly $1.6 million in cap space, as he has just $150,000 in dead money remaining on his contract. Hood will be vying with the likes of Matt Ioannidis and rookie fifth-round pick Tim Settle for a spot on the defensive-line depth chart. Younger talent could push him out.
*All contract information via Spotrac.com.