As training camps get rolling, here’s a list of five guys to keep an eye on.
As names go, they’re not the biggest, but you’ve heard of them. They’re all veterans and some of them have been starters. They also have one other thing in common: Due to age, upcoming prospects and salaries, they might not make it to the opening-day roster:
Michael Clayton, Buccaneers. This time, Clayton really is down to his last chance. Seems like we’ve said that every year since he’s bombed after a great rookie season. But it’s more true than ever. When a team goes out and uses two picks in the first four rounds to take wide receivers, that’s not a sign they’re really happy with the veterans.
Ryan Sims, Buccaneers. Very similar situation to Clayton’s. The Bucs went out and drafted defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Brian Price with their first two picks, and they’ve got high hopes for Roy Miller. Sims could stick as a situational guy, but there’s no way the Bucs want him starting again.
Jason Kyle, Saints. This guy is as good a long-snapper as there has ever been, and a great guy to have in the locker room. He’s solid and dependable, but he’s also scheduled to make more than $1 million. The Saints have Clint Gresham who is scheduled to make about one third of what Kyle is to earn. It really comes down to the Saints deciding if Kyle is a necessity or a luxury.
Brian Finneran, Falcons. Another guy who always seems to be on the bubble. He has stayed around because he’s a dependable backup receiver, can do a lot on special teams and has even lined up at safety. But, when the Falcons drafted Kerry Meier in the fifth round, it made me wonder if they were picking the next Finneran.
Tyler Brayton, Panthers. Brayton is probably the least likely on the list to be cut, and it’s entirely possible that he keeps his starting job. But, with the Panthers going through a youth movement, it wouldn’t be a total surprise if something strange happens at defensive end. The Panthers have high hopes for Charles Johnson and Everette Brown and a few other young defensive ends. If those guys come along quickly, Brayton could become expendable.