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16 defenders who could be cut before the season

Detroit Lions v Green Bay Packers Getty Images

We wrote the majority of this post Wednesday, before we reported that the new CBA will take measures to protect veterans from becoming cap casualties.

That doesn’t mean teams should spend huge money on players that aren’t worth it.  With that in mind, here are 16 defenders that could (or should) be on the chopping block in the coming weeks.

1. Albert Haynesworth, Redskins DT: We have our doubts that anyone will give up a quality draft pick for Haynesworth.  If Mike Shanahan continues to hold on out of stubbornness, the Redskins deserve what they get. Just like last year.

2. Nick Barnett, Packers LB: Barnett and someone like Bradie James in Dallas might be the guys most helped by new CBA rules. Barnett is due big money for a possible third inside linebacker, but the team could cut Brandon Chillar to free up some room.  We think he has a good chance to stay.

3. Antwan Odom, Bengals DE: Odom is only 29 and a fine pass rusher, but he hasn’t been able to stay healthy.

4. Nate Clements, 49ers CB: No matter what the rules are, it’s fiscal insanity to pay Clements $7.25 million.  They’d be better off cutting him and signing a free agent.

5. Terence Newman, Cowboys CB: Newman would probably only get cut if the Cowboys bring in a big-time cornerback like Nnamdi Asomugha or Johnathan Joseph.

6. Chris Gamble, Panthers CB: The new rules should help Gamble because the Panthers are thin at cornerback.  Still, he has to show something in camp to be worth $6.24 million in 2011.

7. Amobi Okoye, Texans DL: He doesn’t fit Wade Phillips’ defense no matter what the Texans say. Only 24, another team will give a chance to this top-10 pick. We doubt anyone will trade for him.

8. Chris Hope, Titans S: Due $6.5 million, Hope is a good not great player who has the salary of a superstar.  The Titans are very thin at safety, which helps his case.

9. Brian Dawkins, Broncos S: Even though Denver drafted heavy at safety, they value Dawkins’ leadership. Cutting him to save money wouldn’t be a popular move.  A re-negotiated contract is possible.

10. Madieu Williams, Vikings S: It appears the Vikings want to keep Williams despite his $5.4 million salary. That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

11. Joey Porter, Cardinals LB: The only way the Cardinals could make last year’s signing of Porter worse?  Doubling down and paying him big money again.  Arizona has the young guys to let him go.

12. Justin Harrell, Packers DL: The Packers could give the former first-rounder one last chance to stay healthy, but we doubt it.

13. Johnny Jolly, Packers DL: He was given his ninth life, and then was caught selling it.

14. Aaron Maybin, Bills LB: It wouldn’t shock us if the No. 11 pick in the 2009 draft was out of the league by next year.

15. Gerald Hayes, Cardinals LB: $4.25 million is too much to pay for just another linebacker.

16. Brandon Chillar, Packers LB: He and Brady Poppinga could get the axe so the Packers can keep Barnett.

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40 Responses to “16 defenders who could be cut before the season”
  1. nabz034 says: Jul 21, 2011 10:47 AM

    And this is why you dont draft for position and why you draft for talent.

  2. echoplex89 says: Jul 21, 2011 10:56 AM

    I thought this article was about the secondary.

    Maybe Haynesworth will be a defensive back. I would pay to see that.

  3. Sayre Bedinger says: Jul 21, 2011 10:56 AM

    If you were 37, 38 years old and you played for the team that just picked 2nd in the draft, and you were set to make almost $8 million and the GM came to you and said, “We really want you on the team, but we would really appreciate if you’d take a $5 million pay cut.”

    What would you honestly do? I think if the Broncos try to re-negotiate Dawkins’ contract, he’s simply going to say no, and the Broncos will have no other choices. He could get less money from a title contender on the open market, so I don’t think his agent will renegotiate, but I hope that I’m wrong because I’d love to see him stay.

  4. touchdownsyndrome says: Jul 21, 2011 10:57 AM

    The Skins are not just going to simply let go of Haynesworth. Shanahann is that stubborn (see last year) and they’re not looking for a premium draft pick for Haynesworth, at this point they’d be content shipping him OUT of the division for a mid to late round pick.

  5. fballguy says: Jul 21, 2011 10:58 AM

    Enough with the speculation. Let’s get it going!

  6. 123makarov says: Jul 21, 2011 10:59 AM

    Two from the Eagles, though they are not big names, and technically won’t be “cut” because they will be free agents:

    1. Safety Quintin Mikell will be an unrestricted FA. The Eagles are not expected to make him an offer. During the brief period in April the lockout was lifted, Mikell literally cleaned out his locker.

    2. CB/nickel back Dimitri Patterson. Also an UFA, the Eagles are likewise not expected to make an offer to Patterson, but to seek a veteran corner in a trade or FA.

  7. title13xtown says: Jul 21, 2011 11:00 AM

    I fear Harrell being cut and ending up as a decent 3rd DT in Minnesota or Detroit. …..they’ve paid him all that money to this point why not bring him to camp one last time?

    I am in favor of cutting Chillar if u get a younger vet to replace….the depth at LB isn’t great but BC and Barnett are overpaid and alway hurt. Barnett is just annoying.

    I don’t care what Jolly did….guy is a hell of a player and if u can get one last year from him do it….but no way do u ever give him a new deal.

    I’d like to see GB grab one of those veteran corners for cheap. Underwood is a bust and Lee is still an unknown…

  8. castleofcheese says: Jul 21, 2011 11:03 AM

    Cullen Jenkins should be on this list. As much as I like him, there’s no way he’s with the Pack this year.

  9. prior0knowledge says: Jul 21, 2011 11:05 AM

    trade Haynesworth to the Bengals for a cup of coffee and a danish to be named later

  10. buckybadger says: Jul 21, 2011 11:05 AM

    @touchdownsyndrome, Haynesworth will have to be cut. No one will pay that salary to guy like him. I don’t see him taking a pay cut just so he is easier to trade. He will be cut.

  11. twitter:Chapman_Jamie says: Jul 21, 2011 11:06 AM

    Newman needs to go regardless of who Dallas brings in. That guy is a liability in coverage.

  12. buckybadger says: Jul 21, 2011 11:07 AM

    @Sayre Bedinger, I like Dawkins but his time is done. Denver should offer him a coaching position but he will probably take one with the Eagles if he wants to get into that. His play was so bad last year that if he doesn’t want to take a pay cut than he needs to go. That was the 2nd worse pass defense to Houston and at some point the players need to be accountable. Champ is still there to lead the secondary. Dawkins would be nice to have but NO ONE will give him much to play anymore. To old and the leadership things only takes you so far.

  13. steelerspiratesbruins says: Jul 21, 2011 11:09 AM

    As a Canadian, I do not get a lot of coverage of college football in the States, so perhaps somebody could answer this for me:

    Was Amobi Okoye worthy of the top ten pick at the time? Or was he simply an average college player who teams thought would become dominant when he got older (as in 22, 23, 24)?

  14. deadmanwalking47 says: Jul 21, 2011 11:10 AM

    skins should offer fata$$ to denver straight up,for orton!

  15. 123makarov says: Jul 21, 2011 11:10 AM

    touchdownsyndrome:
    “The Skins are not just going to simply let go of Haynesworth.”

    I think this will be the most fascinating situation to watch. Part of their ability to trade big Al is what’s remaining on his contract and how it’s structured. Assuming what’s left isn’t ridiculous, there’s probably some teams interested. I don’t see anyone offering more than a 5th round pick.

    Potential suitors may just say, to heck with it and wait for the Redskins to cut him, as they’re expected to do. Donovan McNabb is more likely to be traded in the short period (3-7 days according to reports) of personnel moves before roster bonuses are due and FA kicks in.

  16. skins23 says: Jul 21, 2011 11:16 AM

    TD syndrome is correct – If Haynesworthless doesn’t want to play, and if the Skins can’t cop a 4th or 5th for him out of division, Shanny is going to let him rot on the bench. Simple as that.

  17. We'reFineThere says: Jul 21, 2011 11:18 AM

    I’m blaming Aaron Maybin’s terribleness on the Bills and being overdrafted. He will not be out of the league and will have an impact role on some team eventually. Be the first to tell your friends…

  18. goodandfast says: Jul 21, 2011 11:22 AM

    I don’t think Shanahann and Haynesworth will ever see eye to eye re: head-stomping policy…

  19. andyreidisfat says: Jul 21, 2011 11:30 AM

    If the redskins don’t cut Fat Al within the first hour of the league year then i think the NFL should take a hard look at either pulling the team from snyder or just contracting them alltogther.

    Clearly this guy isn;t going to play for this team and clearly no team is going to give up a draft pick for him knowing they have to release him. If they keep him on to spite him then clearly they do not care about winning. And even as an Eagles fan I feel sorry the fans in DC as i know whats its like to have inept owner. We had one for many years who ran our Franchise into the ground. Hopefully Snyder will sell this team and the Skins wil get an owner who interested in winning

  20. henrykissingerisgod says: Jul 21, 2011 11:33 AM

    Aaron smith will be cut of he doesn’t take a pay cut…its a shame but that’s the business

  21. chsjra17 says: Jul 21, 2011 11:45 AM

    @We’reFineThere

    You’re high if you’re going to blame the Bills for Aaron Maybin’s “terribleness” and for overdrafting him. While I agree with him being overdrafted and wished that they would have taken Orakpo with the 11th overall, he cannot even get on the field for Special teams duties on a team that had NO pass rush last year. They had the 3 fewest sacks and he could not get on the field. What does that say about his athletic ability?

    He’s too small for the NFL and too immature to realize he’s gotta get bigger and stronger.

  22. wamj2008 says: Jul 21, 2011 11:52 AM

    What does it say about the Pack’s embarassment of riches that 4 of their players are on this list?

  23. turk2875 says: Jul 21, 2011 11:54 AM

    I would LOVE to see Dawk back in green. Obviously not as a starter, but as a mentor to Nate Allen and Jaquan Jerrett. Who knows if Mikell will be back.

  24. We'reFineThere says: Jul 21, 2011 12:06 PM

    Not high. He might have to play in Canada, change his name and position, but he will be back.

  25. steelbydesign says: Jul 21, 2011 12:12 PM

    @henrykissingerisgod

    He will take a paycut, bank on it.

  26. bigmikeskinsfan says: Jul 21, 2011 12:14 PM

    wow..most of the players you listed are scrubs and well past their primes anyways. dawkins? porter? who is going to pay good money for those jokes?

  27. polishkingski says: Jul 21, 2011 12:27 PM

    @steelerspiratesbruins….the deal on okoye was quick and athletic but was very young when drafted and needed also to put some size on. he was expected to go as high as he did.

  28. sah0620 says: Jul 21, 2011 12:32 PM

    castleofcheese says:
    Jul 21, 2011 11:03 AM
    Cullen Jenkins should be on this list. As much as I like him, there’s no way he’s with the Pack this year.

    He’s a free agent, the Packers don’t need to cut him for him to leave. That’s why he isn’t on the list.

  29. thefiesty1 says: Jul 21, 2011 12:35 PM

    Jolly better start looking for a new line of work.

  30. silverhornet says: Jul 21, 2011 12:48 PM

    To me, the big name on that list is Amobi Okoye. If the reason he is being released is that he can’t play in a two gapping 34 front, then I would suspect John Fox and the Broncos would piss on themselves at the chance to sign him to play in a front that is more attractive to his talents in the 43. Would have to think the Texans would try to trade him first given his age? If his salary for 2011 is indeed in the $3m neighborhood, his last year from his rookie contract, one would assume he’d get more than that on the open market.

  31. touchdownsyndrome says: Jul 21, 2011 12:54 PM

    buckybadger says:
    Jul 21, 2011 11:05 AM
    @touchdownsyndrome, Haynesworth will have to be cut. No one will pay that salary to guy like him. I don’t see him taking a pay cut just so he is easier to trade. He will be cut.

    ————————————————–
    You may be right, but his 5.4 million in salary is no longer guaranteed and who’s to say he’s not willing to restructure for a little less, or even restructure to more of an incentive based structure just to get away from Tannahan.

    His salary as presently structured is roughly 4% of the $120 million cap, and coming into a year where it appears a new salary floor will grease the spending skids, I don’t think it’s unimaginable that a prideful coach may take a chance in putting frumpy dumpy back together again.

    What I do know, is that MS has shown he’s willing to sacrifice Snyder’s coin and one of his roster spots to ensure that every other player on his team is aware that while he’s there, what he says go… right or wrong.

    Time will tell, I just hope he’s gone sooner than later.

  32. skins23 says: Jul 21, 2011 1:01 PM

    Skins will pursue Cullen Jenkins.

  33. snowcker says: Jul 21, 2011 1:30 PM

    Haynesworth is going into the relatively cheap part of his contract for the next two years. Of the $48.2 m due in the first four years of his contract he already has $35.6 m. According to reports published around the time of his signing, he is due $5.4 m guaranteed in salary this year, $6.7 m non-guaranteed next year and a $500K 2012 offseason workout bonus (which he will never see). So the Skins or another team get him for one year at $5.4 m or the next two years for $12.1 m.

    Then he’s due a non-guaranteed $20 m bonus in 2013. That is the point no one pays him and he is cut.

  34. dailynorseman says: Jul 21, 2011 1:38 PM

    title13xtown says: Jul 21, 2011 11:00 AM

    I fear Harrell being cut and ending up as a decent 3rd DT in Minnesota or Detroit.
    ————
    If it makes you feel any better, I don’t think you have to worry about Harrell becoming anything anywhere, let alone Minnesota or Detroit. Hell, there’s a good chance he wouldn’t even make the Vikings’ roster.

    As far as Okoye, if he shakes loose, he’d be a fine fit in Minnesota. If anybody could get the best out of him, it would be Karl Dunbar and company.

  35. 2ndaryinsanity says: Jul 21, 2011 2:13 PM

    Silverhornet…if Okoye leaves Houston, it’s because he did NOTHING in the 4-3 (supposedly where he “fits”) and doesn’t fit at all in Wade Phillips 3-4. I’m still pissed the Texans wasted such a high draft pick on him. My poor Texans will NEVER make the play-off’s until two things happen: 1) Fire Gary Kubiak 2) Fire the G.M.

  36. judsonjr says: Jul 21, 2011 2:38 PM

    Don’t think Chillar will get cut as his contract is front loaded. The bulk of his money was paid in 09/10, so I think he only is due 2.x mil this year on a contract that averaged 5 mil per year.

    He’s not great by any means, but his contract is probably 500K to 1M cheaper than an equivalent FA. Might be able to move him for a 6th-7th or package him with a pick to move up a round or so.

  37. BernardPollardIsAnAss says: Jul 21, 2011 3:20 PM

    You forgot Tully Banta-Cain. He gets paid way too much money to be a 3rd down player.

  38. gregjennings85 says: Jul 21, 2011 5:09 PM

    castleofcheese:

    “Cullen Jenkins should be on this list. As much as I like him, there’s no way he’s with the Pack this year.”

    _______________________________

    Cutting a free agent can be extremely tricky.

  39. packerbacker12 says: Jul 21, 2011 5:53 PM

    “Cullen Jenkins should be on this list. As much as I like him, there’s no way he’s with the Pack this year.”

    Highly doubt that will happen since Jenkins isn’t even signed for next season. If he is leaving, it’s through free agency.

  40. purplehayseuss says: Jul 23, 2011 6:23 PM

    thefiesty1 says: Jul 21, 2011 12:35 PM

    Jolly better start looking for a new line of work.
    ***

    Jolly better start looking for a good woman to slap his ass around until he wakes up and realizes that he just pissed away a fortune and ruined his young life. And that Americans are only too happy to give another chance to a “hugely talented” player when they’re clean and sober and off the Stupid Train.

    And I know of what I speak. I was at Oregon when Onterrio Smith was drafted by the Vikings then quickly proved himself The Dumbest Human Being Ever To Draw A Breath. Let alone on a joint. Smith had the football tiger by the tail and was on the doorstep of a ridiculous contract and even after the NFL rules let him slide and gave several chances to clean up, he gave them all the finger. Forever more, Smith will be directly associated with a fake plastic phallus.

    But, because of that string of acts of stupidity, Minny now has Adrian Peterson, the best RB in the league. So it worked out.

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