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AFC West: Veterans on the roster bubble

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We continue our series looking at one veteran player from each team who could be on their team’s roster bubble this summer.

Denver Broncos: Devontae Booker

Writer: Griffin Clark

Heading into training camp this summer, one veteran player on the Denver Broncos’ roster bubble is running back Devontae Booker. The 27-year-old Utah product was selected in the fourth round in 2016 by Denver, but he never lived up to the high expectations that came with being an NFL starter. Booker is currently projected to be the third-string running back as we move closer to the preseason, sitting behind Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman

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Lindsay emerged as one of the NFL’s best young stars last season. He was signed by the Broncos as an undrafted rookie out of Colorado last season, but went on to rush for more than 1,000 yards and was eventually selected to the Pro Bowl. Royce Freeman was a star at the University of Oregon before being selected in the third round of the 2018 draft by Denver. He rushed for 521 yards and five touchdowns last season and is looking to improve on that in this upcoming season. 

There is a chance that the Broncos decide not to release Booker before the start of the season, seeing as though he enters the last year of his contract. They could keep him for depth at the running back position this year, and then allow him to sign elsewhere next offseason. 

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If they decide to go in a different direction and release Booker, Denver could take a chance on a new undrafted rookie or sign a free agent running back. Both Lindsay and Freeman should have earned a roster spot by now, but the team would need to add a third in case of injuries or for depth. Some available running backs on the free agent market include Jay Ajayi, Kapri Bibbs, Alex Collins, and others. 

Kansas City Chiefs: Dustin Colquitt

Writer: Keaton Henry

As I put pen to paper here, I can already hear the outcries on the uprise in Kansas City. But, what if the most tenured Chief was actually on the roster bubble?

It’s not out of the ordinary for the Chiefs to bring in offseason bodies at the punter or kicker spot, especially with full intent to cut them after training camp. However, this year may just be the difference.

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The Chiefs just paid big money for pass rusher Frank Clark and are working on an extension for Chris Jones, not to mention the likely extension for Tyreek Hill (pending the completing of the NFL’s investigation regarding abuse). So, though a move to release Colquitt wouldn’t sit well with most of Chiefs Kingdom, they would save $1.8 million in cap and every dollar helps.

Oakland Raiders: Eddie Vanderdoes or DeAndre Washington

Writer: Lamarr Fields

Training camp is right around the corner. It is time to see who can make the team. There are many veterans with jobs on the line. Eddie Vanderdoes and DeAndre Washington will both be on the bubble for the Oakland Raiders.

After a solid rookie season, Vanderdoes missed all of last season with a torn ACL. In his rookie season, he started 13 games and showed the ability to be disruptive at times. He finished his rookie season with 13 tackles, two for a loss. While those are not high numbers, his physical style on the interior defensive line were impressive. Coach Gruden is excited to have Vanderdoes back on the field to see what he can do. With that being said, the Raiders drafted two defensive tackles last season in Maurice Hurst and P.J. Hall, both of whom played a lot last year for the Raiders. Also, the Raiders re-signed Johnathan Hankins and still have Justin Ellis on the roster. It will be an uphill battle for Vanderdoes to make the team; he will have to have an outstanding training camp and preseason to crack the opening game roster. It’s possible he can do it, but only time will tell.

As for Washington, last season he barely saw time on the field. He suffered an injury in the preseason and it got him off to a slow start. Jalen Richard took over as the team’s top pass-catching back, and he appears to be safe from being cut. Also, the Raiders drafted running back Josh Jacobs from Alabama, who figures to get his share of touches. The Raiders also bought back Doug Martin to provide veteran leadership to Jacobs. If that’s not enough, the Raiders still have Chris Warren lll, who they stashed on the practice squad last year. It seems extremely unlikely that Washington will make the Raiders’ roster, but who knows … he could be hungry and surprise us all.

Los Angeles Chargers: Cardale Jones

Writer: Andersen Pickard

Chargers quarterback Cardale Jones, once a standout from Ohio State, is easily one of the top choices to be cut by Los Angeles. The Chargers traded for Jones in 2017, a year after he was drafted by the Buffalo Bills, and later waived him, cut him, added him to their practice squad, and then signed him to a futures deal.

Through three years in the league, Jones has appeared in just one game: a 2016 match for the Bills in which he had to come off the bench in relief. He threw 11 passes, six of which were caught, for 96 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception. He was also sacked once for a loss of two yards. He finished that game with a 13.9 quarterback rating, and thus that number remains his career rating.

Like many players on these lists, it would take a really impressive summer performance from Jones to keep him in Los Angeles, especially after the team signed Tyrod Taylor as their No. 2 and found a potential No. 3 in the draft this past year. Nothing’s impossible, but things aren’t looking good as of now for Jones’s future in Los Angeles.

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