Even though no one wants to hear the bad news in the world of football, it's an unfortunately reality that no player, I repeat, no player is 100 percent safe in the offseason. The NFL is indeed a highly competitive league and there are tons of seasoned veterans and/or hyped up free agents who are brought into team locker rooms across the country having to compete with young prospects fresh out of the NFL Draft and/or regular contributors in their prime, which may or may not be a blessing.
That being said, there has been quite a few drastic roster turnovers during the annual offseason, and the NFL continues to prove time and time again that they're a "What have you done for me lately?" type of league. Yeah, it's not fun for a coaching staff to spill out the harsh truth to a player that will likely drag the entire team down if they continue to hold down a roster spot, but there are some things that need to be said and this is easily one of them. And, if any of these players do end up making their team's 53-man roster, it's probably not going to last for a significant amount of time because a team can only accept so much inconsistency before all the reality sinks in and excess weight needs to be trimmed before the upcoming season rolls around.
Now, let's shift our attention to the article's topic of Dead Weight: One Player Every NFL Team Should Release Before The Season Starts.
32 Arizona Cardinals: Robert Nkemdiche
Throughout the years, the Arizona Cardinals have had their fair share of disappointments. There's a possibility that the franchise will consider releasing Robert Nkemdiche (defensive tackle) during the offseason or a preseason game or early in the regular season, considering the fact that the 23-year-old hasn't lived up to expectations yet.
Sure, there's a chance that Nkemdiche will rise to the occasion after the Cardinals gave him the opportunity to be himself, but it'll likely turn out to be a make-or-break season for the former first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Nkemdiche has to run through walls, crush opposing players, and shatter his reputation as a possible draft bust.
Current head coach Steve Wilks reportedly made the message clear with Nkemdiche in a one-on-one meeting.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Wilks said, "I try not to really change the individual, and I think Robert has embraced that because we’ve allowed Robert to be Robert."
“As long as he’s working hard and working toward the common goal of this team, I’m fine, and that’s what he’s been doing.”
31 Atlanta Falcons: Matt Schaub
Yes, Matt Schaub is still in the league.
No, the Atlanta Falcons shouldn't feel like they need to keep Schaub.
The Falcons are deep in depth in the majority of their positions, so there should only be a couple of concerns when it comes to their current roster. Schaub, the former University of Virginia star has pretty much been irrelevant since his Houston Texans days and a change of scenery to his initial town apparently didn't help him.
That being said, Atlanta should move on from the veteran QB and look for a more reliable QB. Schaub wouldn't be effective in running the Falcons' offense. Ryan doesn't have a history of injuries, but it would be nice to see a consistent backup QB on the Falcons' roster, or a QB they could develop behind Ryan.
It's time for the team to let go of the 37-year-old.
30 Baltimore Ravens: Robert Griffin III
Baltimore can be a sleeper team next season, but we can bet that QB Robert Griffin III won't be one of their key factors. Why's that? RG3 hasn't had a stellar season since his phenomenal 2012 campaign when he was nominated as Rookie of the Year. RG3 is often described as a bust even though it wasn't entirely his fault as injuries derailed his once-promising career in his early NFL days along with his college career at Baylor, where he earned the Heisman Trophy and Associated Press College Football Player of the Year award in his senior year in 2011.
Despite the injuries, RG3 has been trying to stay on the Ravens' roster. We doubt that the 28-year-old will get what he wants with Lamar Jackson positioned as the QB of the future.
Jackson will likely surpass RG3 on the depth chart in training camp, which could make RG3's stay in Baltimore a short one.
29 Buffalo Bills: Logan Thomas
The Buffalo Bills made headlines when they drafted Wyoming QB Josh Allen seventh overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. It was a little risky, considering Allen's still raw as a passer, and many wondered how Allen's past tweets would go over with his teammates.
But let's not forget that the Bills took a big risk when they signed TE Logan Thomas, who was a member of the Lions' practice squad at the time, in 2016. Thomas accumulated a significant amount of playing time in 2017 after fellow TE Charles Clay suffered a knee injury, but after that, he sustained a knee jury of his own and underwent knee surgery for the remainder of the spring.
CBS Sports has reported that Thomas was expected to enter the 2018 NFL season as a depth option at the TE position, this injury clearly hindered his development as a TE as he needs to continuously familiarize himself with the position.
28 Carolina Panthers: Matt Kalil
The Carolina Panthers recently concluded their OTAs, and while the pads have yet to be donned by the next Panthers' roster, tons of opinions have already been formulated about the upcoming team.
OT Matt Kahlil may not make the team's roster. Why's that? Kahlil has made excuses on his 2017 struggles, claiming that his 2016 hip surgery was to blame.
In an interview with Panthers.com, Kahlil said, "I was struggling in OTAs because I couldn’t really move that well yet ... My groin was having issues because of the new mobility. Probably midway in camp is when I started feeling [better].”
Kahlil was once on the path to becoming one of the league's next great OTs, but since his 2012 rookie season in Minnesota, his career wasn't really worth getting excited about. The 28-year-old, who will turn 29 on July 6th, has not lived up to his big contract with Carolina and they may want to cut their losses now.
27 Chicago Bears: Aaron Lynch
OL Aaron Lynch was once considered to be a four-star recruit by Rivals.com and was also listed as the No. 3 DE in the nation, but his injury luck affected him in both his previous 49ers days and now his Bears days. Only time will tell, but things haven't been looking up for the 25-year-old.
Lynch missed 12 games due to injuries over his final three seasons in Santa Clara, Calif., and has been sidelined twice for twisting his ankle and injured his hamstring in Chicago so far in the 2018 offseason.
Bears head coach Matt Nagy expects Lynch to recover just in time for training camp, but if the offseason issues show any indication of a player's future, this could hint that Sam Acho and Isaiah Irving will get more opportunities to prove themselves for a spot on the Bears' roster for the 2018 season.
26 Cincinnati Bengals: Cedric Ogbuehi
The Cincinnati Bengals made an excellent choice when they picked up LT Cordy Glenn, but that's bad news for a couple of players who are already on the team's roster.
It's safe to say that OT Cedric Ogbuechi was the bigger loser from the Glenn acquisition.
Yes, Cincinnati has declined the fifth-year option on Ogbuechi's current four-year, $9.32 million contract, which would make the 26-year-old a free agent in 2019. But it's sort of hard to see Ogbuechi remaining on the Bengals' roster until then. Ogbuechi has already failed at both right and left tackles, so it's very possible the Bengals will just cut him in camp.
Ogbuechi has limited amounts of strength and skill sets, which focuses our attention to a particular stigma that has been haunted him since his Texas A&M days. Cincinnati can help Ogbuechi turn things around, but I think that they need to find more natural fits for their offensive line as the 2018 season is creeping upon us.
25 Cleveland Browns: Joe Schobert
Yes, the Cleveland Browns got the Pro Bowler they were looking for in LB Joe Schobert.
The Browns have had at least one player who made the Pro Bowl since 2007. But in this case, where does Schobert go from here? The 24-year-old could accept a potential role as a backup LB or he could ask the coaching staff for a trade.
Yeah, there's a chance that fellow LB Jamie Collins will be on the hot seat. After all, Collins didn't display consistent production for the last one-and-a-half years. But there's extreme competition everywhere in the LB department, but Schobert has some tough competition to face, especially with the signing of free agent LB Mychal Kendricks.
I think that Schobert will be a third-string LB at best, but like the majority of us know, nothing, I repeat nothing, is guaranteed in the Browns' front office. Cleveland has already overhauled most of their roster, and they're in dire need of depth at the moment.
24 Dallas Cowboys: Charles Tapper
There's no such thing as job security in football, and DE Charles Tapper isn't on the Dallas Cowboys' immunity list.
When Tapper was drafted in 2016, fellow DE DeMarcus Lawrence led the Cowboys in sacks with eight.
Dallas was hoping to see some potential in Tapper and they're still waiting for that aha moment.
Tapper has a back condition called a pars defect that was previously undetected since birth. There's a possible chance that Tapper will put some potential on display, but the Cowboys may not have enough room to carry him around so he can see a little more playing time on the field in 2018.
Tapper does have the potential to make some sort of impact as a pass rusher, but as of right now, that scenario seems like too much for Dallas to ask for.
23 Denver Broncos: Max Garcia
Denver Broncos G Max Garcia served as the captain of the Florida Gators before being drafted by the Broncos in the fourth round in the 2015 NFL Draft. The 26-year-old was part of the Broncos' squad that won Super Bowl L, and earned the starting role on the team up until the 2017 season.
Right now, Garcia is ranked eighth worst G in the NFL with 34 pressures allowed and four sacks given up. The 2018 draft and free agency is coming up, and Denver will likely be searching to invest their $1.9 million in cap space in another player or two.
Perhaps Garcia was retained so the Broncos could have some cheap depth, but I don't see Garcia staying on the roster for an extended period of time. Garcia tends to get over-powered in his run blocking game and struggles at pass blocking, so there's one of the many possible reasons why Denver would want to bring in new blood for their new-look offense.
22 Detroit Lions: Cornelius Washington
DE Cornelius Washington was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft and spent three years in the Windy City before suffering a season-ending quadriceps injury and making the decision to sign a two-year, $6 million contract with the Lions.
Washington joined the Lions during the 2017 offseason, but the team still owes him $4 million, so they can save some cash by letting him go in the offseason. The 28-year-old could've done a whole lot more considering the fact that a good amount of the Lions' 2018 roster sustained injuries, but he didn't.
Because of this, Detroit likely sees Washington as an expendable player. Also, fellow DEs Anthony Zettel and Kerry Hydel will probably compete to become the starting DE. This might not allot a roster spot for Washington, which be an expensive option for Lions GM Bob Quinn, but it would allow the team to free up some space at this point in the offseason.
21 Green Bay Packers: Bryan Bulaga
Bulaga may not even be ready for the 2018 season. Bulaga is currently on the physical unable to perform list and will miss at least the first six games of 2018.
Byron Bell looks like insurance for the Packers and possibly more than that. The 29-year-old has started 74 games so far in his career, and he'll likely enter Green Bay's current mix of RTs alongside Kyle Murphy, Jason Spriggs, and Adam Pankey.
There has been chatter about Bulaga not staying with the Green and Gold in 2018, but Packers GM Brian Gutekunst has insisted that the former Iowa Hawkeye will stay put in Green Bay.
Still, there's a chance that the franchise will want nothing to do with Bulaga's bad injury luck in the near future.
20 Houston Texans: Stephen Anderson
Anderson earned his first career start in the Texans' season opener against the Jaguars in 2017. In that start, Anderson caught two passes for 14 yards before leaving the game due to a concussion.
Sure, Anderson concluded his second season with 25 receptions for 342 yards in addition to a touchdown; but the 25-year-old hasn't been able to earn a significant amount of snaps, despite having the tools to help contribute in terms of the passing game.
According to a 2017 article in the Houston Chronicle, Anderson is looking to bounce back following a rough stretch.
Texans head coach Bill O'Brien told the Chron, "He's been a little bit up and down the last couple games ... He's very hard on himself. Really just want him to go out there and kind of just take a deep breath and play. He's a good player. I think he'll play well this week."
There you go. Anderson likely won't see a long-term future in H-Town.
19 Indianapolis Colts: John Simon
Simon played college football at Ohio State University and got drafted in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. The 27-year-old played one year in Baltimore, two years in Houston, and has been in Indianapolis since 2017.
Simon initially played as an OL, but has been moved to DE in his current stint with the Colts. It has been publicly stated that this wasn't the best situation for Simon, who could be on the brink of the roster bubble.
Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star wrote, "The eye test says this isn’t a great situation for Simon. He’s undersized, very generously listed at 6-2 and 260 pounds. Furthermore, he lacks the elite athleticism it takes to beat pass blockers with pure speed"
The Colts added a lot of edge rushers in the offseason and there's simply no room for Simon in 2018.
18 Jacksonville Jaguars: Chris Reed
It's absolutely certain that G Chris Reed has to stand out in the Jags' 2018 OTAs because he could lose his roster spot if he doesn't make a lasting impression.
Reed hasn't had much success in the NFL. The 25-year-old is a backup G at best and let's not forget that the Jaguars have kept him around for a while as an active roster and practice squad member.
Versatility isn't going to be Reed's saving grace as he'll truly have to establish himself as a prominent backup G who can play both the G and C positions in order to avoid yet another practice squad stint when training camp rolls around this summer.
17 Kansas City Chiefs: Frank Zombo
The Kansas City Chiefs have already said goodbye to several of their longtime players such as QB Alex Smith, LBs Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali, CB Marcus Peters, and S Ron Parker.
LB Frank Zombo will be replaced sooner than later. At 31 years old, the former 2010 undrafted pick out of Central Michigan University won't be getting any younger. Plus he has had so many opportunities to step up, but he never really made use out of those opportunities.
Is Zombo really worth keeping around in the final year of his contract? Yeah, he can contribute veteran experience to the Chiefs' defense and special teams, but he has to remember that there are younger players beneath his wing and he could be one of the veterans who will be added to the team's the roster bubble in the upcoming training camp. But, of course, we'll let you decide and write your opinions in the comments section.
16 Los Angeles Chargers: Hayes Pullard
Pullard was a versatile athlete who played football, basketball and track and field in high school. He eventually decided to commit to USC at the urge of his father. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in policy, planning and development in May 2015. He became a seventh round draft pick in the 2015 NFL Draft and then played brief stints for the Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars before being claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Chargers.
Pullard, however, has been awful with the Chargers. He has missed tackles, blown coverage assignments, and struggled to cover ground. Pretty much the only good thing about his current team is that he has a special relationship with Chargers' defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, but LB Jatavis Brown will likely take over in the talent department.
15 Los Angeles Rams: Ramik Wilson
The Los Angeles Rams have had a lot of turnover this offseason. Lots of key contributors from the 2017 NFC West-winning roster have left the team. Of course, some of those contributors were replaced with new players such as WR Brandon Cooks and CBs Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, but not every departure had a correlating arrival in an instant.
Look, there might be a ton of pressure on the Rams, but there are some players like LB Ramik Wilson who will need to step up the most in 2018.
According to the Rams Wire of USA TODAY Sports, Rams head coach Sean McVay has indicated that his team's LB competition is wide-open. Wilson does have games under his belt, but the LB position remains as the Rams' top priority.
14 Miami Dolphins: Leonte Carroo
The Miami Dolphins had such high hopes for WR Leonte Carroo when they traded away several draft picks to draft him in the third round in the 2016 NFL Draft out of Rutgers, but those high hopes turned to major disappointments during Carroo's rookie season.
Carroo has yet to find a role in the Dolphins' offense. The 24-year-old has even admitted that he was just as disappointed in himself as the Dolphins' coaching staff were in his overall performance.
Carroo told the Sun-Sentinel, "Last year, the coaches and my teammates had a lot of expectations for me. I did a poor job fulfilling those expectations.”
Yes, Carroo has taken strides to improve his performance, but he was recently sidelined by injuries and has an even tougher hill to climb as the Dolphins are crowded in the receiving department.
Carroo has the potential, but even if he does return to full health, Miami can still let him go due to the results of the numbers game.
13 Minnesota Vikings: Terence Newman
CB Terence Newman is looking ahead to his 16th season in the NFL. The 39-year-old most recently signed a one-year, $1.10 million contract in April 2018.
Newman is going to turn 40 in the early stages of the 2018 season. With that being said, Minnesota will likely let the two-time Pro Bowler go even though he's one of most likable players on their team.
It's highly likely they'll get rid of Newman before the season kicks off to clear up a spot on their roster for someone who's younger and will make a larger impact on the field. Newman already had himself a career to be proud of.
12 New England Patriots: Kenny Britt
Before WR Kenny Britt joined the New England Patriots in 2017, he previously played for the Cleveland Browns, St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams, and Tennessee Titans. Tennessee drafted him 30th overall in the 2009 NFL Draft.
Britt recorded two catches for 23 yards in three games with the Patriots. The 29-year-old will face plenty of competition for playing time and a spot on the team's roster.
As of right now, Britt will sit out for at least one practice before returning to the field. Moreover, Britt just doesn't seem to be a part of the Patriots' plans at the moment. New England has picked up a couple of new WRs such as Cordarrelle Patterson, Jordan Matthews, and Braxton Berrios. The veteran WR hasn't been usable for quite a while and has had a drop issue his whole career.
So there's a chance that Britt will end up having to look for his sixth team to play for in his career.
11 New Orleans Saints: De'Vante Harris
CB De'Vante Harris could be released by the Saints before the start of training camp. The 24-year-old, who will turn 25 on June 30th, heavily struggled early in 2017 and was pretty much used as a part of New Orleans' special teams units.
Harris' play can be described as inconsistent, which is an understatement. The former Texas A&M player reportedly faced an uphill battle to make the Saints' 53-man roster in the first place, but now, his spot on the roster may be in jeopardy before the 2018 season gets underway. There's just too much talent on the Saints' roster, including rookies from the 2018 NFL Draft such as S Natrell Jameson (fifth round), CB Kamrin Moore (sixth round), and CB Linden Stephens (undrafted).
CB could be the most highly contested position on the Saints' squad in The Big Easy, and it'll probably be a dogfight between the four-plus CBs from the current OTAs to the upcoming training camp.
10 New York Giants: Aldrick Rosas
K Aldrick Rosas went from the lowest level of college football to kicking for the New York Giants. The 23-year-old previously played at Southern Oregon University.
SOU is a member of the NAIA, which is an association of small colleges that aren't regulated by the NCAA. That being said, Rosas didn't believe that he'd make it to the NFL.
"In the NAIA, no one in the locker room is going to the NFL," Rosas told NJ.com. "It was a dream that was so far away."
Despite his inspirational story, Rosas didn't have a great rookie season. The 23-year-old ranked third worst in the NFL in field goal percentage among kickers with 12 or more FG attempts in 2017.
Rosas will get a chance to redeem himself in the Giants' new regime, but he's going to need to improve in several key areas if he wants to make the roster.
9 New York Jets: Devin Smith
According to the Jets Wire of USA TODAY Sports, WR Devin Smith is still a big unknown for Jets head coach Todd Bowles. So it's safe to say that no one, I repeat, no one is exactly sure how a healthy version of Smith is going to pan out in the Garden State.
“That’s what makes him a big unknown,” Bowles told the Jets Wire. "Obviously, he’s had some serious injuries. That’s not his fault, sometimes things like that happen. Until he gets back out on the field, it’s going to be unknown. First and foremost, he has to get healthy, and then we’ll judge him if he can get on the field… He’s doing everything he can to get back so we’ll see.”
Smith missed the entire 2017 season. If the 26-year-old can prove that he's healthy enough, then that would be a pleasant surprise for the Jets, who have allegedly described him as a bust.
8 Oakland Raiders: Johnny Holton
WR Johnny Holton has been a member of the Oakland Raiders' squad since 2016. The 26-year-old was undrafted out of the University of Cincinnati in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Holton played in 15 games during his rookie season in 2016. He recorded two receptions for 34 yards along with 12 tackles.
Jon Gruden has some tough decisions to make for the Raiders. The 54-year-old wasted no time in overhauling the roster as he released several well-known players and chose not to re-sign others.
So yeah, Holton emerged as the fifth WR on the Raiders' depth chart in 2017, but he hasn't had many opportunities to show off his ability to stretch the field. Since there are several rookies with chances to claim the fifth spot at WR, there's a chance that Holton won't pave his way for a spot on the final roster.
7 Philadelphia Eagles: Nathan Gerry
The Philadelphia Eagles' LB situation certainly changed in an instant. Most notably, veteran LB Mychal Kendricks was released by the Eagles after playing six seasons in Philly. Kendricks was a former second round draft pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
After Kendricks' release, the Eagles' defense took another glance at veteran LB Paul Worrilow. However, Worrilow suffered an injury in a no-contact zone red zone drill, and there hasn't been any positive updates on the 28-year-old since then.
LB Corey Nelson told reporters, "All three of us just collided, it happened so fast ... It was something that you can't really try to stop or prevent from happening. His leg ran into my back."
That being said, LB Nathan "Nate" Gerry will likely be on the roster bubble as he seems to be more inconsistent compared to the other LBs on deck.
6 Pittsburgh Steelers: Marcus Tucker
WR Marcus Tucker was undrafted in the 2016 NFL Draft and subsequently signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 25-year-old, who will turn 26 on June 24th, previously played college football at Northern Michigan University.
Going into 2017, Pittsburgh had at least two WR spots up for grabs, but Tucker hasn't had as much playing time as other WRs like, say, Eli Rogers.
Tucker was released during the final cuts in 2016, while Rogers was a meaningful contributor in the Steelers' offensive formation.
Tucker won't be getting opportunities to redeem himself forever. He has to prove that he can contribute towards special teams if he wants a roster spot.
5 San Francisco 49ers: Earl Mitchell
DT Earl Mitchell was originally drafted as a third round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans out of the University of Arizona. The 30-year-old signed a four-year, $16 million contract with the San Francisco 49ers in February 2017.
I'm not denying Mitchell's talent. After all, Mitchell is one of the more established players on the 49ers, but he's also one of the older players in Santa Clara, Calif. The 49ers claimed versatile DT Sheldon Day midway through 2017 just days after using a draft pick to select rookie DT D.J. Jones in the 2017 NFL Draft.
When I've covered the 2017 49ers in person, I've noticed that GM John Lynch and HC Kyle Shanahan prefer the youth as opposed to the elders. Besides, Mitchell hasn't been attending OTA practices as of late. San Francisco could save $2.6 million in cap space by letting him go.
4 Seattle Seahawks: Sebastian Janikowski
If you're a diehard football fan, you'll recognize the Polish-American name of Sebastian Janikowski. The 40-year-old is best known for his lengthy 17-year tenure with the Oakland Raiders as a placekicker—the first PK to be selected in the first round of any draft in the modern NFL era.
Janikowski signed a one-year contract with the Seattle Seahawks in April 2018. However, Seattle's plans of Janikowski serving as their PK for the upcoming season may not happen, and if it does, the former Florida State University star may not reach his full potential.
Janikowski suffered a hip injury in May 2018. He'll have to outsmart fellow PK Jason Myers to secure a roster spot that will likely happen in a competition during training camp, but his chances don't look very high at the moment.
3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Channing Ward
DT Channing Ward signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after going undrafted in the 2016 NFL Draft. Ward initially made the Bucs' 53-man roster and then played in five games with one start in a nine-week span and recorded five tackles before being released in November 2016. Ward went up and down as he was re-signed to the Bucs' practice squad the following day and was later promoted to the 53 in December 2016.
It's pretty simple. Ward just doesn't fit into the Bucs' equation right now. There's no room in the DT position unless if a significant injury affects the veterans and/or rookies.
2 Tennessee Titans: Josh Carraway
OLB Josh Carraway was a seventh round pick by the Tennessee Titans in the 2017 NFL Draft out of TCU.
The Titans selected Carraway because they wanted to add some depth to their OLB position, but the 24-year-old saw minimal special teams action in the 2017 season.
I don't know if he'll have the biggest breakout season in 2018, but I can tell you that he'll likely be on the edge of the roster bubble due to the fact the Titans return 89.5% of their snaps among edge rushers from 2016. The edge rusher group is fairly competitive and it doesn't seem like Carraway is going to stick around for long.
1 Washington Redskins: Tyler Catalina
G Tyler Catalina played college football at the University of Georgia and then signed with the Washington Redskins after being undrafted in the 2017 NFL Draft.
According to DawgNation.com, Catalina wishes that he had another year to give Georgia. The 25-year-old played just one season at Georgia after playing three years at the University of Rhode Island from 2013 to 2015.
I predict that Catalina will be on the roster bubble. The former Georgia player suffered an undisclosed injury in the first day of OTAs this offseason.
While there's a chance that Catalina will return, the Redskins have already ruled out G Arie Kouandijo for the rest of the season following surgery on a torn quad muscle and then signed UFA Isaiah Williams in the process. Catalina hasn't had a chance to display his worth yet.