NFC North: Veterans on the roster bubble

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

Detroit Lions: Theo Riddick

Writer: Andersen Pickard

Theo Riddick is a candidate to be released by the Lions at the end of training camp, barring an impressive performance when the team gets together this summer. In 2016, Riddick added the 2017 to 2019 seasons on to the end of his contract by agreeing to a three-year, $11.55 million extension with Detroit.

In 2018, Riddick started three games but appeared in a total of 14. He was used a lot as a receiver, hauling in 61 passes for 384 yards but no touchdowns, finishing the year with a 82.4 percent catch rate. While he made a lot of catches, he also spent time in the backfield. By the end of the year, the former sixth-round pick amassed 171 yards on 40 rushes for no touchdowns, marking the first time in his career he did not find the end zone.

Riddick, who is entering his seventh season in the league with his job in jeopardy, could lose his spot on the roster to a handful of guys, including sophomore standout Kerryon Johnson and fellow veteran seventh-year running back C.J. Anderson.

Minnesota Vikings: Riley Reiff

Writer: David Taylor

The Minnesota Vikings have seen back to back seasons end in frustration. After losing to Philadelphia in the NFC championship game, Minnesota made the bold move to acquire Kirk Cousins as the final missing piece to the Super Bowl puzzle. That proved to not be the simple fix, as Minnesota failed to even make the playoffs. Losing forces change, and in a salary cap league, cuts must be made. Veteran Riley Reiff is the Viking that may not be in Minnesota this season.

Reiff is a talented offensive lineman, but trading or releasing him would save the Vikings more than $9 million in cap space. Reiff struggled at times last season, so a change may be in order. This is a risky move, however, as Minnesota does not have a lot of depth at the position. Still, many other writers have echoed the idea that Reiff’s days in Minnesota are numbered.

Reiff is entering his eighth NFL season. He spent five years in Detroit before signing with the Vikings. The 6-foot-6, 305-pound lineman played his college ball for the University of Iowa. Are his days in Minnesota at an end? Only time will tell.

Green Bay Packers: Tra Carson

Writer: Andersen Pickard

Tra Carson, a 2016 undrafted free agent, is a likely candidate to be released by the time the regular season comes around. Carson was active for six games in 2018 — two with the Cincinnati Bengals, and four with the Packers. However, he did not get any touches, and eventually landed on the injured reserve.

While he is a running back, Carson actually had a small amount of action making tackles as a special teamer last season; he recorded two solo tackles with Green Bay and one with Cincinnati.

When active, Aaron Jones is the No. 1 starter in the backfield with Jamaal Williams as a reliable backup who provides help in the receiving game. Rookie running back Dexter Williams will slide into the third slot, meaning Carson’s time in Green Bay is likely over.

Chicago Bears: Sherrick McManis

Writer: David Taylor

The Bears’ roster is surprisingly low on veteran players. In fact, only three players on the current roster have more than a decade of NFL experience. Of those three, one is backup quarterback Chase Daniels. With only two quarterbacks on the roster currently, Daniels is going nowhere. That leaves two possibilities: offensive lineman Ted Larsen and cornerback Sherrick McManis. Of those two, McManis is the one to go.

McManis signed a two year, $3.5 million contract with Chicago in 2018. He played in 15 games last season, but injuries limited his overall performance. The Bears have an embarrassment of riches at cornerback, so cutting McManis is a logical move. Cutting McManis saves Chicago a $1.9 million cap hit in 2020, with only $300,000 in dead money.

McManis has spent the last seven years in Chicago, predominatly on special teams. He appeared in 99 games, starting only five. Originally drafted in 2010, McManis spent two years in Houston before signing with Chicago.

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