Veterans on the Roster Bubble: NFC Westby Andersen Pickard August 29, 2021 1 comment
The preseason is winding down. For many players, that means a chance to achieve a lifelong dream of making the 53-man roster. However, not everyone can have their wishes fulfilled.
With each team set to cut dozens of players by next Tuesday, let’s identify one veteran from each NFC West team that is on the roster bubble. These players will need to have impressive camp performances to secure their roster spot.
For the purpose of this article, a veteran is someone with more than four years of NFL experience. This means that they are no longer on their rookie contract. First-round picks who are on their fifth-year option count as veterans.
Arizona Cardinals: Demetrius Harris, Tight End
The Cardinals signed Harris to a one-year, $1.075 million deal this offseason. As the start of the regular season draws near, Harris is fighting for the third tight end role in Arizona. His biggest competition is another former Chiefs tight end in Ross Travis. (Maxx Williams and Darrell Daniels are in line for the top two roles.) In a Cardinals offense that is trying to get younger and does not rely on its tight ends, the 30-year-old Harris will need to really impress the Arizona coaches in order to beat out Travis, who is 28.
Harris spent 2020 with the Bears, catching seven passes for 45 yards over the course of 16 games. By cutting the Wisconsin-Milwaukee product, Arizona could create $850,000 in cap space without accruing any dead money.
Los Angeles Rams: Johnny Hekker, Punter
Whenever a veteran kicker or punter gets cut, it often sends shockwaves throughout the NFL. That would be exactly what happens if the Rams end up parting with Hekker. The nine-year veteran has never missed a game in his career. Along the way, he was named to four Pro Bowls and has been a four-time First-Team All-Pro. He was also selected as a member of the Hall of Fame All-2010s Team. However, the skillful punter is facing competition from Corey Bojorquez this summer and reports out of camp suggest the 24-year-old might be the favorite for the job. Thus, Hekker is certainly on the roster bubble.
From a financial standpoint, Los Angeles would create $3,750,000 in cap space by cutting Hekker while carrying $1,187,000 in dead money. The 31-year-old has three seasons remaining on the five-year, $18,750,000 deal he signed back in 2019.
San Francisco 49ers: Zach Kerr, Defensive Tackle
The 49ers have one of the strongest defensive lines in football which means a veteran like Kerr might not make the 53-man roster. An undrafted free agent in 2014, Kerr has spent time with the Colts, Broncos, Cardinals, and Panthers over the last seven years. He played in 13 games last season, logging a 36.8 percent defensive snap share while amassing 32 tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble. However, he is severely blocked on the 49ers’ depth chart by players like D.J. Jones and Javon Kinlaw, among others. Kerr could be one of several defensive linemen unable to keep their jobs due to the impressive depth in the trenches.
Kerr is currently on a one-year, $1,212,500 contract. If San Francisco were to cut him, they would free up $716,912 while carrying $250,000 in dead money.
Seattle Seahawks: Cedric Ogbuehi, Offensive Tackle
Ogbuehi was drafted in the first round of the 2015 draft by the Bengals. He spent four years in Cincinnati and one in Jacksonville before signing with Seattle. He appeared in just eight games last season and saw the field on just 26 percent of snaps. The 29-year-old missed a very large chunk of camp due to an injury and therefore lost ground in his pursuit of a roster spot. It’s far from a guarantee that Ogbuehi gets cut, but his job isn’t particularly safe, either. He has his work cut out for him in the final days before rosters trim down.
Ogbuehi is currently projected to hit free agency after the 2021 season concludes. If Seattle were to release him, they would create $1,423,529 while being responsible for $350,000 in dead money.
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