The NFL season is right around the corner, and while the rosters may seem set in stone at this point, there are still personnel questions that every team is dealing with. It's never a sure thing for almost any player, with the exception of a select few, to make it through the entire season with their original team. For some players, being cut is more of a possibility than others, and they're constantly on the roster bubble. Some of these names are quite notable, having produced very well in seasons past.
Exactly who gets the ax is really up in the air, but it's safe to say that these names are prime candidates to not make it through the year on their current roster. The NFL is. cutthroat league, and most players don't have the ability to just skate by based on the merits of seasons past. Let's take a look at some names who may be on the chopping block sooner rather than later. They'll have to prove that they're worthy of sticking around for the entirety of the 2017 season.
Ranked below are 15 NFL players who won't finish the season on their current team.
15 Brock Osweiler
The fact that Osweiler wasn't immediately named the Browns' starter over a pair of inexperienced quarterbacks shows what that there is little to no plan going forward in terms of his roster spot. This was a salary dump by the Texans, and the Browns were able to get a couple of draft picks, in return for taking on Osweiler's ridiculous contract. They certainly didn't acquire him for his sheer talent over anything else.
While it's likely that Osweiler makes it through training camp, if both DeShone Kizer and Cody Kessler both prove to be somewhat reliable, expect him his expiration date in Cleveland to be fast-approaching. They have the cap room to essentially do whatever they want with him, and there's little reason to keep him on the roster if he's not going to start.
14 C.J. Spiller
The Chiefs are stocked at running back right now, having the services of Spencer Ware, Charcandrick West, and rookie Kareem Hunt on their roster. Where exactly does Spiller fit in? Since his 2012 season in Buffalo that turned out to be a career year, he's been largely anonymous, and the Chiefs are the fourth roster he's been on since 2015. He seems to have lost the spark, and is only holding on for dear life to the back end of any roster he's on at this point.
So it's unlikely that he'll make it through the entire season in Kansas City, and that's just if he makes the final roster at all. Spiller is swirling the drain as a viable NFL player, and he could be cut yet again. Considered one of the best running backs in the game just a few years ago, he's now a fringe player who's over the hill.
13 Eddie Lacy
Struggling with his weight and overall effectiveness out of the backfield for the past few years, Lacy faces an uphill battle in the crowded Seahawks running back corps. At one time he figured to be the lead back for the Packers, but he was relinquished from the starting job after the 2016 season. It's no sure thing he'll beat out Thomas Rawls, C.J. Procise and Alex Collins at all. All the of them have flashed before, and Lacy's stock is low right now.
Given that he's on a cheap deal, you can expect Seattle to have no qualms about moving on from him if he struggles early. Lacy wasn't brought in as a guarantee, despite his previous success in the league, and he'll be cut if he can't live up to expectations. Right now, he isn't doing much to separate himself from the rest of the pack.
12 Alfred Morris
The Cowboys are stocked to the brim with running back depth right now, and Morris has reached the tier of "aging veteran with little upside" at this point in his career. Ezekiel Elliott may be suspended for the first 6 games of the season, but Darren McFadden figures to be the lead runner even with his absence. How much work is Morris going to get, if a significant amount at all? It's clear that he isn't the first priority in the Cowboys' backfield, even with the suspension.
His deal is cheap, and Dallas has a young running back in Rod Smith that they seems to put on the same level as Morris. In short, it wouldn't be a surprise to see them move on. Morris has regressed every single year he's been in the NFL, after his tremendous rookie season in 2012. He seems to be past his prime, and of little value to Dallas and their offense, even in an understudy role.
11 Kendall Wright
One of the plethora of receivers that the Bears brought in to transition Mike Glennon into the starting role, Wright is a huge question mark for this season. It's pretty much an open competition at the position, but he hasn't shown anything to indicate that he's a lock to have a big role in the offense.
A former 1st-round pick by the Titans, Wright has been middling for the vast majority of his career. He's never truly lived up to expectations, and there's no reason why the Bears would consider him to be a high-profile player. He's just another player in camp right now, and if he does make the team, he'll undoubtedly be on a short leash, given his one-year prove-it deal that he signed this offseason.
10 Mychal Kendricks
The Eagles have had an odd relationship with Kendricks for the past several seasons, after initially giving him a contract extension. Now, there are numerous trade speculations, as he doesn't seem to fit in with the current state of the linebacking corps in Philadelphia. In truth, Kendricks never lived up to his contract, and now it wouldn't be surprising to see him shipped off either just before the season starts, or just before the trade deadline.
Playing an all-time low of snaps last season, Kendricks is destined to have another marginal role in 2017 if he stays with the Eagles. He could be useful to a contending team with a different defensive system, but right now he's not being utilized to the extent of his capabilities, making him a prime trade candidate as time rolls on.
9 Dion Lewis
A certified Bill Belichick reclamation project, Lewis was useful for the 2015-16 seasons where he transformed into a pass-catcher out of the backfield. Injuries took their toll on him however, and now with a crowded running back group that includes Mike Gillislie, Rex Burkhead and James White, there's no guarantee that Lewis is a lock to even make it to Week 1 of the regular season.
The injuries have been the primary reason for his stock dropping over the past year or so, and it remains to be seen if he can overcome it. Belichick may opt to just cut ties all together, and give the roster spot to somebody who has a bit more proven durability. It doesn't help that White has essentially the same skill set, and has the aid of playoff experience from last year to his credit.
8 Benjamin Watson
After missing all of last season with an injury, Watson is back with the Ravens trying to make his mark on the 2017 roster. The good news for him is that the team is lacking somewhat at the tight end position. The bad news is that Watson has really fallen off in recent years, and he may not have enough left in the tank to even make it through the whole season.
Most 36-year-old tight ends are on their way out, and Watson will have to prove that he's capable of bucking the trend. Sure, he produced in New Orleans with Drew Brees at quarterback in a defined offensive system, but Baltimore is in a state of flux on that side of the ball. Watson may crack the 53-man-roster by default, but by mid-season better options could emerge.
7 Chris Ivory
The Jaguars made waves by drafting running back Leonard Fournette in the 1st-round of this year's draft, and that leaves a ton of question about Ivory, who was disappointing last year. It was his first season in Jacksonville, and he couldn't replicate the kind of backfield production he showcased with the Jets. With former 2nd-round pick T.J. Yeldon still on the roster, Ivory may not be able to play out his multi-year contract.
Really, it wouldn't be terribly difficult to get out of his contract the way it's structured. With Fournette now in the fold, Ivory's running style may prove redundant, and he won't be getting the kind of playing time that warrants keeping him around.
6 Matt Jones
The running back problems continue, and Washington will have to figure out what to do with Jones, a former 3rd-round pick. He was the lead running back on the roster for large portions of time over the past couple of seasons, but never was able to break out convincingly enough to lock up the starting job. In fact, the Redskins spent a 4th-round pick on Samaje Perine, who could be seeing snaps out of the backfield this season.
Robert Kelley has been more productive than Jones has over the last year, and it wouldn't be surprising to see them cut ties with Jones all together. He just hasn't worked out, and Washington has other intriguing options at their disposal for this season.
5 Trumaine Johnson
One of the most notable contract disputes of the offseason, Johnson ended up signing the franchise tag yet again for the Rams, and will play on it for this season. The trade rumors never cease to let up with him, and it seems that one day Los Angeles is just going to deal him away to be done with the frustration. The trade deadline could see some hefty offers from a contending team if they feel he can get them over the hump.
Johnson has established himself as one of the better cornerbacks in the league, and it won't be cheap to get him. Odds are that someone will at least make the Rams an intriguing offer before the season is over, and knowing that they're unlikely to resign him next year, they'll at least have to listen to it.
4 Matt Forte
Surprisingly, the Jets were willing to hang on to Forte after their roster purge this offseason, which saw them get rid of high-profile names like Nick Mangold, Brandon Marshall and Ryan Fitzpatrick in order to begin their much-needed rebuild. Forte used to be one of the best running backs in the game, but now he's older and has clearly lost the ability to be an every-down back in the league.
That doesn't mean he's useless though, and he could aid in running back depth to a contending team that suffers an injury in the early part of the season. It's unlikely the Jets wouldn't take a draft pick for him, as he clearly won't be a part of the long-term plans. This could be another trade deadline deal in the making.
3 Eric Decker
Speaking of former Jets, Decker was also released this offseason, and promptly signed with the Titans, who have been looking to upgrade their receiving corps for a while now. Decker has been good in the past, but he's not guarantee to be productive in a new system, at the age of 30. Signed to a mere 1-year deal, the least will be short to say the least.
The Titans are a run-first team, and it remains to be seen if Decker can stay away from the injuries that have plagued him for the last few seasons. He'll also have to deal with targets going to the likes of Delanie Walker, Corey Davis, and Rishard Matthews on the Tennessee receiving corps. Not the most ideal situation to walk into as a veteran player. He could be on the trade block by mid-season.
2 Teddy Bridgewater
If the Vikings want to get the most out of Bridgewater at this point, they're going to need to deal him sooner rather than later. The former 1st-round pick suffered a horrible injury that kept him out all of last season, and will likely sideline him for the entirety of the 2017 season as well. Minnesota seems now committed to Sam Bradford as a band-aid on the quarterback position at the very least, and they should be entertaining offers for Bridewater before he's set to become a free agent.
Exactly which team would be willing to give up an asset for a quarterback that may never play effectively again is up in the air, but once desperation sets in someone will likely take the bait. Bridgewater could come back to the league healthy, but even if he doesn't the Vikings should be able to swing some kind of a deal for him.
1 Le'Veon Bell
The Steelers and Bell still haven't been able to work out a long-term deal, and even if he does play the 2017 season on the franchise tag, it's clear that the relationship between the two side is strained, to say the least. Bell, when he is on the field, is one of the best running backs in the league. He's worth a long-term deal for premium money on its face, but the Steelers may not be willing to shell out for him, considering the amount of time he's missed so far in his career.
While it's not a surefire guarantee that he'll be gone from Pittsburgh before season's end, stranger things have happened. These kinds of contract disputes are always difficult to predict an outcome for, and Bell has made it clear that he's willing to hold out, and put the team behind his monetary concerns.
He'll probably play for the Steelers this season, but for how long is anyone's guess.
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