Who's Out On Saturday?

We're taking a look at the name players that could be out of a job on Saturday as teams get to the mandated 53-player roster limit. Will Jamal Lewis stick with the Cleveland Browns? How about Kevin Curtis? What about Deion Branch?

75-53 Players Transactions Blog

Quarterback

A.J. Feeley/Philadelphia Eagles - It was a surprise last year that the Eagles didn't receive a single trade off for him last year considering the state of backup quarterbacks around the NFL. It's even worse now.

The Bears have two undrafted free-agents currently backing up starter Jay Cutler.

The Packers have Brian Brohm, who struggled mightily during the preseason and training camp last year, and Matt Flynn as the backups to starter Aaron Rodgers. While Brohm has made some strides of late, are the coaches confident that Brohm is ready to play if Rodgers got hurt? Technically, Flynn is still listed ahead of Brohm on the team's depth chart.

New England tried 2008 Kevin O'Connell as Tom Brady's backup, but they just waived him last week. They signed Andrew Walter, but he's failed to impress. They do have surprising undrafted rookie free-agent Brian Hoyer, but is head coach Bill Belichick ready to hand the No. 2 role over to him? Feeley played fairly well two years ago against the Patriots and Belichick has a history of acquiring players who have done well against him.

St. Louis has Kyle Boller as the backup to starter Marc Bulger, but Boller has not put together an impressive preseason. And keep in mind offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur was Feeley's quarterback coach for many years with the Eagles. Of course, head coach Steve Spagnuolo was also a long-time assistant with the Eagles.

Feeley is signed through 2010 and carries very reasonable base salaries of $1.3 million (2009) and $1.8 (2010).

With the likelihood that the team will add QB Michael Vick to their 53-man roster this weekend so he can start practicing, that means the team would carry four quarterbacks on the roster. However, if they traded Feeley, they would have two quarterbacks available for the first two regular season games, and Kevin Kolb is coming back from an MCL sprain, though he's played well with the injury the last two weeks.

Teams That Could Have Interest: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, St. Louis Rams

Tarvaris Jackson/Minnesota Vikings - He has struggled with consistency since being drafted in the second-round of the 2006 draft, so you can see why the team signed veteran QB Brett Favre to be the starter. But Jackson has a very strong arm and decent upside, so he could draw interest from teams that are looking for a developmental quarterback.

He's on the final year of his rookie deal with base salary of $535,000. It should be noted that Jackson, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next year, would be restricted if a new CBA isn't reached.

Teams That Could Have Interest: Jacksonville Jaguars, St. Louis Rams

Andrew Walter/New England - It wasn't a good sign that undrafted rookie free-agent QB Brian Hoyer started and took every snap against the New York Giants during the final preseason game. Hoyer, according to sources, started impressing the Patriot coaching staff during the team's OTAs with his accuracy and ability to understand the offense. Still, would head coach Bill Belichick be willing to name Hoyer as his backup to starter Tom Brady? Probably not, which is why acquiring Feeley might make more sense. But it should be noted that last year, Belichick was willing to go with then rookie Kevin O'Connell as Brady's backup.


Running Back

Jamal Lewis/Cleveland Browns - There's been a lot of buzz from rookie sixth-round pick, James Davis, from his solid training camp and preseason game performances. So much so that there's been speculation that Lewis could be released over the weekend.

As a league source points out, the team already paid Lewis a roster bonus of $3.5 million back in March, so would they really want to cut him after paying him that money? The source also points out that Lewis has per game roster bonuses if he's on the 53-man roster this season that total $500,000. He carries a base salary of $2.4 million.

Tough call here. They have a rookie in Davis who they really like. A scouting source said had he not posted slow 40-yard dash times of 4.60 and 4.61 during the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this year, Davis would have gone off the board much higher in the draft.

While there's a better chance that Lewis stays than gets released, it certainly wouldn't be a shock if the 30-yard old back is a goner come Saturday.

Justin Fargas/Oakland Raiders - He signed an extension earlier this year which takes him through the 2014 season. So it's reasonable to think he has a roster spot sewn up. But with 2008 first-round pick Darren McFadden's role expected to expand, and Michael Bush also ready for an increased role, where does Fargas fit in? That's the issue, does he have a role? According to a league source, what could keep him on the roster is roughly $5.6-$5.7 million bonus proration from the remaining years from his contract.

Chris Henry/Tennessee Titans - When he was selected in the second-round of the 2007 draft, there was a lot of buzz surrounding Henry. After all, he was a 230-pound back that ran a fast 40-yard time. As things turned out for him, Henry actually ran too fast in practice and showed little patience on his carries. Because of that, he fell down the depth chart almost immediately and has been inactive for 24 out of 32 games over his first two seasons.

With rookie fifth-round pick Javon Ringer surpassing him on the depth chart, it would seem like a foregone conclusion that Henry will be waived or traded this weekend. However, there are two things that should be noted. He's become a factor on special teams, and as a league source notes, he carries a partial base salary guarantee of just over $400,000. If he's waived, that guaranteed money could keep him from being claimed. But if he goes through waivers unclaimed, he could find interest because of his size, speed, and special teams play. He'll need to find a team that's willing to be patient with him.

Brian Leonard/Cincinnati Bengals - The former second-round pick of the St. Louis Rams out of the 2007 draft was acquired earlier this year by the Bengals. He failed to impress in training camp and it appears rookie RB Bernard Scott has beaten him out for the No. 2 job at running back. What could keep Leonard on the roster is his ability to play fullback and running game. But more importantly, he's capable of handling a third-down role, one that starting RB Cedric Benson or Scott aren't really suited for.

Lorenzo Booker/Philadelphia Eagles - When the team acquired Booker from the Miami Dolphins on draft day 2008 for a fourth-round pick, I'm sure they thought they were getting the back that caught 28 passes over his final five games of the 2007 season. However, it should be noted that a big reason why Booker was inactive for the first eight games of his rookie season was that the Miami coaching staff wasn't sure if they wanted to keep him as a running back or move him to receiver. The very fact that they were even considering moving Booker, a third-round pick that season, to receiver, isn't a good sign.

While it was thought that Booker would move into the No. 2 running back role immediately with the Eagles after the trade, he couldn't beat out veteran RB Correll Buckhalter for that job last season and wound up being inactive for six games.

It hasn't gotten any better for Booker this time around as rookie LeSean McCoy, a second-round pick, easily beat him out for the No. 2 job this year in back of starter Brian Westbrook. In fact, some say practice observers note that Eldra Buckley, who was claimed off of waivers earlier this year, has looked better during practices in recent weeks. At this point, it would be a surprise if Booker was on the team past Saturday.


Wide Receiver/Tight End

Deion Branch/Seattle Seahawks - Several reports have the team considering releasing Branch, but looking further into his situation, it seems unlikely that will happen. Branch is signed through 2011 and carries a base salary of $4.94 million. If they release or trade Branch, a league source indicated the team would save roughly $1.14 million in cap space, while he would still count against the cap for roughly $6.4 million. While that seems rather high, consider what they would left at receiver if they release him. Of the other six backup receivers on the roster, they have a grand total of less than 40 regular season receptions for their careers in the NFL.

Kevin Curtis/Philadelphia Eagles - Lots of local speculation that the team will release him. But listening to head coach Andy Reid recently, it doesn't seem like he's concerned about the recent issue with Curtis' knee which has been preventing him from practicing.

The problem with trading or releasing the 31-year old receiver is that rookie Jeremy Maclin, while he has done well despite signing his contract a week late, probably isn't ready to play 50-60 snaps.

There was certainly something wrong with Curtis if you watched him during training camp. He actually looked to be over his groin surgery back during OTA practices, but he looked just a tad slow getting off the line during practices in August. It was very clear that he wasn't himself, so you can understand the speculation that Curtis may be a goner come Saturday.

As a league source points out, releasing Curtis shouldn't be tied to money. He's set to make $1.9 million in base salary this season. It's June of 2010 when he has a $1 million roster bonus, so that could be the excuse not to pay him next year if he doesn't perform well this season.

Reggie Brown/WR/Philadelphia Eagles - It's not a secret in league circles that Brown has been shopped over the past year. When Brown signed an extension through 2014 back in 2007, it was thought that he was emerging as one of the better young receivers in the NFL. However, his performance seemed to regress since then due to nagging injuries.

During this year's  preseason, Brown has essentially run with the third-team offense, with rookie Jeremy Maclin surpassing him on the receiver depth chart.

According to a league source, if the Eagles release or trade Brown, the move would take on $2.7 million in additional cap space because of bonus acceleration ($3.5 million in acceleration with a rebate of his $769,000 base salary). That cap hit isn't exactly palatable, but it shouldn't be significant enough to deter moving him.

The four teams listed below all could use help at receiver.

Teams That Could Have Interest: Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets

Sinorice Moss/WR/New York Giants - The oft-injured second-round pick out of the 2006 draft has flashed his talent at times during his career, but Moss has failed to make even close to any discernable impact. Moss only has 38 receptions over his three years of play. Moss is no better than No. 4 on the receiver depth chart, and realistically, he may be further down because the team is expected to move first-round pick Hakeem Nicks into the regular rotation soon.


Offensive Line

Tra Thomas/LT/Jacksonville Jaguars - Despite starting the third and most important preseason game, Thomas was pulled mid way through the first quarter of that game against the Philadelphia Eagles in favor of first-round pick Eugene Monroe, who started the fourth preseason game.

It stands to wonder if Thomas will hang on the roster at this point.

Thomas signed a three-year deal earlier this year with the Jaguars worth slightly more than $13 million. However, according to a league source, Thomas carries a cap number of just over $4.3 million. Just under half of that total is based on playing time incentives. And he also carries a $1.45 million base salary guarantee which is fully guaranteed for everything (skill/injury/cap), so the team has a tough decision to make. Do they pay Thomas $2.3 million (his base salary) to be a backup while guaranteeing part of that salary?

Tony Pashos/RT/Jacksonville Jaguars - The coaches decided to juggle their offensive line for the preseason finale against the Washington Redskins. Pashos was moved to right guard over veteran Maurice Williams, and rookie Eben Britton started at right tackle. The indication was that the five starters for that game would also line up in the same roles against the Indianapolis Colts in Week One.

According to a league source, Pashos is signed through 2011 and carries a salary cap figure for this season of nearly $6 million. Should the team trade or cut Pashos, they would actually save roughly $1.3 million of cap space, but would take on roughly $3 million of additional dead money on their cap from acceleration of his bonus money left over from the final two years on his deal.

Williams didn't receive a signing bonus on his deal that goes through 2011. They would save $2.5 million of cap space if they release or trade him.

Ryan O'Callaghan/OT/New England Patriots - The fifth-round pick from the 2006 draft has failed to impress and could be in danger of being waived. O'Callaghan showed promise earlier in his career, but he's dealt with various injuries which have limited his effectiveness. He missed the entire 2008 season due to injury and with the team selecting OT Sebastian Vollmer in the second-round of this year's draft, O'Callaghan might be on the outside looking in on Saturday. However, it should be noted that Vollmer started at left tackle and O'Callaghan at right tackle during the team's last exhibition game.


Defensive Linemen

Terdell Sands/DT/Oakland Raiders - Profootballtalk.com chronicled the team's decision to push back his roster bonus a few times earlier this year. So, it makes it reasonable to speculate that Sands may not be with the team this season. The problem is that Sands carries a cap number of nearly $4 million this season. That's a bit high for a projected backup player, but as a league source pointed out to Scout.com, Sands was already paid a $1 roster bonus on July 3, so they've already decided to pay him roughly 25 percent of his cap number.

Bryan Smith/DE/Philadelphia Eagles - Smith flashed a bit in training camp last year, but he hasn't appeared to do much this summer to help his cause. He was known as a fast edge rusher coming out of college, but that didn't seem to be the case during training camp. In fact, he fell to the third-team defense recently after veteran Jason Babin passed him on the depth chart. Smith didn't play a single down last season and was inactive for all 16 regular season games plus the post-season. If Babin makes it, Smith might not.


Defensive Back

Ashton Youboty/CB/Buffalo Bills - Last year, there was a lot of speculation that he wouldn't make the final roster. The Bills decided to keep five cornerbacks and Youboty was one of them. He's in a numbers situation again. The Bills have seven cornerbacks on their 75-man roster and six are drafted players. The other one, veteran Drayton Florence, is dealing with a knee injury. He figures to be their nickel back when he's healthy. That could leave Youboty, drafted third-round of the 2006 draft, out in the cold.

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