Choose your caption: A) Byron Bell is praying for his play to improve as hard as we are or B) Byron Bell taking a dump on the field yet again.
The Carolina Panthers did not get the offensive tackle they so sorely need. They did address the wide receiver position in the first but even those that love the selection realize that Kelvin Benjamin is a boom or bust prospect (Are all of you as sick of that term as I am?). Barring a small miracle he will probable not be a deciding factor in the upcoming season.
Byron Bell, Nate Chandler, Travis Bond, Jerrico Cotchery, Jason Avant, Tiquan Underwood, Tavarres King and Marvin McNutt are not names that strike fear in the hearts of opponents. In fact many of them cause more sleepless nights for the Panther faithful. Even if some factions of the fanbase are cautiously optimistic about the offensive line or the wide receiver corps it would be foolhardy to not realize that the team has no margin for error in either department.
There has been increased chatter amongst Carolina fans in hopes that the Tennessee Titans would release OT Michael Roos. Although this is highly unlikely, the Titans are not financially strapped in such a way that this would happen for cap savings, even if they were to make this move it would be in the form of a trade. Roos is due to make over 6M this year in salary. It is completely unrealistic that the Panthers, who have been trimming the fat with such broad strokes they have lost a fair share of muscle, too, would take on that high expense for a 31 year old. If Tennessee bizarrely released Roos, Carolina is similarly ill prepared or inclined to offer the amount of money it would take to win his services against the other 10 or so teams that are in need of a talented left tackle.
I instead focused my attention on the depth chart of every team in the NFL to see if there were any more plausible additions we could make via trade or newly released talent before the season begins.
As a note, I am not going to get too involved in each individual player. Instead I am merely setting the table for some hearty discussion. I welcome any and all, if they see a guy that arouses them, to become the first openly gay catscratch blog contributor - just kidding- lets start again. Yada yada...here we are, "if they see any name that arouses them" to make the case and share the history and relevant facts on why they would like this or that player.
So let's look at our candidates
Washington Redskins: Washington has a glut of talent at WR. A top heavy 9, in talent, to be exact. Nick Williams is the most likely cut of this bunch yet he is nothing to waste our time with. But with only 2.5M left under the cap and Pierre Garcon, Desean Jackson, Aldrick Robinson, Andre Roberts and newly drafted rookie Ryan Grant the savings of 810K by cutting Santana Moss could become appealing. IF keeping him out of the hands of division rivals who could all show interest in a rivals long time contributor a trade may be achievable. His $875,000 rental price is within our budget as well. Cody Hoffman is another player that may be a cut casualty.
Players of interest: WR Santana Moss, WR Cody Hoffman
Minnesota Vikings: Minny has far more offensive tackle talent than they can hope to keep on a 53 man roster. It is likely Kevin Murphy, Charlie Johnson or Antonio "Tiny" Richardson has to be let go in final cuts. Kevin Murphy is not too exciting. On the other hand, a healthy Johnson or Richardson would be of big interest. What a better way to vet out Richardson's knees but a pro level preseason.
Players of interest: OT Antonio Richardson, OT Charlie Johnson
Buffalo Bills: They have Mike Williams, Sammy Watkins, Robert Woods, Ramses Barden and key contributors last year Marquise Goodwin and T.J. Graham. And then they have a lot of young talent that they will not be able to keep all of UDFA 6'1 Chris Hogan and sophmores 6'5, 216 lbs Brandon Kaufman, 6'5 213 lbs Chris Summers and 6'4 Cordell Robertson. At least two of those giants will be available and would make imposing bookends to go with 6'5 Kelvin Benjamin and out TEs. We could field the tallest offense in the league!
More Bills - They hold eight guys designated OL and 7 more OT. Now let's assume they keep Rookies Cyril Richardson and Koundjio. Last years starters, Cordy Glenn, Doug Legursky, Kraig Urbik and Erik Pears and the OT backups, Edawn Coughman and Chris Hairston. That is 8 guys, they may keep a couple more at most. The best of the rest we may be able to target. Rookie Seantrel Henderson, Chis Williams a starter for STL last year and Chicago in 2009 and 2010 would be the likely castoffs.
Players of interest: OL Cordy Glenn, OL Doug Legursky, OT Edawn Coughman, OT Chris Hairston, OT Seantrel Henderson, WR Chris Hogan, WR Brandon Kaufman, WR Chris Summers and WR Cordell Robertson
Green Bay Packers: Let's assume GB will not rid themselves of Cobb, Nelson, Boykin nor rookies Abbrederis or Devonte Adams. That still leaves rookies Jeff Janis and Seddrick Cuningham. Along with 4 1 or 2 year players that could never get playing time behind the embarrassment of riches in GB. Among these likely cuts Janis, 7th rounder Kevin Dorsey, 4th rounder Chris Harper and sticky handed Myles White are worthy of consideration.
Players of interest: WR Jeff Janis, WR Myles White
San Francisco 49ers: These guys should be an inspiration. Around a year ago, Michael Crabtree was injured and they were completely decimated at WR. Now they have Crabs (I just had to say that), Anquan Boldin, Stevie Johnson, Jon Baldwin, rookie Bruce Ellington, Brandon Lloyd and Quinton Patton. It is possible that the team will want to get the young, promising players Patton and Ellington more involved and to do so may drop Baldwin or Lloyd at little cost. Add to that melodrama that SF are only 600K above the cap with their rookies still left to sign. Logistically, fiscally and harmoniously it is sound that the Niners could drop Baldwin (645K) and/or Lloyd (900K) for a savings.
Players of interest: WR Brandon Lloyd, WR Jon Baldwin
Baltimore Ravens: Baltimore has 4 LTs, clear starter Joe Thomas and two backups brought in last year. They signed Seattle LT Paul McQuistan but were they to decide that one of the two young guys were close to as good as McQuistan they could cut him and save 1.395M dollars this year.
Players of interest: LT Paul McQuistan
Denver Broncos: Denver is currently 1.5M over the cap. They are well set at wide receiver (Thomas, Welker, Sanders, and 2nd round rookie Latimer). The only WR that would reduce their cap figure is Andre Caldwell (saving them 750K). They could also drop RTs Orlando Franklin (saving 969K) or Winston Justice (saving 1.1M).
Players of interest: WR Andre Caldwell, RT Orlando Franklin, RT Winston Justice
Pittsburgh Steelers: Pittsburgh has only slightly over one mil in cap room left and more guards than they can keep. Dropping Guy Whimper would save them another 800K. He has played guard and tackle on both sides during his career. Ramon Foster (OG) would save a million but he did start most of the last 3 seasons so that seems doubtful.
Players of interest: OL Guy Whimper
Players of interest: LT Willie Smith, LT Mike Harris