Earlier in the week I posted the AFC players that are most likely to be a surprise training camp cut and this article will do the same for the NFC. I tried to pick players that would be fantasy relevant and not just the low hanging fruit of some undrafted free agent. Some of these are pretty out there and some are much more likely to happen.
Here is my disclaimer on this article, these are my educated guesses based on looking at the depth charts and attempting to read some tea leaves. I am not an insider and do not have any sources with teams. For the purposes of this article I am only going to look at skill position players (QB, RB, TE, WR). I am going to give each move a grade on a scale of 1 to 10 on what chance I give the suggested player of being cut.
Cole Beasley, WR – Beasley is certainly one of the leagues better slot WRs which makes this very unlikely. However, the team did draft Ryan Switzer in the 4th round and he is younger and cheaper. Anytime a team takes a player at the same position who is younger and cheaper it has to at least catch your attention that the veteran (Beasley) could be in line to be replaced. Beasley likelihood of being cut 2/10.
New York Giants
Shane Vereen, RB – this is mostly due to Vereen coming off of an injury. There is a bit of competition in the backfield for the Giants with Wayne Gallman, Paul Perkins, Orleans Darkwa and Shuan Draughn. Anytime there are that many players competing at a position a surprise cut is possible. Vereen does seem to have a role as the 3rd down back but if Perkins can show that he can handle that duty it could push Vereen out of a job. Vereen’s likelihood of being cut 4/10.
Ryan Matthews, RB – this became likelier after the team signed LeGarrette Blount recently. Matthews is going to be competing against a bunch of other players including Blount, Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, and Donnel Pumphrey. Like with Vereen anytime you are competing against that many other guys anything can happen. Matthews becomes more likely to be cut because of his extensive injury history. Likelihood Matthews gets cut 6/10.
Matt Jones, RB – the team recently announced that Jones is not in their future plans which makes his being cut very likely. When a team makes an announcement like this that player loses all trade value to the rest of the league. Jones has talent and is young which helps his case. What hurts him is his history of fumbling and place on the depth chart behind Rob Kelley, Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine. Jones’s likelihood of being cut 9.5/10.
Victor Cruz, WR – Cruz was recently brought over from the Giants via free agency but faces an uphill battle for a roster spot. Cruz will be in competition with Cameron Meredith, Markus Wheaton, Kevin White, Kendall Wright, Rueben Randle, Deonte Thompson and a few others. As a 30 year old who hasn’t produced more than 600 yards receiving since 2013 this could be the end of the line for Cruz. Cruz’s likelihood of being cut 7/10.
Dwayne Washington, RB – I admit to being one of the people last year who thought Washington was going to be something in Detroit. Quite frankly, during his rookie year his numbers just weren’t very good with a 2.9 yard per carry average. With increased competition in the Lions backfield with Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick, Zach Zenner and Matt Asiata Washington is going to have to show a lot of improvement to make the team. Washington’s chances of being cut 6/10.
Green Bay Packers
Richard Rodgers, TE – Rodgers has fallen to 3rd on the teams depth chart behind Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks. He is one of those players who we always want to believe is going to break out but just doesn’t get there. With the depth at the position if Rodgers doesn’t have a good camp he could find himself in a new uniform. Rodgers’s likelihood of being cut 4/10.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB – Bridgewater is in a tough spot as he is not the starter (Sam Bradford) and will be battling with Case Keenum to be the backup. This will really have a lot to do with how healthy Bridgewater is after his horrific knee injury last year. Bridgewater’s likelihood of being cut 2/10.
Justin Hardy, WR – this is another situation where positional depth could lead to a surprise cut. The Falcons have Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel well ahead of Hardy on the depth chart, but the team also signed Andre Roberts who will compete with Hardy for the 4th WR job. With a slow camp Hardy could find himself out of a job after not really doing much last season (21 catches for 203 yards). Hardy’s likelihood of being cut 5/10.
Kelvin Benjamin, WR – he might just eat his way off the roster. Benjamin is the perceived number one WR for the Panthers so this would be a shock. However, if he comes to camp well out of shape he might find himself on the street. While the team doesn’t boast great WR depth with Curtis Samuel and Devin Funchess, there could be enough there to dump Benjamin. This move would increase in likelihood if the Panthers sign Jeremy Maclin. Benjamin’s likelihood of being cut 2/10.
New Orleans Saints
Adrian Peterson, RB – a few years ago this would have been something that could not have been imagined as possible. As I mentioned in part 1, father time is still undefeated especially when it comes to over 30 RBs. Peterson is coming off a year when he played only 3 games and in those 3 averaged less than 2 yards per carry. If he comes to camp and shows that he doesn’t have it anymore Sean Payton will not hesitate to move on. With Mark Ingram in place and Alvin Kamara also on the team there is enough depth for the Saints to walk away from Peterson and not miss a beat. Peterson’s likelihood of being cut 5/10.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Doug Martin, RB – after leaving the team at the end of last year to deal with some personal issues, Martin needs to prove himself to his teammates. More importantly Martin needs to continue to get the best of his personal issues. The team has also added some depth at the position which makes this move less of a stretch. The team now has Charles Sims, Jacquizz Rodgers, Jeremy McNichols and Peyton Barber along with Martin. Martin’s likelihood of being cut 3/10.
Andre Ellington, WR – the move to WR this offseason should tell you that Ellington’s roster spot is in jeopardy and even more so after they moved him back to RB after mini-camp. After 4 uninspiring years as a RB the Cardinals decided to give Ellington one last shot but as a WR. It is alarming that the team almost immediately moved him back to RB. If a team has to try this hard to figure out where you fit position wise then you probably just don’t fit on the roster. Ellington’s likelihood of being cut 7/10.
Los Angeles Rams
Pharoh Cooper, WR – this was a tough one because the team just doesn’t have that much talent at the skill positions. Cooper didn’t really do much as a rookie last year only catching 14 passes for 106 yards and now faces increased competition. With Tavon Austin, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Josh Reynolds and Mike Thomas all competing for time at WR. If Cooper doesn’t show progress from his rookie year he might find himself out of a job. Coopers’s likelihood of being cut 8/10.
Eddie Lacy, RB – Lacy is in a tough spot with the Seahawks as he is facing a lot of competition and is coming off an injury. The biggest issue for him will be what type of shape he arrives to camp in. He has weight clauses in his contract that should help keep him in reasonable shape but who knows. Even if he arrives in good shape he faces competition from Thomas Rawls, C.J. Prosise, and Alex Collins. Likelihood of Lacy being cut 2/10.
San Francisco 49ers
Carlos Hyde, RB – with a new coach in SF it is possible Hyde could get passed on the depth chart and cut. After reading Peter King’s MMQB article on the 49ers draft it is clear the team loves Joe Williams, who they took in the 4th round of the draft. It will be interesting to see if Hyde can pick up Kyle Shanahan’s system and if it is a fit with his running style. There have already been reports about Hyde not having the “vision” to run in this system. With Tim Hightower and Kapri Bibbs also on the team, if Hyde has a slow camp or gets injured, as he often does, he could find himself as a surprise cut. Hyde’s likelihood of being cut 4/10.