The NFL is a cruel world for the athletes that give so much of themselves to the game. Each summer a player that is seemingly a roster lock becomes a free agent.
Many veteran players lose their jobs to younger players for a variety of reasons: draft picks, new coaching staff or scheme, free agent signings, etc. Players that have been key parts of a team are suddenly on the scrap heap.
The Bears have already had one such cut this offseason when they released Matt Slauson following the NFL Draft. While the back end of the 90-man roster continues to churn, the next flurry of moves and the ones will cause the most surprise, will come in training camp next month.
ESPN had their NFL Nation reporters sit down and pick one veteran player that could find themselves on the roster bubble come August. Jeff Dickerson picked Marquess Wilson for the Bears. His reasoning:
At 6-foot-4, Wilson is talented but often injured. Since he arrived in Chicago in 2013 (seventh-round draft choice), Wilson has missed 20 games. His lack of durability is an issue. With Alshon Jeffery, Kevin White and Eddie Royal sitting atop the depth chart, there is expected to be fierce competition for the final two receiver spots. Wilson is in the mix along with veterans Marc Mariani, Josh Bellamy and Deonte Thompson, but those three all play special teams. Wilson, though, has never thrived on special teams, and is therefore vulnerable when Chicago eventually pares down the roster.
Yes, indeed Wilson could certainly find himself outside looking in at a crowded receiver position, especially given his lack of special teams play. However, on the defensive side of the ball I can think of a couple players that could also end up being cut.
Christian Jones was a player that had a lot of hype surrounding him, despite the fact that he went undrafted. Now entering his third season, he has yet to really grab a hold of a starting spot or really do much to wow anyone. Sign number one of this would be that the Bears didn't stop after signing Danny Trevathan in free agency and went out and brought in Jerrell Freeman as well. Last season also showed the promise of John Timu and Jonathan Anderson, two undrafted free agents in their own right.
Elsewhere on the defense is Lamarr Houston, a big money free agent just two seasons ago under Phil Emery. Houston may have led the team in sacks a year ago, but if a player such as Roy Robertson-Harris shows a lot of promise, Leonard Floyd is able to make an immediate impact, Pernell McPhee shows he's healthy and Willie Young continues to get comfortable playing outside, then suddenly maybe Houston is expendable.
On offense there is Ka'Deem Carey, a player that wouldn't surprise me if he's cut or if he ends up with a big spot in the rotation. That's more of a demonstration of how much unknown and wide open the RB position is though, than a shot at Carey's ability.
Other veterans who might fit the bill are Jaquizz Rodgers, Cornelius Washington, Will Sutton and Sherrick McManis.
Is there a veteran player that you think could find themselves being cut before the season starts?