The 2016 draft class has already made its mark on NFL veterans league-wide, as players like Washington’s Chris Culliver and Tampa Bay’s Connor Barth were cut after their respective clubs selected potential replacements over the weekend. With more moves likely on the horizon, let’s take a look at some other veterans who could be affected:
Baltimore Ravens: Eugene Monroe, T
A day after the Ravens selected Notre Dame tackle Ronnie Stanley sixth overall, a report emerged that indicated Baltimore was unlikely to release Monroe, the club’s left tackle for the majority of the past two-and-a-half seasons. And while the Ravens’ offensive line depth could be augmented by sliding either Monroe or Stanley inside to left guard, it’s fair to question whether Monroe will still be on Baltimore’s roster come September. The 29-year-old has missed 20 games over the past three seasons with various injuries, and is set to count for $8.7MM on Baltimore’s 2016 cap. The Ravens could save $6.5MM by designating him as a post-June 1 cut, a move that seems entirely possible.
Chicago Bears: Lamarr Houston and Willie Young, EDGE
Chicago’s draft class has already had an impact on one veteran, as Matt Slauson was cut soon after the club drafted interior lineman Cody Whitehair in the second round. Houston and Young could be next up on the chopping block, after the Bears added two new pieces to their front seven in the forms of linebacker Leonard Floyd and defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard. Head coach John Fox said in March that the club was unlikely to release either Houston or Young, but Chicago would incur less than $2MM in dead money by making both post-June 1 cuts.
Los Angeles Rams: Nick Foles and Case Keenum, QB
Keenum would likely have more suitors around the league given his play last season, but Foles appears to be the odd man out in Los Angeles after the Rams made Jared Goff the No. 1 overall pick. Foles is generating some trade interest, with as many as five clubs reaching out to the Rams to express intrigue. Foles’ roster bonus has already been paid by LA, so he’d make for a cheap backup option, as an acquiring team would only be responsible for his $1.75MM base salary.
Minnesota Vikings: Captain Munnerlyn, CB
The Vikings are expected to work in second-round pick Mackensie Alexander at slot corner, the position currently manned by Munnerlyn. Head coach Mike Zimmer likes veteran players — as evidenced by Minnesota starting 37-year-old Terence Newman for all 16 games last season — so Munnerlyn is probably safe. His contract expires after 2016, however, at which Alexander’s presence could mean Munnerlyn isn’t re-signed.
New York Jets: Geno Smith, QB
After the Jets drafted Christian Hackenberg in the second round, Smith sits in a rather precarious situation. If New York is unable to come to an agreement with Ryan Fitzpatrick, Smith would likely open the 2016 season as the starting quarterback. But if Fitzpatrick is brought back into the fold — as is still expected — Smith could be on the outs, even though GM Mike Maccagnan has said he’s not opposed to keeping four quarterbacks on the roster.
Philadelphia Eagles: Sam Bradford, QB
We won’t spend much time on Bradford, as his desire to be traded out of Philadelphia has been well-documented even before the club officially drafted Carson Wentz. The Eagles have said they won’t deal their presumptive starting quarterback, but if Bradford continues to sit out team activities, the situation could become increasingly awkward. Working against Bradford is that many of the clubs that previously needed QB help – several of which I documented when looking at destinations for Bradford – have since added signal-callers.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Alterraun Verner, CB
Verner has been a disappointment since signing a four-year deal with the Bucs prior to the 2014 season — he was benched in 2015 (ultimately starting only six games) and graded as the No. 91 cornerback among 111 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus. With first-round pick Vernon Hargreaves III and veteran Brent Grimes, who signed a two-year deal in March, now on the roster, Verner’s status in Tampa is tenuous at best.
Washington: Pierre Garcon, DeSean Jackson, and Andre Roberts, WR
Washington made one of the more surprising choices of the first round, trading down one spot before selecting TCU wide receiver Josh Doctson. Roberts, a slot receiver who managed only 11 receptions last season, seems like the most obvious release candidate, but Garcon and Jackson may not be safe, either. Washington probably wouldn’t release all three pass-catchers, but post-June 1 cuts of Garcon and Jackson would save the club $8MM each. For what it’s worth, John Keim of ESPN.com adamantly believes the team will hang on to Garcon.
Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.