10 notable NFL veterans in danger of being cut
The September 1 roster deadline is looming, and we are a matter of hours from NFL teams having to set their 53-man squads for the season and make some tough roster cuts in the process. Some of the players that will lose their jobs by Saturday are fairly prominent names who could draw a lot of interest once their present employers officially decide to move on.
Here are ten fairly prominent names who could find themselves looking for a new team come 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Robert Griffin III, Ravens
This one is still very much up in the air, but the Ravens would be going against their usual precedent if they keep Griffin. Baltimore has virtually always carried two quarterbacks under John Harbaugh, and the first two spots are unquestionably filled by Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson. Will the Ravens break their rule and keep Griffin as an insurance policy in case Flacco fails and Jackson proves too raw? They might, but it would be out of character, which puts Griffin’s roster spot in real danger.
Ameer Abdullah, Lions
After starting 11 games for the Lions last season, Abdullah may find himself in need of new employment. He simply failed to make much of an impression, racking up only 552 yards rushing and four touchdowns. Only twice did he surpass the 60-yard mark. The Lions have aggressively tried to upgrade this position by adding veteran LeGarrette Blount and drafting rookie Kerryon Johnson. They already have Theo Riddick fairly well entrenched on the roster as well. It’s a numbers game now, and Abdullah is fighting for his roster spot.
Corey Coleman, Bills
After two unremarkable seasons with the Cleveland Browns, Coleman, a former first-round selection, was shipped to Buffalo for a seventh-round pick. His stay there may be even shorter if you believe the rumors. He’s made no notable impact in preseason so far, and local media has suggested that his roster spot isn’t a lock. He will get consideration for learning the offense on the fly, but the Bills do not appear married to him or feel an obligation to carry him on the roster.
Mike Gillislee, Patriots
Gillislee was actually a prized acquisition last offseason when the Patriots picked him up as a restricted free agent. 383 rushing yards later, it’s fair to say he was a disappointment, and he has been on the bubble since May. The Patriots have a variety of options at running back: Rex Burkhead and James White are assured spots, while the team drafted Sony Michel in April. That leaves Gillislee and Jeremy Hill fighting it out for the last roster spot, and the consensus is that Hill has the edge.
Paxton Lynch, Broncos
Lynch’s stock has fallen remarkably since the Broncos traded up to select him in the first round of the 2016 Draft. It’s not as if they were going way off the board in doing so, as many teams wanted him at the time. Lynch simply has not progressed. He’s been given chances to start and has not taken any of them. He’s been passed on the depth chart by fellow developmental option Chad Kelly, who looks set to win a roster spot behind Case Keenum. After that, the Broncos might not see any reason to keep Lynch and cut him in favor of a veteran backup in case anything happens to Keenum. He needs to hope that his excellent showing in the team’s final preseason game changes John Elway’s mind.
Brandon Marshall, Seahawks
The Seahawks are in a very tough spot with Marshall. The 34-year-old is coming off ankle surgery and it was made pretty clear from the start that a roster spot was no guarantee. He’s looked good in practice, though, and there’s a case to be made that he’s one of the five best receivers on the roster. That said, Amara Darboh has more upside, and the Seahawks won’t want to risk losing him. That could cost Marshall his roster spot out of camp.
Jason McCourty, Patriots
The Patriots picked up McCourty in March, and they won’t want to cut him, but they’ve added a lot of young cornerbacks with more upside and ability on special teams than the veteran has. That’s why they’ve tried him out at safety. Will he have done enough in the final preseason game at safety to convince the Pats to keep him? We shall see.
Breshad Perriman, Ravens
The former first-round pick looks like he’s coming to the end of the road in Baltimore. He caught just ten passes last year and seems to be on the verge of being outpaced by younger, more versatile receivers such as Jordan Lasley and Janarion Grant, who has the advantage of being useful on special teams. All indications are that the Ravens see little reason to persist with Perriman, who will go down as a draft pick that simply did not work out.
Byron Maxwell, Seahawks
The Seahawks signed Maxwell back from Miami last season, three years after his previous stint with Seattle. Though he’s only signed for $2 million, he’s presented issues all offseason. He did not attend most of the team’s voluntary workouts, and he hasn’t been available in the preseason due to his hip. Seattle may choose to go with Tre Flowers and Dontae Johnson instead and save a little over a million by cutting Maxwell.
Kony Ealy, Cowboys
Ealy once had back-to-back five-sack seasons with the Carolina Panthers, but his career has stalled since being traded to and released by the New England Patriots after the 2016 season. He wasn’t a major contributor to the New York Jets last season, and the Cowboys picked him up in a low-risk effort to improve their pass rush. He hasn’t played a lot in preseason and has been outperformed in camp by Taco Charlton and rookie Dorance Armstrong. The return of Randy Gregory works against him as well. He’s facing an uphill battle to win a roster spot in Dallas.