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#pounditSaturday, August 8, 2020

5 NFL players whose jobs are in jeopardy

Yannick Ngakoue

Every year, a new crop of NFL talent is ushered in, which means an old crop of talent gets replaced. Even though this offseason has been much different from others, the same will be the case this year.

So which NFL players are facing a decreased role, a trade or even potential retirement? Here’s a look at five players whose jobs are in jeopardy.

5. Kerryon Johnson, RB, Detroit Lions

Things were already looking bleak for Kerryon Johnson in Detroit after Bo Scarborough essentially took his starting job following a knee injury last season, which was evident by the shared carries upon Johnson’s return. However, the situation facing Johnson now seems even more dire after the Lions selected D’Andre Swift in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Head coach Matt Patricia has maintained that the two will enter training camp in a battle for the starting spot, but with so much invested in the younger and more athletic Swift, who has modeled his game after Lions legend Barry Sanders, it would be a surprise to see Johnson hang onto the starting role. Instead, he’s more likely to become part of a rotation designed to spell Swift.

4. Denzel Perryman, LB, Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers were in desperate need of depth at the linebacker position, so it comes as little surprise they addressed that situation in the 2020 NFL Draft. However, they didn’t wait until the later rounds to add bodies, instead trading up 14 spots in Round 1 to select Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray. The decision to part ways with additional assets likely means Los Angeles projects Murray as their starter, meaning Denzel Perryman, who has started 45 games over the past five seasons, will be relegated to the backup role. Even beyond that, the Chargers may very well put Perryman on the trading block, although interest is likely to be limited given his injury history (he has never appeared in a full 16 games over the course of his NFL career).

3. Nate Solder, LT, New York Giants

After paying a $3 million roster bonus in March, it’s clear now that the Giants do not intend to part ways with Nate Solder this season. However, after two sub-par years, the organization no longer trusts him at left tackle, which is why they went out and selected Georgia’s Andrew Thomas with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. To this point, general manager Dave Gettleman and head coach Joe Judge have been reluctant to name Thomas the starting left tackle. They claim it’s an open competition, but there is zero percent chance the team drafted Thomas with the intent on moving him from his natural position to right tackle. Rather, that now seems like the scenario facing Solder, who will have to then beat out Cam Fleming, rookie Matt Peart, and Nick Gates for the starting job.

2. Michael Gallup, WR, Dallas Cowboys

Amari Cooper signed a five-year, $100 million deal this offseason, and then the Cowboys went out and scooped up CeeDee Lamb with the 17th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Both of those things are bad news for Michael Gallup, who started 12 of the 14 games he played in a season ago, finishing with over 1,000 yards. Although Gallup won’t be played off the roster, he will likely be demoted to WR3 at the very least. However, Gallup and Lamb have contrasting styles, which will help Gallup in terms of the value he brings to the offense. Still, he’s going to lose targets to Lamb. There’s not a single wide receiver in the NFL who would be okay with that.

1. Yannick Ngakoue, EDGE, Jacksonville Jaguars

One could make the argument that Ngakoue shouldn’t belong on this list given that his relationship with the Jaguars has deteriorated to irreparable levels. It’s clear he desires to be traded, and Jacksonville may eventually cave and grant him his wish. However, in the event that does not occur and Ngakoue actually reports to the team, he now has serious competition at his position. The Jaguars selected LSU edge rusher K‚ÄôLavon Chaisson in Round 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft with the obvious intent to give him Ngakoue’s job. The end is near for Ngakoue in Jacksonville, one way or another.

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