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It happens every year. When roster trimming rolls around and teams have to cut down to 75 and eventually 53 players, there's always a few unexpected veterans who find themselves to be cap casualties.
Now, let's get one thing straight: I'm not saying everyone mentioned in this article will be cut. I'm saying that these are my predictions for the most likely moves for each team that may surprise both players and fans.
With that being said, let's get to work:
Bobby Carpenter, ILB
Jerry Jones has to be running out of patience with this guy. Bobby Carpenter was a great player at Ohio State, but has never really reached his potential in the NFL. He might have had a chance to do that this year, but instead Dallas went out and signed Zach Thomas to man the middle next to the impressive Bradie James. Carpenter may just be stuck in a bad situation, as he is more suited to play outside in a 4-3 rather than inside in a 3-4, but the fact remains that he hasn't produced for the Cowboys, and he'll be shown the door rather soon.
New York Giants:
Sam Madison, CB
Sam Madison can still play, there's no doubt about that. But the question remains what level of talent can he really provide? He was benched in favor of Aaron Ross and Corey Webster during the Super Bowl, and now after bringing in Terrell Thomas via the draft, I think Madison has officially had his ticket out of New York punched. He may still catch on as a nickel back somewhere, or he may retire. Either way, he has enjoyed a nice career, and now that he has a championship ring, what else is there left for him to do?
Correll Buckhalter, RB
Correll Buckhalter is just a headache in a football uniform. Coming into the league, he was an extremely promising prospect and was destined to form a great running tandem with Duce Staley. Remember that? Well it's the only fond memory Eagles fans have of Buckhalter. He's missed three full seasons and a total of 52 games over his 7-year career. With Tony Hunt being drafted in 2007 and now with the trade that brought in Lorenzo Booker, the Buckhalter nightmare can finally come to an end.
Antwaan Randle El, WR
Can you believe the Redskins invested $31 million in this guy over seven years? Well, given that it's the Washington Redskins, I bet you probably can. But that turned out to be a poor investment. After scoring all of a single touchdown last year, Randle El simply doesn't deserve his current deal, scheduled to pay him a $1.5 million roster bonus this season. The Skins drafted Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas this year to complement the small and lightning-quick Santana Moss, and now it appears the only way Randle El could still make the roster is as a No. 4 guy and return specialist. Unfortunately for him, Devin Thomas happens to be an astounding return specialist who averaged 29.1 yards per return on kickoffs last season. Look for Randle El to either be cut or have his contract re-structured.
Adam Archuleta, SS
The Bears beat me to the punch by cutting Adam Archuleta on Tuesday. Party poopers. For the record, he was going to be my pick. Oh well.
Stanley Wilson, CB
It's tough to call any cut a "shocker" cut, but this is as good as it's going to get. Stanley Wilson played in 10 games last year, mostly as a nickel back, but he becomes the odd man out this year. With the additions of both Leigh Bodden and Brian Kelly, Wilson will have to compete for a nickel role. With Kelly's experience and familiarity with head coach Rod Marinelli, he gets the nod over Wilson and that means Wilson could be on the way out.
Green Bay Packers:
Brady Poppinga, OLB
In my honest opinion, Brady Poppinga is little more than a backup and will most likely lose out to Brandon Chillar for a starting strongside linebacker position this year. And if he doesn't start, there's no reason to keep Poppinga on the roster as a backup with promising young players like Abdul Hodge and Desmond Bishop already on the team.
Jimmy Kleinsasser, TE
Jim Kleinsasser has enjoyed a nice career with the Vikings, but it is time for that to come to an end. Last season Kleinsasser logged only four catches. He's never been a real receiving threat, but with Garrett Mills already on the roster and Braden Jones coming in as a rookie, it seems like the Vikings are leaning toward using the tight end more in the passing game, something they've lacked since Jermaine Wiggins was on the squad.
Joe Horn, WR
Joe Horn has been a great receiver over his career, but not so much in Atlanta. The Falcons really have a history for destroying the careers of veteran receivers (i.e. Peerless Price), and Horn really hasn't been an exception. With Roddy White finally emerging as the team's No. 1 receiver last year, gaining 1,202 yards and six touchdowns, and the drafting of former Louisville receiver Harry Douglas, Horn seems expendable.
Na'il Diggs, OLB
Na'il Diggs came over from Green Bay after the 2005 season, and thus far has yet to reward the Panthers for their investment. He's recorded a total of 119 tackles the past two seasons. The Panthers also have promising youngster Thomas Davis, and newly acquired Landon Johnson and Dan Connor on the roster. Johnson amassed 109 tackles last year alone, and 112 the year before that. Connor broke many school records at Penn State, including career tackles with 419. Connor may start at middle linebacker, moving Jon Beason to the weakside position. Diggs should be on his way out as the Panthers usher in a new era of young linebackers, anchored by the unbelievably solid Beason, who logged 140 tackles his rookie year, and finished second only to super-phenom Patrick Willis in Defensive Rookie of the Year voting.
New Orleans Saints:
Hollis Thomas, DT
Hollis Thomas, in his prime, was a dominant defensive tackle. But the Saints are undergoing a youth movement at that position and there is no room left for him. Last year Thomas lost his starting job to Kendrick Clancy, and with the arrivals of DeMario Pressley and Sedrick Ellis through the draft, Thomas may very well get pushed to a No. 4 or 5 option on the Saints line. If he doesn't retire before the start of the regular season, I think it's only inevitable that he gets the ax.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
Chris Simms, QB
Jon Gruden cuts a quarterback?!?! No way!! Well, in this scenario, yes he does. Chris Simms is not happy in Tampa and he has made that very clear. With several trades falling through for Simms, along with the plethora of quarterbacks already on the roster, don't be surprised to see Simms get the ax before the season starts.
J.J. Arrington, RB
J.J. Arrington has never panned out in the NFL. After amassing a very impressive 2,018 yards and 15 touchdowns his senior year at Cal, he convinced many people ? including yours truly ? that he was solid pro material. Not so much. In his three NFL seasons, Arrington has managed 467 yards and a grand total of two touchdowns. His career yards-per-carry average is a depressing 3.1. Arrington has played in all but one game during his career, and had a chance to win out the starting job his rookie year, as well as challenge Edgerrin James for carries after his sub-par debut with the Cardinals. He failed. There's no reason for the cardinals to keep him around. With Marcel Shipp and rookie Tim Hightower on board, it's only a matter of time before Arrington is sent packing.
San Francisco 49ers:
Ashley Lelie, WR
This one's easy. In 15 games last season, Ashley Lelie has 10 receptions. With two new receivers on the roster, Lelie will likely get the boot in August.
Brian Russell, FS
Brian Russell started for the Seahawks last year, but may not even be on the roster this year. Why? Simple: the emergence of Jordan Babineaux. Babineaux went undrafted in 2004 but has since showed the Seahawks that they made a terrific decision in signing him. Playing at both corner and safety, Babineaux is a stud just waiting in the wings (no pun intended) for the Seahawks to give him a chance. He will impress in training camp, and ultimately beat out Russell to start opposite Deon Grant. Russell should be headed to his third team in as many years.
St. Louis Rams:
Leonard Little, DE
Leonard Little has been a cornerstone of the Rams' defense for a decade, but his best days are now behind him, and if he doesn't bow out, I think he's going to be handed his walking papers. Little played in just seven games last year, his fewest ever since playing in only six during his second season in 1999. It's still unknown if the Rams plan to play a 3-4 or a 4-3 this upcoming season, but either way I don't think Little fits into their new plans. With the addition of Chris Long, they have found a successor who could probably come in and give them an upgrade right away.
Given the Bills' current roster, it's tough to really call any cut a "shocker" cut, but this is about as close as it gets. Ashton Youboty was considered by many Bills fans to be a third-round steal in the 2006 Draft. Well, now it's becoming apparent why he slipped to the third. He has talent, there's no denying that, but his lack of work ethic is really concerning. He came into the league as a scraggly guy needing to put on some weight. This year, he is a scraggly guy needing to put on some weight. See what I'm getting at? He hasn't made an effort to get bigger, and he hasn't been able to even crack the nickel spot over guys like Kiwaukee Thomas and Jabari Greer. Something is wrong there. Youboty's days as a Bill are numbered. Mark my words.
Vonnie Holliday, DE
The Dolphins plan to use a 3-4 this year, with Jason Ferguson manning the middle and Matt Roth as one of the ends. The other end spot is where the competition heats up. Vonnie Holliday will have to fight off newly acquired Randy Starks for a starting spot. I don't see it happening. Holliday loses his starting job, and ultimately his job altogether.
New England Patriots:
Tedy Bruschi, ILB
WHAT?!?! How could the Pats ever cut Tedy Bruschi? Let me explain. New England brought in Jerod Mayo in the first round of this year's draft to play one of the inside linebacker positions. They also brought in Victor Hobson of the Jets, who could play either inside linebacker position. Bo Ruud was also picked up in the draft as depth at either inside linebacker position. I honestly think Bruschi will have a tough time winning out a starting job this year. Bruschi has been a pure Patriot his entire career, and I think if he's told he won't start for New England, he may just call it quits.
New York Jets:
David Barrett, CB
After opening the year as a starter for New York last season, David Barrett quickly saw himself benched in favor of Hank Poteat, Darrelle Revis, and Justin Miller. The Jets drafted Dwight Lowery in April, so Barrett is now buried on the depth chart. There's simply no reason to keep him around anymore. He's gone.
Samari Rolle, CB
Samari Rolle's prime has come and gone, and left him in the dust. Besides playing in only six games last year, Rolle has only been selected to one Pro Bowl in his career - and it was 7 years ago. The Ravens traded for the young, quick Fabian Washington, who reminds me an awful lot of a young Rolle. I think Washington starts, and Rolle finds himself on the way out of Baltimore, and perhaps on the way to retirement...
Chris Perry, RB
It's time to end this disastrous experiment. Chris Perry was a waste of the No. 26 pick in the 2004 Draft, and hasn't played a full season in his career. With Rudi Johnson, Kenny Watson, Kenny Irons, and possibly Shaun Alexander on the roster, there's just no room for an injury-riddled cap waster like Perry anymore.
Joe Jurevicius, WR
I've been preaching and preaching and preaching that I think this guy will be cut. With the addition of Paul Hubbard, I just can't see him sticking around. He's a class act, and a guy whom fans will cheer when he returns to play in Cleveland, but he is simply not needed. His $10 million over four years is too much for a No. 4 receiver, and once he gets beat out by Hubbard in training camp, that's exactly what he'll be. Don't worry though J.J. fans, he'll show up somewhere. After all, he's Joe Jurevicius!
Sean Mahan, G/C
With the signing of Justin Hartwig, it's clear the Steelers weren't happy with Sean Mahan at center. It's possible that he may shift to guard, but with Willie Colon also moving to guard, Mahan will have some stiff competition to start opposite Kendall Simmons. His versatility is the only chance he has at sticking around, but I wouldn't bet on it.
Ahman Green, RB
Ahman Green was brought in last year to save a dreadful Texans ground game. He played in six games, and had 260 yards to go with his two touchdowns. The Texans signed Chris Brown and drafted Steve Slaton this offseason, and the last time they tried a three-headed monster rushing attack (Ron Dayne, Wali Lundy, Samkon Gado) it didn't work so well. Granted, Green is better than any of those three, but the fact still remains he is a health risk, and why have two injury-riddled backs on the team? Chris Brown is younger and, in my opinion, a better runner than Green right now. Paired up with Slaton, he won't have to shoulder a huge workload, reducing the chance of injury. Both Green and Brown are at risk, and since Brown is the newer addition, it makes me wonder if the Texans are preparing for life without Green.
Kenton Keith, RB
With the drafting of Mike Hart and now the re-addition of Dominic Rhodes, Kenton Keith is far too expendable. During his recent arrest, he bragged to police that he was an Indianapolis Colt. Not for long, Kenton...
Matt Jones, WR
With the additions of Jerry Porter and Troy Williamson, the Jaguars have a choice to make. In my opinion, it's between Reggie Williams and Matt Jones. Since Williams is younger, I think he gets the nod to stay on the roster, and Jones gets sent packing. Porter will start opposite Williams, with Dennis Northcutt in the slot and Williamson as the No. 4.
Reynaldo Hill, CB
Reynaldo Hill was once a promising prospect coming out of Florida, but has never fulfilled that expectation. After being beat out by both Cortland Finnegan and Nick Harper for starting spots last year, Hill is expected to be pushed by the newly acquired Chris Carr for the nickel spot. I just don't see the Titans keeping him around as a No. 4 corner with guys like Eric King and Marquice Cole on the roster for those spots.
Daniel Graham, TE
Daniel Graham really disappointed me last year. He had 246 yards and only two touchdowns. Not good numbers for him. He was out-produced my Tony Scheffler, who racked up 549 yards and five touchdowns. Now, I don't want to hear Broncos fans whining about how "Graham gives us flexibility in the two-tight end sets." That's great, but Graham became one of the highest paid tight ends in the NFL last year. And he got two touchdowns. I cannot reiterate this stat enough. He was paid more than Antonio Gates, Jeremy Shockey, Kellen Winslow, and he got all of two touchdowns. And to top it off, he was arrested in January. His $6 million per year salary needs to be run out of Denver.
Kansas City Chiefs:
Greg Wesley, SS
Greg Wesley has been asking to either be released or traded for quite some time, but the Chiefs have stood their ground. Not anymore. With the addition of DaJuan Morgan through the draft, Wesley must know he is finally going to get his wish. Bernard Pollard is cemented as their starter at strong safety, and Morgan is going to come in and start at free safety this upcoming year. Herm Edwards has stated that he expects 75 percent of his starters to be first or second year players, and that's clearly not Wesley.
Stuart Schweigert, FS
After opening the 2007 season as the starting free safety for the Raiders, Stuart Schweigert was later benched for Hiram Eugene. Who? Exactly. Now, with the addition of Gibril Wilson, Schweigert has no chance at redemption this upcoming season. Wilson will man the strong safety spot, which will allow Michael Huff to move back to his natural free safety spot.
San Diego Chargers:
Eric Parker, WR
After missing the entire 2007 season, it's quite possible that Eric Parker's career as a Charger is over. With the addition of Chris Chambers, the emergence of third-year receiver Vincent Jackson and the drafting of Craig Davis, there's just no room left for Parker. His injury problems cause him to even lose out on the No. 4 spot to Malcolm Floyd.
Greg's 2009 NFL Mock Draft
Walt's 2009 NFL Mock Draft
2009 NFL Mock Draft Database
2009 NFL Draft Prospects
2008 NFL Draft Grades