The NFL regular season is less than a month away. Before the Seattle Seahawks host the Green Bay Packers on September 4th, all NFL team must finalize their 53 man rosters. This means that during this next month there will be a number of players who will be looking for new jobs. Because of the pressure in making cuts, teams will also look to acquire players from other teams in order to shore up their positions.
The preseason officially began on August 3rd. This is an important time in the NFL because it allows coaches to evaluate the talent they have on their team. If they see a gaping hole in their roster they will either sign a free agent or attempt to trade for a player to fill the void. By August 26th all teams will be required to have no more than 75 players on their roster. Then teams must declare their final 53-man roster on August 30th. In about one month’s time, we will see teams go from about 90 players to just 53.
There are a number of big name players who are in danger of losing their jobs, or simply being shipped out of town to another team. This list ranks the top ten players who may get cut or traded before the first game of the regular season. They are ranked by how valuable they are based on past performances. Whether the player is more likely to be traded or cut is discussed in each of these cases.
10. Michael Sam — St. Louis Rams
Michael Sam has a lot of people rooting for him to make the St. Louis Rams’ final roster. The standout defensive end from the University of Missouri was selected in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He was originally projected as a third round talent, but prior to the draft he opened up to the world that he is homosexual. If he makes the Rams’ roster he will be the first openly gay player in the NFL. Unfortunately, the odds are stacked against Sam. It is extremely rare for a seventh round pick to actually make an NFL roster. It is even more unlikely when one looks at the Rams’ defensive line. It would be even be hard for a third rounder to find a spot on that defense.
9. Ryan Mallett — New England Patriots
Ryan Mallet has been Tom Brady’s backup for the past three years. Going into his fourth NFL season, Mallett has only completed one pass throughout his entire career. However, teams are always interested in the Patriots’ backup quarterbacks. There have been a number of players who spent time warming Brady’s seat on the bench and later found themselves as the starter for another team. It is very likely the Patriots will either cut him or attempt to trade Mallett. Belichick typically only keeps two quarterbacks on the roster each season. The Patriots drafted Jimmie Garoppolo this offseason to fill that second quarterback spot. It looks like Mallett is the odd man out in this situation.
8. Chris Ogbonnaya — Cleveland Browns
Chris Ogbonnaya was one of the beneficiaries of the biggest in-season trade of 2013. Once the Browns dealt running back Trent Richardson to the Colts, Ogbonnaya was forced to immediately step in and play. He was forced to move from his normal full back position to the half back position, where he would share the load with veteran Willis McGahee. When McGahee went down Ogbonnaya’s role increased even more. He ended up rushing for just 343 yard and two touchdowns, but was averaging an impressive 7.1 yards per carry. This offseason, the Browns brought in running back Ben Tate and drafted Terrance West. Ogbonnaya is currently listed as the team’s fifth half back and also the third full back. Being this far down on the depth chart definitely means his job is in jeopardy. There are just not enough roster spots to keep a guy who will never see playing time.
7. Mark Sanchez — Philadelphia Eagles
Earlier this offseason Mark Sanchez was released by the New York Jets. The Jets handed Sanchez’s starting job to rookie Geno Smith in 2013. Then they signed free agent Michael Vick this offseason. The Jets do not have a need for three quarterbacks on their roster and Sanchez was the easiest choice to do away with. He was then signed by the Philadelphia Eagles to compete for the backup quarterback role. He is currently in a competition with Mark Barkley. Everything about Barkley from the Eagles’ camp has been positive. More than likely the Eagles will keep Barkley because he has more upside than Sanchez and is playing under a cheaper contract.
6. Justin Blackmon — Jacksonville Jaguars
Wide receiver Justin Blackmon was selected fifth overall by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2012 draft. He led all rookies in receiving yards and receptions that season. The expectations for him were very high going into the 2013 season, but he was forced to miss the beginning of the year due to a groin injury. He only played two games after returning from injury before being suspended for the remainer of the season due to violating the league’s substance policy. On July 23, 2014, Blackmon was arrested for possession of marijuana. He is currently waiting to see what Commissioner Roger Goodell will do to him. More than likely, Blackmon will be suspended for the entire 2014 season. If this is the case, the Jaguars will probably be forced to cut him. It almost seems like they were preparing for this before it happened because they spent two second round picks on wide receivers in this year’s draft.
5. Santana Moss — Washington Redskins
Santana Moss may be getting up there in years, but he still has value in the NFL. The Redskins have a few too many wide receivers to keep on their roster this year due to the addition of star wide out DeSean Jackson. It does not make sense for the team to cut Moss, but a trade could be very likely. Other than Jackson and Pierre Garcon, Moss has the most trade value and makes the most money of any of the wide receivers on the roster. There are plenty of teams that would be willing to give up a low draft pick in the future to add some veteran leadership at the position.
4. Michael Roos — Tennessee Titans
Michael Roos was once a top tier tackle in the NFL. He is now 31 years old and is beginning to decline. This season the Titans signed free agent Michael Oher and drafted Taylor Lewan. The addition of these two tackles makes it difficult to keep paying Roos the amount of money he is owed under his contract. Roos is in the final year of his deal, so eventually the Titans will be getting rid of him. Therefore, dropping him does not make much sense. They could definitely trade him and gain a little something. Plus, if they drop Roos they would still owe him his money. There are a number of teams that could use help on the offensive line, so it would not be a hard move to make.
3. Benjarvus Green-Ellis — Cincinnati Bengals
When he was drafted in 2013, everyone knew Giovani Bernard would eventually take over the starting role from Bengals’ running back Benjarvus Green-Ellis. During most of the 2013 season the Bengals used the two backs in tandem. Bernard handled third downs and passing situation, while Green-Ellis was the team’s between-the-tackles and goal-line runner. Bernard flourished while Green-Ellis sputtered out. The veteran running back only averaged 3.4 yards per carry in 2013. The Bengals selected Jeremy Hill in the second round of the 2014 draft. Hill’s running style is very similar to Green-Ellis’s and the team wants to use Bernard and Hill as their main guys. More than likely Green-Ellis will be out of a job unless he shows some amazing things in training camp.
2. C.J. Spiller — Buffalo Bills
C.J. Spiller is the highly talented outside runner for the Buffalo Bills. In 2012, he rushed for 1,244 yards and six touchdowns while adding another 459 receiving yards and 2 touchdown catches. He was limited at the beginning of the 2013 season due to a hamstring injury and when he returned he was not used the same way he was in 2012. The Bills kept running him up the middle. As a result, Spiller did not have a good year. The Bills have recently announced they are trying to trade the running back and keep Fred Jackson as the team’s workhorse. Spiller is still young and is extremely talented. The team should have no problem finding another team to strike up a deal with. Though he is on the trading block, Spiller has expressed that he would prefer to remain in Buffalo.
1. Andre Johnson — Houston Texans
Andre Johnson has been one of the best wide receivers in the NFL for a number of years. Earlier this offseason he declared he wanted out of Houston because the team was going to begin yet another rebuilding period. Johnson is not getting any younger and wants to be a part of a championship team before his career is over. He held out during the beginning of the Texans’ training camp in hopes of pressuring the front office into trading him. The seven-time Pro Bowler finally did show up to camp, but is still hoping a trade could happen. With his level of productivity, the Texans could definitely get a lot for Johnson who is now 33 years old.