13 NFL veterans who could possibly be on bubble as cutdown to 53-man rosters for 2021 looms


Subsequent week will probably be one of many busiest on the NFL calendar, all 32 groups required to finalize their (preliminary) 53-man rosters by 4 p.m. ET Tuesday. Golf equipment are licensed to hold 80 gamers heading into the ultimate weekend of preseason, however which means greater than 1,000 – all rosters have already been trimmed by not less than 10 gamers over the course of August – will probably be accessible as groups inventory their follow squads and proceed to tweak depth charts as soon as the Aug. 31 deadline passes.

Invariably, a number of outstanding veterans will shake free, sometimes shedding their jobs to youthful and/or cheaper expertise. Listed here are just a few who could possibly be on the bubble within the coming days and probably searching for new employment thereafter:

Eagles WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside

A second-round decide in 2019 – taken 57th general, seven spots forward of Seattle’s DK Metcalf – Arcega-Whiteside has 14 profession receptions for a Philadelphia crew that is been determined for manufacturing on the place in current seasons. However, he is most likely no higher than fifth on the depth chart at this level and would not supply any worth on particular groups.

Washington Football Team running back Peyton Barber (25) carries the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second quarter at FedEx Field.

Washington Soccer Crew working again Peyton Barber (25) carries the ball in opposition to the Cincinnati Bengals in the course of the second quarter at FedEx Subject.

Helpful as a goal-line choice, he is in any other case pretty restricted given his 3.5 yards-per-carry profession common and lack of ability to supply a lot on passing downs. Arduous to consider undrafted rookie Jaret Patterson, who’s flashed as a rusher and receiver, will not stick behind Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic … which places Barber in a precarious place.

The Bolts’ major place-kicking specialist since 2018, his field-goal accuracy has steadily degraded yearly, bottoming out at 72.7% final season. Badgley should fend off Tristan Vizcaino to maintain his job.

Steelers P Jordan Berry

Pittsburgh’s punter since 2015, the Australian appears unlikely to outlive the problem of rookie Pressley Harvin III, final yr’s Ray Man Award winner as faculty soccer’s high punter. And when a crew invests a draft decide (even a seventh-rounder) at this place, the writing is normally on the wall for the incumbent … and Harvin has been spectacular throughout preseason.

Jaguars DL Taven Bryan

A primary-round decide in 2018, he is had negligible influence for Jacksonville – 3½ sacks, 11 tackles for loss, 17 quarterback hits in his profession – and the Jags have already declined his fifth-year choice. The membership’s new regime additionally has no funding in a participant who’s by no means performed in as many as 50% of the defensive snaps in a season.

Steelers LS Kameron Canaday

Certainly you knew he’d been Pittsburgh’s deep snapper since 2017? Effectively, he might not be in 2021, transformed former Duquesne LB Christian Kuntz, 27, making an attempt to stay on an NFL roster for the primary time by displacing Canaday. And, sure, going with Kuntz would save Pittsburgh (just a bit) cash on the cap. Coach Mike Tomlin even acknowledged he was “enthusiastic about watching the end result of the specialist battle” because the Steelers look to their fourth and ultimate preseason sport Friday, at Carolina, to settle their lengthy snapping and punting positions.

Bears TE Jimmy Graham

The 34-year-old was surprisingly productive in 2020 (50 catches, 456 yards, 8 TDs). However 2020 second-rounder Cole Kmet is listed because the starter, and veteran Jesse James was signed final month. Chicago can save $7 million by letting Graham, by no means recognized for his blocking – an space the place the Bears need assistance – transfer on.

With apologies to Man apologists, there is a professional case that Hekker is the best punter in league historical past. The four-time All-Professional can be 31, had the bottom yards per kick (45.6) of his nine-year profession in 2020, stays the league’s highest-paid at his place ($3.8 million yearly) and is at the moment on the reserve/COVID-19 listing. Wednesday, Los Angeles GM Les Snead, who signed former Payments P Corey Bojorquez within the offseason, declined to decide to Hekker for 2021. A divorce would enable the Rams to avoid wasting the mixture $12 million in base wage Hekker can be due via 2023.

Cardinals LB Jordan Hicks

Barring a commerce, it might make extra monetary sense for Arizona to maintain the veteran this season and save $6 million by letting him go subsequent yr. GM Steve Keim has already advised Hicks, who’s began each sport for the Playing cards the previous two seasons, that he will not begin forward of first-round LBs Isaiah Simmons (2020) and Zaven Collins (2021). If Keim takes the lengthy view – and he very properly could not have that luxurious – he might forged the group in a greater gentle to future free brokers by letting Hicks, 29, who hasn’t performed particularly properly since leaving the Eagles, transfer on to a state of affairs the place he might play recurrently.

Patriots QB Brian Hoyer

New England hardly ever retains three quarterbacks on its energetic roster – not less than, that is how Invoice Belichick operated for a lot of the Tom Brady period – which suggests Hoyer, who turns 36 in October, might need a comparatively transient third stint in Foxborough. However there could also be extenuating circumstances in play given Cam Newton is unvaccinated and first-rounder Mac Jones may benefit from Hoyer’s familiarity with the offense and the “Patriot Means.” The calculus would possibly shift additional assuming Jarrett Stidham, 25, ultimately comes off the bodily unable to carry out listing.

Cardinals WR Andy Isabella

Since blazing a 4.31-second 40-yard sprint on the 2019 scouting mix, which led the Playing cards to spend a second-round decide on Isabella, not a lot manufacturing from the diminutive (5-9, 188 kilos) UMass product. He is landed on the reserve/COVID-19 listing twice since coaching camp started … and that was after Arizona spent a Spherical 2 choice this yr on Purdue’s Rondale Moore, ostensibly to do the injury from the slot Isabella (30 profession catches) seldom has. Coach Kliff Kingsbury has already proven a penchant to get Moore the ball this preseason (6 catches, 3 rushes, plus return duties), which can not bode properly for Isabella, who was already behind DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Inexperienced and Christian Kirk.

Saints RB Latavius Murray

He is been a gradual backup behind Alvin Kamara the previous two seasons, carrying the ball 146 instances in each for greater than 630 yards every time. Nonetheless Murray is now 31, has 12 yards on 9 carries (with a fumble) this preseason and positively appears to have fallen behind Tony Jones on the depth chart. Transferring on would additionally save New Orleans, which at all times appears to be in a wage cap crunch, almost $7 million over the subsequent two seasons.

Saints QB Trevor Siemian

If New Orleans is that prime on fourth-round rookie Ian Guide – he might theoretically again up Jameis Winston in weeks when Taysom Hill is built-in elsewhere into the sport plan – then it is onerous to see why they want a luxurious like Siemian at a time when groups virtually by no means maintain 4 QBs.


Observe USA TODAY Sports activities’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis.

This text initially appeared on USA TODAY: NFL roster lower candidates: 13 veterans who could possibly be on chopping block

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