The Best Player Who Could Be Cut from Every NFL Roster This Offseason

Brent Sobleski@@brentsobleskiNFL AnalystMay 10, 2019

The Best Player Who Could Be Cut from Every NFL Roster This Offseason

0 of 32

    Mark Tenally/Associated Press

    Follow the money. The statement is as true in professional football as any other walk of life. 

    NFL teams won't release good players without reason. Mitigating factors prompt such action. More often than not, a burdensome contract causes the organization to move on from an established veteran. 

    Age, injuries, declining play and roster construction must be considered, but a player's release only makes sense if the financials are in the team's favor. 

    For example, the Jacksonville Jaguars haven't been thrilled with the work habits of certain star players. The organization might entertain the idea of moving on from one or two, but that would have to be accomplished via trade.

    Leonard Fournette accounts for $7.4 million of this year's salary cap. Hypothetically, Jacksonville could cut the running back, and the previous number would increase to $8.94 million. This is known as dead money. The organization already paid the individual his guaranteed money, but NFL accounting allows the numbers to be spread over multiple years. 

    Other contracts are far more manageable and will lead to quality performers hitting the market. Each team has at least one talented player of note on the chopping block. 

    The numbers have to make sense, though. Otherwise, an organization should—and most likely will—cut a quality player. 

    After all, it's a business.  

Arizona Cardinals: DT Robert Nkemdiche

1 of 32

    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    The Arizona Cardinals roster isn't loaded with talent. General manager Steve Keim is trying to build the team to fit head coach Kliff Kingsbury's vision, but the cupboard was bare after last season's 3-13 campaign. 

    Patrick Peterson, Larry Fitzgerald, Chandler Jones and David Johnson provide a small core of veterans to build around, but obvious cut candidates aren't plentiful since the Cardinals aren't loaded with overpaid talent. 

    In fact, three of the organization's seven richest contracts were acquired this offseason. 

    Robert Nkemdiche is something different. He's a failed first-round pick still operating under his rookie deal.

    The Cardinals wouldn't save much against the salary cap ($500,000) by releasing the 24-year-old defensive tackle, but the team doesn't have much need for Nkemdiche after it signed Darius Philon and drafted Zach Allen and Michael Dogbe. 

    Nkemdiche can only ride his potential and one-time status as an elite recruit for so long. 

Atlanta Falcons: OG Wes Schweitzer

2 of 32

    Mark Tenally/Associated Press

    Wes Schweitzer worked his way from a 2016 sixth-round pick to a two-year starter at guard for the Atlanta Falcons. Usually, when a lesser-known performer from a non-pipeline school finds success at the professional level, it warrants praise.

    Unfortunately, Schweitzer didn't perform as well as the Falcons wanted, and the team's front office placed a heavy emphasis on getting better along the offensive line.  

    General manager Thomas Dimitroff signed a pair of veteran guards, James Carpenter and Jamon Brown, in free agency before spending a pair of first-round picks on blockers. Rookies Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary are expected to take over the right side with Carpenter at left guard, which leaves Brown as the team's swing lineman. 

    Schweitzer presents some position flexibility, but the team already showed a willingness to cut previous starters (see: Schraeder, Ryan), and the cap-strapped Falcons can save $2 million with the 25-year-old's release. 

Baltimore Ravens: CB Brandon Carr

3 of 32

    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Baltimore Ravens cornerback Brandon Carr is an iron man. He's started every single game during his 11 -year career. Eventually, the streak will end. It may not happen this year, but that doesn't mean he'll still be on the Ravens roster. 

    Baltimore can slash Carr's $7 million salary-cap hit in half this season by cutting the veteran defender.

    General manager Eric DeCosta told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine he "would expect [Carr] to be back."

    Even so, a move should be considered since the Ravens already have two starting-caliber, younger options in Jimmy Smith and Marlon Humphrey. Tavon Young is set at nickel corner. The organization also drafted Anthony Averett and Iman Marshall the last two years to provide depth. 

    Carr can still contribute, but the Ravens may prefer to move forward with a younger core while saving some valuable salary-cap space. 

Buffalo Bills: RB LeSean McCoy

4 of 32

    Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

    According to general manager Brandon Beane, LeSean McCoy remains the Buffalo Bills' starting running back, per's Matt Parrino

    The title doesn't mean anything at this point. 

    McCoy turns 31 years old in July, and his average yards per carry declined each of the last two seasons. In fact, the veteran running back posted a career-low 3.2 yards per carry during the 2018 campaign. 

    Those numbers are disheartening, but only one number actually matters: $6.43 million. The Bills can save that much if the front office decides to cut McCoy. 

    Of course, the six-time Pro Bowler would benefit from a revamped offensive line and multiple additions to the team's skill positions. However, the Bills should be able to get similar or better production from the ageless Frank Gore, T.J. Yeldon, and this year's 74th overall pick, Devin Singletary. 

Carolina Panthers: DT Vernon Butler

5 of 32

    David Goldman/Associated Press

    Sometimes a player doesn't work out in a certain situation. 

    Vernon Butler never established himself as part of the Carolina Panthers' defensive line rotation after he was selected with the 30th overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft. 

    To be fair, the Panthers placed Butler behind Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei to start his career. Once Lotulelei left in free agency, the organization signed Dontari Poe as its starting 1-technique. 

    Meanwhile, Butler failed to make an impact and became a healthy scratch for two straight December games last season. 

    The Panthers chose not to pick up his fifth-year option this offseason, and his status with the team is far from settled. Even though the Panthers wouldn't save anything by releasing the 24-year-old defender, the defense should receive better rotational production from some combination of Kyle Love, Destiny Vaeao, Elijah Qualls and T.J. Barnes. 

Chicago Bears: CB Sherrick McManis

6 of 32

    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace built a balanced roster with the team's top performers making the most money while surrounded by young and cheap talents who flesh out the rest of the lineup. 

    Financial flexibility coupled with having the majority of the team's players in their prime years signals a well-run organization. So, the idea of bad contracts doesn't really apply in the Bears' case. Thus, this cut would only be relatively significant

    Veteran defensive back Sherrick McManis played in 15 games last season and served as a special teams standout. Injuries forced him to fill a significant role in Chicago's secondary rotation. 

    The front office decided cornerback required better depth, especially after the loss of Bryce Callahan in free agency. As a result, Pace signed Buster Skrine and drafted a pair of corners, Duke Shelley and Stephen Denmark. 

    If Shelley or Denmark proves he can provide quality special teams reps, the 31-year-old McManis and his $1.99 million salary-cap hit wouldn't be necessary. 

Cincinnati Bengals: OT Cordy Glenn

7 of 32

    Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

    The Cincinnati Bengals are still searching for Andrew Whitworth's replacement two years after they let the veteran left tackle leave in free agency. 

    The organization may have solved its issue but created even more questions after it drafted Alabama's Jonah Williams with this year's 11th overall pick. 

    Cordy Glenn didn't play well during his first season in Cincinnati. As he said, per WCPO Cincinnati's Laurel Pfahler, "I don't know if it was being in a new place, injuries or whatnot, but it was a little up and down. I wasn't my usual self." 

    Williams comes into the league as college football's best left tackle. The rookie presents some positional flexibility, but he'll have a chance to beat out Glenn and immediately become the Bengals' blind-side protector.

    Glenn can play multiple positions and could challenge to start at right guard or tackle. Or, the Bengals could look at his contract and realize they'd save $7.25 million by cutting the 29-year-old blocker. 

Cleveland Browns: C JC Tretter

8 of 32

    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    The Cleveland Browns are a year away from an easier path to significant roster movement. Linebacker Christian Kirksey, right tackle Chris Hubbard and nickel corner Travis Carrie carry too much dead money to make that happen this season, though. 

    Currently, JC Tretter is in the final season of a three-year, $16.75 million deal. The Browns could save $5.75 million by cutting their starting center. 

    The idea of moving on from two-thirds of an offensive interior counted among the league's best last season seems foolish. Cleveland ranked first with the lowest knockdown percentage between Weeks 9-17, per Pro Football Focus' John Kosko. But the Browns have ready-made replacements on the roster at right guard and center.

    Austin Corbett is prepared to replace Kevin Zeitler. General manager John Dorsey also signed Eric Kush on the first day of free agency. Kush came into the league as a center and could replace Tretter if the Browns are comfortable with the versatile blocker. 

Dallas Cowboys: WR Tavon Austin

9 of 32

    Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

    Grandiose plans of how to properly utilize Dallas Cowboys wide receiver/web-back Tavon Austin faded by season's end. 

    "As you know, I think we had a real vision for what we could do with him," owner Jerry Jones said after he traded a 2018 sixth-round pick for the speedy target, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Clarence E. Hill Jr. "... I think we can get him the ball, I won't speak for [head coach Jason Garrett], but I think we'll get him the ball a dozen to 20 times, two dozen times a game, and you throw the return game on top of it, I think it's somebody we can really utilize."

    Including the playoffs, Austin touched the ball 32 total times last season.

    Dallas re-signed the 2013 eighth overall pick to a one-year, $1.75 million contract this offseason, but the deal only includes $500,000 in guaranteed money. Austin is now an afterthought in an offense that features Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Randall Cobb and Allen Hurns (if he returns from a serious ankle injury suffered in January). 

Denver Broncos: CB Chris Harris Jr.

10 of 32

    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Contract demands can cause a rift between a player and his team. Chris Harris Jr. is one of the league's premier cornerbacks and wants an extension. The Denver Broncos aren't receptive to the idea. 

    "That has not been thought about just yet," general manager John Elway said at the NFL Scouting Combine, per the Denver Post's Ryan O'Halloran. "... We're going to get through this first wave and see what we can do in free agency. Then after that, we'll look at different options."

    Well, the first wave of free agency came and went, and no progress has been made. Instead, Harris became the object of trade rumors.  

    At this point, the Broncos have three options since Harris doesn't plan to budge on his demands, according to ESPN's Josina Anderson. Denver can pay, trade or release its best defensive back.

    If he's released, the Broncos would recoup $7.9 million in salary-cap space. 

Detroit Lions: RB Theo Riddick

11 of 32

    Matt Ludtke/Associated Press

    Detroit is no longer the place where running back careers go to die. Kerryon Johnson ended the curse of Barry Sanders when the rookie ran for 101 yards in a Week 3 contest against the New England Patriots after the Lions went nearly five years without a 100-yard rusher. 

    Theo Riddick has been a part of the Lions' backfield for the entirety of his six-year NFL career. He's never been a featured back, but his receiving skills keep in him the rotation. That could finally change after Detroit discovered its identity. 

    "We're trying to be a complete offense, we're trying to be complete players," Johnson said, per the Detroit Free Press' Dave Birkett.

    Riddick isn't a complete player; he provides a specific, albeit one-dimensional, skill set. As such, he's on the roster bubble after the front office signed C.J. Anderson and drafted Tyron Johnson. Riddick's departure would save the Lions $3.66 million against the salary cap. 

Green Bay Packers: DT Mike Daniels

12 of 32

    Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press

    Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Mike Daniels is a fantastic player, and his inclusion has nothing to do with his skill set. It has everything to do with system fit as roles become more specialized. 

    Two things work against Daniels.

    First, general manager Brian Gutekunst wants a different type of defensive lineman, as seen by the acquisitions of Preston Smith, Za'Darius Smith and Rashan Gary. 

    "Not a coincidence, there's no doubt," Gutekunst said, per Packers News' Tom Silverstein. "These are big men with length and power and speed. I felt we needed to get bigger in the front, and we have. Those are the body types we're looking for."

    Daniels stands 6'0" with 32½-inch arms. 

    Second, the one-time Pro Bowl invitee holds the Packers' fifth-highest salary-cap hit this season at $10.71 million. Green Bay could save $8.31 million with his release. 

Houston Texans: LT Matt Kalil

13 of 32

    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Very few left tackle options existed on this year's free-agent market. Once the Oakland Raiders signed Trent Brown to the richest deal for an offensive lineman in NFL history, no other top options were available. 

    The Houston Texans, who allowed quarterback Deshaun Watson to be sacked a league-high 62 times last season, were left scouring the scrapheap and found Matt Kalil after the Carolina Panthers released the 29-year-old blocker. 

    Kalil isn't guaranteed a roster spot even after he signed a one-year, $7.5 million contract. The actual guarantees are worth only $2.25 million. 

    Meanwhile, the Texans drafted a pair of offensive tackles among their first three selections. Both Tytus Howard and Max Scharping could contend for starting spots. Kalil is nothing more than a cut-rate insurance policy in case the rookies aren't ready. 

Indianapolis Colts: DT Jihad Ward

14 of 32

    G Fiume/Getty Images

    Unlike most franchises, the Indianapolis Colts' salary distribution isn't top-heavy. Only four players hold salary-cap hits over $10 million this season—hence the organization's league-leading $56.46 million in available space

    Money is less of a factor in Indianapolis than in other cities.

    Instead, offseason moves portend certain movement along the defensive front. Initially, the team re-signed Margus Hunt, who served as the starting 1-technique. Justin Houston signed a week after free agency began to become the team's primary pass-rusher. 

    Jihad Ward looks to be the odd man out considering the Colts' depth. Hunt, Denico Autry, Tyquan Lewis and Grover Stewart form a solid defensive tackle rotation with Houston, Jabaal Sheard, Kemoko Turay and rookie Gerri Green at defensive end. 

    Ward, meanwhile, is coming off season-ending ankle surgery and doesn't have a direct path to make the roster. 

Jacksonville Jaguars: WR Keelan Cole

15 of 32

    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    The Jacksonville Jaguars added very little to their wide receiver corps, yet the group should be much better this fall. As a result, a productive player such as Keelan Cole might not make the roster. 

    Marqise Lee is expected back after he suffered a devastating knee injury during the 2018 preseason. 

    "Here's what I like about Marqise Lee: Every time I talk to him he's feeling better, has a smile on his face and he's dying to get back," head coach Doug Marrone said in March, per John Oehser of the Jaguars' official site. 

    Jacksonville also signed Chris Conley to a two-year, $4.6 million deal. He'll serve as the offense's deep threat alongside the team's leading receiver, Dede Westbrook. A year ago, the Jaguars selected DJ Chark Jr. in the second round, and expectations should dramatically increase in his second campaign. 

    With those four, little room is left for Cole, especially after his rash of drops last season. 

Kansas City Chiefs: WR Tyreek Hill

16 of 32

    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    The Kansas City Chiefs are slow-playing Tyreek Hill's legal troubles, presumably hoping he can return and help the team. Instead, they should do the right thing and release the wide receiver.

    "I'd just point out that Tyreek is not with the franchise right now and we're going to go through the process and as [general manager Brett Veach] said, we'll make the right decision about Tyreek at the right time," team chairman Clark Hunt said, per the Kansas City Star's Brooke Pryor

    This is no longer about football; it's about a player with an alleged history of mental and physical abuse. 

    Five years ago, Stillwater police arrested Hill on domestic abuse charges for allegedly punching and choking his pregnant girlfriend. Eventually, the conviction was dismissed and ordered expunged once Hill completed probation requirements.

    After prosecutors decided they couldn't determine who was responsible for Hill's three-year-old son suffering a broken arm in March, a disturbing audio recording was released of Hill discussing the injury with fiancee Crystal Espinal, the mother of the child. Authorities subsequently reopened the case.  

    Hill already received a second chance. The Chiefs already drafted his potential replacement in Mecole Hardman.

    There's no reason why he should still be on Kansas City's roster. 

Los Angeles Chargers: LB Jatavis Brown

17 of 32

    Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

    A player can get caught up in the numbers, and two numbers are holding back Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Jatavis Brown.

    Four starting-caliber linebackers are on the Chargers roster before counting Brown. Denzel Perryman, Kyzir White, Uchenna Nwosu and free-agent addition Thomas Davis provide them with plenty of multi-skilled linebackers. That number doesn't even include this year's fourth- and sixth-round picks, Drue Tranquill and Emeke Egbule. 

    Three injuries prevented Brown from becoming a full-time starter. Each year, a knee or ankle injury slowed the 2016 fifth-round draft pick. As a result, the Chargers front office placed a priority on the position and may have left Brown without a roster spot. 

    The fact Los Angeles could cut the fourth-year defender and save $2.03 million doesn't help his case. 

Los Angeles Rams: CB Troy Hill

18 of 32

    John McCoy/Getty Images

    The Los Angeles Rams have a long-term plan at cornerback that doesn't appear to include Troy Hill. 

    Aqib Talib's age (33) and contract status play a major role in the organization's approach since the five-time Pro Bowl cornerback is a free agent after this season. The team also seems to want Marcus Peters around for a long time. 

    "We are excited about building into year two, and we've been really pleased with Marcus—especially pleased with what you can find out with all the experiences that we went through in one year," head coach Sean McVay told reporters

    Nickell Robey-Coleman is in the second season of a three-year deal. General manager Les Snead drafted Michigan cornerback David Long in this year's third round. 

    Where does that leave Hill? He's arguably the No. 5 cornerback on the roster and operating on a non-guaranteed one-year, $2.03 million deal. 

Miami Dolphins: WR DeVante Parker

19 of 32

    Michael Reaves/Getty Images

    The Miami Dolphins' DeVante Parker never took advantage of allotted opportunities from two previous staffs under head coaches Joe Philbin and Adam Gase. He'll get another chance with Brian Flores now leading the way. 

    Like any player with a new coaching staff, Parker is excited about a "fresh start," per the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson

    "They have confidence in me again, have trust in me, have faith in me to sign me back again," he said. 

    But the opportunity cuts both ways. The new staff isn't beholden to a former first-round pick. If he doesn't progress, it has no reason to keep him.

    Currently, Albert Wilson and Kenny Stills are the Dolphins' top targets. A free-for-all between Parker, Jakeem Grant, Isaiah Ford, Brice Butler, Ricardo Louis and Preston Williams for roster spots will ensue. 

Minnesota Vikings: WR Laquon Treadwell

20 of 32

    Rob Leiter/Getty Images

    A member of the woeful 2016 first-round wide receiver class, the Minnesota Vikings' Laquon Treadwell has accomplished very little in his three professional seasons—little enough that he might not deserve another year on the roster. 

    This became perfectly clear when the organization decided not to pick up the wide receiver's fifth-year option

    To date, Treadwell has managed a meager 56 career receptions for 517 yards and only one touchdown. To place those numbers in context, 57 different targets managed more receptions last season, while 88 had more receiving yards. 

    The Vikings would have to eat this year's $3.16 million salary-cap hit, but Treadwell's potential departure would open opportunities for receivers behind Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. General manager Rick Spielman selected a pair of targets in Oregon's Dillon Mitchell and Colorado State's Olabisi Johnson during the draft's third day. 

New England Patriots: P Ryan Allen

21 of 32

    Chris Cecere/Associated Press

    Bill Belichick always places a heavy emphasis on special teams. 

    The New England Patriots traded up and chose punter Jake Bailey in the fifth round of this year's NFL draft. With Ryan Allen already on the roster, it was a surprising pick. 

    Any time a team drafts a specialist, the incoming player is virtually guaranteed to make the final roster. But other factors suggest Allen could be cut. 

    Allen handled the Patriots' punting duties for the last six seasons and signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract this offseason. Only $100,000 of the deal is guaranteed. Allen didn't finish top 15 overall in any major punting statistic last season. In fact, the 10.3 yards per return he surrendered ranked sixth-worst. 

    Belichick saw a weakness in his roster and addressed it. 

New Orleans Saints: CB Ken Crawley

22 of 32

    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Ken Crawley started 18 games over the last two seasons, including 13 during the 2017 campaign. But he's now caught in the New Orleans Saints' cornerback logjam. 

    Crawley signed his restricted-free-agent tender this offseason at $2.03 million. But his contract isn't guaranteed, which makes his standing with the team tenuous. 

    With Marshon Lattimore, Patrick Robinson and Eli Apple already on the roster, the battle for the Saints' fourth corner comes down to Crawley and P.J. Williams. Unlike Crawley, Williams re-signed this offseason for a fully guaranteed $2.25 million. 

    Also, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson's selection in this year's fourth round will factor into any decision since the versatile safety can play nickel corner. 

    Though it's ideal to have good cornerback depth, the Saints have so much depth that they might deem Crawley expendable. 

New York Giants: CB Janoris Jenkins

23 of 32

    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    Since taking over as general manager, Dave Gettleman has traded or not re-signed Damon Harrison, Jason Pierre-Paul, Olivier Vernon and Landon Collins. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins can't be far behind his former teammates. 

    The Giants listened to offers for Jenkins before last year's trade deadline, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport

    Right now, the coaching staff is quite happy with Jenkins. Defensive coordinator James Bettcher called the 30-year-old corner "unbelievable" in how he's handled the team's young defensive backs, per the New York Daily News' Pat Leonard

    But two factors work against Jenkins' retention. First, his contract holds a $14.75 million salary-cap hit this season, and the Giants can cut him and save $7.75 million. Second, the front office used three draft picks to address cornerback, including Deandre Baker with the 30th overall selection. 

    "Hey, business is business, baby," Jenkins said last season, per the New York Post's Paul Schwartz. "If they let me go, they let me go. If they keep me, they keep me."

New York Jets: LB Darron Lee

24 of 32

    Al Pereira/Getty Images

    The New York Jets are in a bind with 2016 first-round pick Darron Lee. 

    "They would love to trade Lee, but the rest of the league knows the Jets want to move him and are unlikely to make a trade when they expect the Jets could eventually release him," Brian Costello of the New York Post reported. 

    C.J. Mosley will man the middle of the Jets defense after signing a five-year, $85 million free-agent deal. Avery Williamson and Jordan Jenkins are still on the roster as well. Lee is the odd man out, despite his natural speed and athleticism. 

    The Jets didn't bypass Lee's rookie fifth-year option to retain him beyond this season. Interested teams may still consider a trade for the linebacker's services and take on only $1.84 million in base salary. But there's no reason to rush if the Jets plan to release the fourth-year defender at a salary-cap savings of $1.8 million.

Oakland Raiders: S Karl Joseph

25 of 32

    Rob Leiter/Getty Images

    Actions speak louder than words, and the Oakland Raiders presented a perfect example. The organization declined Karl Joseph's rookie fifth-year option last week. 

    "That's a big story for some people," head coach John Gruden said afterward, per the San Francisco Chronicle's Matt Kawahara. "But that does not mean that we don't want Karl with us this year and in the future."

    It kind of does. 

    Gruden's words would have some merit if the Raiders didn't select another safety, Johnathan Abram, with the 27th overall pick in April's draft. But they did. Joseph's skill set is redundant with Abram's, and the franchise already signed Lamarcus Joyner to play free safety at the start of free agency.

    A trade remains a possibility since Joseph holds an affordable cap number at $3.78 million. Or the Raiders could release the safety without worrying about a long-term deal. 

Philadelphia Eagles: OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai

26 of 32

    Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

    The Philadelphia Eagles have done a good job aligning their top contracts with their top producers. Many teams haven't done this, which is why so many recognizable names pop up as potential cap casualties. 

    A key component to the team's Super Bowl LII victory doesn't quite fit anymore, though. Offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai started for an injured Jason Peters during the aforementioned run, but his presence doesn't appear needed. 

    In total, Vaitai started 17 games during his first three seasons. He's a valuable swing tackle. But the Eagles already have Peters and Lane Johnson. Plus, general manager Howie Roseman traded up in this year's first round to select Washington State left tackle Andre Dillard. 

    Teams tend to carry eight linemen on the active roster. The Eagles need only three offensive tackles going into the regular season, and they could save $2 million by cutting Vaitai. 

Pittsburgh Steelers: CB Artie Burns

27 of 32

    Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

    Every defensive back allows catches. The great ones have short memories and don't allow catches to wreck their confidence. 

    Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Artie Burns has a confidence problem. 

    "Artie lost his confidence and wasn't where we needed him to be and was replaced in the starting lineup," general manager Kevin Colbert said during an interview on 93.7 The Fan's The Cook & Joe Show. "He's had a good offseason ... we had good meetings with him. He wants to be back where he was."

    Wanting to do something and getting the chance to do so are two completely different things. 

    Burns is a first-round flop. The Steelers could release the 25th overall pick in the 2016 draft, save $1.8 million against the salary cap and still be settled in the secondary with Joe Haden, Mike Hilton, Steven Nelson and rookie Justin Layne on the roster. 

San Francisco 49ers: OG Joshua Garnett

28 of 32

    Michael Zagaris/Getty Images

    The San Francisco 49ers didn't draft guard Joshua Garnett to play in Kyle Shanahan's system. 

    The 2015 Outland Trophy winner came into the league as a powerful point-of-attack blocker tailor-made for a man-gap scheme after playing for the Stanford Cardinal. Then-head coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke drafted the 312-pound lineman with the 28th overall pick in the 2016 draft. 

    But for the last two seasons, he's been stuck in the Shanahan's zone-heavy scheme. Garnett hasn't started a single game during that time. 

    Instead, the team re-signed Mike Person to a three-year, $8.25 million contract this offseason and declined Garnett's rookie fifth-year option. 

    Garnett requires a change of scenery and the right system to realize his potential. The 49ers, meanwhile, could save $1.7 million by finally moving on from the interior blocker. 

Seattle Seahawks: LB Mychal Kendricks

29 of 32

    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Last year, the Seattle Seahawks provided linebacker Mychal Kendricks with a second chance. 

    The Cleveland Browns cut Kendricks after authorities charged the talented defender with insider trading. Kendricks pled guilty in September, but delayed sentencing allowed the 28-year-old to play the entire season.

    The Seahawks re-signed the linebacker to a one-year, $4.5 million contract in March. However, the front office prepared for life without Kendricks (a definitive sentencing date hasn't been set). 

    The defense's starters—Bobby Wagner, Barkevious Mingo and K.J. Wright—remain intact. Shaquem Griffin is still on the roster as well. General manager John Schneider drafted Cody Barton and Ben Burr-Kirven in the third and fifth rounds, respectively, to provide more depth. 

    None of Kendricks' deal is guaranteed. Seattle needs to save as much money as possible for contract negotiations with Wagner, Jarran Reed and others scheduled to become free agents next offseason. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DT Gerald McCoy

30 of 32

    Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

    Gerald McCoy's standing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers remains undetermined.

    The six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle's status stayed at the forefront for multiple reasons. First, he's not an ideal fit in Todd Bowles' new defensive scheme. Second, the 31-year-old defender is not the same explosive upfield disruptive force he once was. Finally, his base salary is $13 million this season. 

    However, no guaranteed money is left on McCoy's contract. If the Buccaneers can't trade him, they may decide to cut the former face of the franchise at no cost. 

    "It's a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately business," head coach Bruce Arians said of McCoy's status in March, per The Athletic's Greg Auman. "It's hard. It's cold. Yeah, that's it. What are you going to do for me now? Is the price, the productivity the same? We've got to find that out."

Tennessee Titans: TE Delanie Walker

31 of 32

    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    Delanie Walker is uncommon compared to the others on this list because his roster status is more reliant on health and age than pure financial gain. 

    The Tennessee Titans would only save $300,000 in salary-cap space by cutting the three-time Pro Bowl tight end. However, Walker turns 35 years old in August, and he's coming off a broken ankle. 

    How the aging veteran responds to treatment and the type of player he is upon return will determine his worth. 

    "He knows his body better than anybody," head coach Mike Vrabel said, per the Tennessean's Erik Bacharach. "I watched him do that last year as he would prepare for OTAs, and prepare for training camp. Unfortunately, we lost him early on, but I think that he'll do everything he can to work his way through the offseason and find a way to be ready for us when we have to start practicing."

    The Titans could expand upon Jonnu Smith and MyCole Pruitt's roles if the team isn't comfortable with Walker's recovery. 

Washington Redskins: CB Josh Norman

32 of 32

    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    The rumblings of the Washington Redskins' readiness to move on from cornerback Josh Norman started last year. 

    "I hear that Norman hates the front office and would want to leave anyway," a personnel director told CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora at the time. "Something could happen there."

    Financially, the possibility would make far more sense this year since the organization could recoup $8.5 million in salary-cap space by cutting the 31-year-old cornerback. 

    Norman remains a solid cover corner, but he hasn't lived up the status of being a 2015 first-team All-Pro despite Washington giving him the league's most lucrative cornerback contract. 

    Washington isn't bereft of secondary talent beyond Norman. Quinton Dunbar, Fabian Moreau, Greg Stroman, the recently signed Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and rookie Jimmy Moreland should form a solid cornerback rotation with safety Landon Collins taking over as the unit's leader. 


    *All contract and salary-cap numbers courtesy of Spotrac