The New York Jets have cut starting guard Brian Winters on the eve of training camp.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Winters is not expected to remain unemployed for long, but that the move does come as a surprise.
The timing is a bit odd, but it makes sense on some ways. Winters suffered a dislocated shoulder last year, ending his season after nine games. The team brought in Greg Van Roten, who can likely take his place on the offensive line. Perhaps most importantly, releasing Winters will free up just over $7 million in cap space.
We don’t know if the Jets plan to use that cap space to make another move before the start of the season. One top free agent is apparently interested, which could be worth watching.
NFL superstars tend to receive many rewards, ranging from massive contracts to All-Pro nods and trips to the Pro Bowl. But in order to succeed at the highest level, all 32 teams still need role players and unsung heroes to help them along their journey.
Sometimes those role players receive the recognition they deserve — most often within the fan bases or cities in which they play. But frequently, they are not recognized the way they should be.
Each team has some hidden gems on their roster — here’s a look at one for each team.
Arizona Cardinals – Markus Golden, linebacker
Markus Golden is more overlooked than unknown, but at his current rate of development, he won’t be forgotten much longer. Golden finished the 2016 season with 53 total pressures, 41 run stops and 12.5 sacks. The 41 run stops were good for fourth-most among edge defenders in the NFL. Golden is in line for a Pro Bowl or All-Pro nod in 2017 if he continues at this pace. If that happens, the secret will be out.
Atlanta Falcons – Grady Jarrett, defensive tackle
Grady Jarrett was considered underrated in college and that remained true over his first two seasons with the Falcons. Even despite a strong performance in the Super Bowl, Jarrett hasn’t exactly seen his name in lights. If Atlanta didn’t choke the game away, perhaps that would be different, but for now, Jarrett and his 78.3 Pro Football Focus rating will continue to fly under the radar.