This page is for NFL projected final cuts after the preseason this summer. Keep in mind that these are prominent players only; I won’t be listing practice-fodder scrubs.
I’ll be covering potential AFC cuts on this page. Walter has written about NFC Projected Final Cuts on this page.
By Charlie Campbell – @draftcampbell
Follow @walterfootball for updates.
CB Ladarius Webb
OT Jah Reid
Summary: Baltimore signed Kyle Arrington this offseason, and he’s a similar corner to Webb. The Ravens might be able to save money by going with the newer contract in Arrington and keeping one of their young cornerbacks if one outplays Webb, who has had injury issues in recent years. Baltimore has a lot of young corners – some with starting experience – vying for playing time.
The veteran Reid is a backup to Eugene Monroe and Ricky Wagner, but the Ravens have a lot of young tackles vying to make the team, so Baltimore could go with a younger, cheaper alternative who has more long-term potential instead of Reid.
RB Bryce Brown
RB Fred Jackson
Summary: The Bills traded for LeSean McCoy and drafted Karlos Williams. That could leave one roster spot for the 34-year old Jackson and the veteran Brown. Cutting a popular veteran like Jackson would be painful, but it happens every year in the NFL.
CB Adam Jones
CB Leon Hall
DE Wallace Gilberry
DE Margus Hunt
DT Domata Peko
ILB A.J. Hawk
ILB Rey Maualuga
LB Sean Porter
OT Eric Winston
Summary: The Bengals have recent first-round picks invested in cornerbacks Dre Kirkpatrick and Darqueze Dennard. Cincinnati also just drafted Josh Shaw, so either veteran could prove to be too expensive to keep if they are going to be backups as a fourth or fifth corner.
Along the defensive line, the Bengals will have fierce battle at defensive end with Michael Johnson rejoining the team. Carlos Dunlap is set, while Will Clarke is a cheap second-year player. Hunt and Gilberry disappointed last year though, so the time is now for them. The team also has a log-jam at tackle that could force out Peko. Devon Still, Brandon Thompson, Pat Sims and rookie Marcus Hardison could make the 10-year veteran Peko expendable.
At linebacker, Cincinnati has a lot of competition. Vontaze Burfict is entrenched with some other young linebackers the organization likes, including third-rounder P.J. Dawson. Hawk and Maualuga are basically the same player at this point, and the team may not decide to keep both.
The Bengals have starting tackles in Andrew Whitworth and Andre Smith, while using their first- and second-round picks on two more tackles. Winston looks like a long-shot to stick in Cincinnati.
DT Phil Taylor
Summary: The former first-rounder Taylor was already essentially replaced by Danny Shelton. The Browns also drafted another tackle while signing Randy Starks. Taylor could be expendable.
NT Marvin Austin
Summary: Austin is battling two rookies for a backup job behind Sylvester Williams. Denver could easily go with the cheaper players with upside over the disappointing Austin.
ILB Brian Cushing
WR Nate Washington
WR Cecil Shorts
Summary: Cushing probably would have been a cap casualty this offseason if it weren’t for a huge hit of dead money. Perhaps the Texans will be in position to move things around, push the hit later or spread it out at the end of training camp. Nate Washington and Cecil Shorts were signed this offseason, but Houston also has a lot of young receivers who could beat them for roster spots or playing time, including Jaelen Strong, Keith Mumphrey, Chandler Worthy and Keshawn Martin. The team could probably get out of the veterans contracts if they’re cut before the season.
C Khaled Holmes
RB Vick Ballard
Summary: Holmes has been disappointing on the field and hasn’t locked down the center spot. He is in a fight for the job and could be cut if he doesn’t win it. Ballard played well before injuries struck, but now the Colts have other veterans and youngsters ahead of him like Frank Gore, Dan Herron and Josh Robinson. Ballard could be the odd man out.
DT Tyson Alualu
DT Ziggy Hood
DE/OLB Chris Clemons
Summary: The Jaguars have the likes of SenDerrick Marks, Jared Odrick and Roy Miller as their favored players on the inside. That could lead to Alualu or Ziggy Hood being the odd man out. Clemons is 33 and having a rough season according to sources. It sounds like the aging Clemson could be deemed expendable.
Kansas City Chiefs
OT/G Jeff Allen
Summary: Allen had a shot to lock down a job on the Chiefs’ weak offensive line but has been unable to. After trading for Ben Grubbs and drafting Mitch Morse, Allen could miss the final cut.
RB LaMichael James
RB Mike Gillislee
QB Josh Freeman
CB Brice McCain
Summary: James or Gillislee are probably competing for one roster spot. Sources say that off-the-field problems continue to plague Freeman and that Miami is not a good city for him to straighten out in, so he may not be worth keeping as the third signal-caller behind Ryan Tannehill and Matt Moore. McCain has been a liability in coverage in recent years, so he could easily get cut.
New England Patriots
DE Jabaal Sheard
DE Jake Bequette
S Patrick Chung
S Duron Harmon
S Tavon Wilson
Summary: Most teams keep four defensive ends, and Rob Ninkovich, Dominique Easley and Chandler Jones are locks for the roster. That leaves one spot for Sheard or Bequette. The safety position is similar. Devin McCourty’s ability to move around helps the Patriots, but they drafted Jordan Richards on the second day, and it looks like at least one of New England’s safeties could get cut.
New York Jets
LB Erin Henderson
LB Joe Mays
RB Bilal Powell
Summary: The Jets are set with their starting linebackers and have some young cheap players with upside. That could lead to Henderson or Pace getting cut. The Jets signed Stevan Ridley and traded for Zac Stacy. Those moves could bump Powell off the roster.
OT Austin Howard
Summary: Sources said that Howard didn’t play well last year. If 2013 second-round pick Menelik Watson can finally stay healthy, he could make Howard expendable.
LB Sean Spence
S Mike Mitchell
S Will Allen
QB Bruce Gradkowkski
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey
Summary: Spence hasn’t done anything since being drafted out of Miami, and he won’t play over Lawrence Timmons or Ryan Shazier. Pittsburgh has other inexpensive veterans who offer more experience as backups. Mike Mitchell was a disappointment in his first year with the Steelers after getting some money in free agency from Pittsburgh. After drafting and signing some young players, the organization could cut him or Will Allen.
Bruce Gradkowski is fighting Tajh Boyd, among other young quarterbacks, for a roster spot, but Gradkowski is 32 and offers zero upside. At receiver, the Steelers are pretty loaded, yet they still took one in the third round with Sammie Coates. Heyward-Bey could have a hard time sticking around instead of younger talent.
G Andy Levitre
OT Byron Bell
OT Jamon Meredith
WR Hakeem Nicks
WR Justin Hunter
Summary: Levitre hasn’t lived up to his big contract and could get cut if he doesn’t turn things around in the preseason. The Titans signed Bell and Meredith to compete as a replacement for the lazy Michael Oher. Tennessee also drafted Jeremiah Poutasi to play right tackle. Either Bell or Meredith will probably get cut with the other being the swing tackle backup.
The Titans have a log-jam at receiver. Kendall Wright is set, and Harry Douglas was just signed. Dorial Green-Beckham was drafted in the second round, and the team likes fellow rookie Tre McBride a lot. That could mean that Nicks or Hunter is the odd man out.
San Diego Chargers
CB Patrick Robinson
ILB Donald Butler
RB Donald Brown
RB Branden Oliver
Summary: Robinson was a bust for the Saints, and the Chargers have three cornerback spots taken with Brandon Flowers, Jason Verrett and rookie Craig Mager. That leaves two spots for Robinson to make a case for, but the team has a crowded group of young corners. Butler had a Denzel Perryman drafted to play his position, so the writing is on the wall there. Perhaps Butler can hold off Perryman for a year.
At running back, Melvin Gordon and Danny Woodhead are locks. That leaves one spot for Brown or Oliver.
Walt has written about NFC Projected Final Cuts on this page.
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