Kerry Collins (Oakland) The salary-cap strapped Raiders did not have many options in getting below the league-mandated 94.5 million dollar cap. Collins was an easy target due to his large cap number (approximately 13-million dollars). Still possessing a big-arm, Collins is a vertical game type quarterback and has shown the tendency to be prone to turnovers. While his decision making process has improved, he still locks on receivers far too often. He will receive some serious interest in free agency, as he remains a viable starting quarterback option.
Tony Banks (Houston) Banks has been a backup to David Carr in Houston and should only expect to serve in a reserve capacity at this point in his career. Still athletic, Banks has a strong arm, but inconsistency and a knack for turning the ball have hampered him throughout his career.
Jay Fiedler (Jets) Brought in to serve as insurance in the event starter Chad Pennington was injured, Fielder went down with a shoulder injury minutes into his first opportunity in New York. Has had some success as a starter, but is now in the twilight of his career and should be looked upon as a backup or emergency type starter.
Tommy Maddox (Pittsburgh) Appears to have lost all confidence in his ability. Often throws into coverage and has proven to be very erratic. It's unlikely he will suit up in 2006, unless a team comes calling for a veteran type to step in.
Mike Anderson (Denver) Looking to clear cap space and provide Ron Dayne with a greater opportunity (as a backup), Anderson was a somewhat surprising cut for the Broncos. Not the fleetest afoot, Anderson has proven to be a powerful inside, downhill type rusher. On the downside of his career, Anderson has the ability to play, but shouldn't be counted on as a feature back at this point.
Stephen Davis (Carolina) At one time, Davis was as good as any back in the league. Knee injuries have robbed Davis of his surprising quickness and upper-body shiftiness. Still retains power, but is too great an injury risk to count on.
Rod Smart (Carolina) Simply a reserve at the running back position, Smart has had some success in the return game and should catch on with a team seeking a better than average kick return specialist.
Tony Hollings (Houston) Hollings has never reached the potential many scouts believed he possessed when coming out of Georgia Tech. A knee injury in college robbed him of playing time and quite possibly took some of his game from him. Hollings is a reserve at best at the professional level.
Cal Murray (San Diego) Special teams type player.
Jerald Sowell (Jets) Has one role: blocking back. Good blocker that understands his role of sacrificing himself. Teams which utilize the two-back or H-back sets with a need should express an interest.
Jeb Putzier (Denver) Has turned into a solid tight-end in the Broncos offensive system. Putzier's release was in an effort to reduce the Denver salary-cap issues – it says nothing about his game. His blocking has improved, but should be deemed average, while excelling as a receiver. The interest in Putzier will be immediate.
Mark Campbell (Buffalo) As the Bills sought to gain salary-cap relief, Campbell was an easy target for the team. Has battled injuries throughout his career, when healthy has shown the ability to get open, and is a sufficient run blocker. Campbell should be looked at as a depth player for a team looking to fill out the roster with a veteran presence type player willing to play special teams.
Cedric James (New England) Non-descript, special teams type player at best.
Johnnie Morton (San Francisco) Nearing the end of his career, still runs routes well, but has slowed and does not catch the ball nearly as well as in his days in Detroit. Can be a help as a reserve, but shouldn't be counted on to be a major contributor.
Harry Williams (Jets) Special teams type player.
Damion McIntosh (Miami) Age, size, and physical limitations make McIntosh a risky proposition at the tackle position. Due to the lack of top-flight talent at the tackle position around the NFL, McIntosh should remain in the game as a reserve.
Brad Hopkins (Tennessee) He may be getting up in age (35), but Hopkins still possesses the ability and consistency sought at the left tackle position. At one time, he was close to being a dominant tackle by utilizing quickness and excellent handwork. Hopkins now depends on experience and desire to play the position at a high level. Due to age, Hopkins shouldn't be counted on to be much more than a two-year stop-gap player.
Matt Morgan (St. Louis) Reserve, special teams type player.
Matt Hill (Carolina) Reserve, special teams type player.
Jason Fabini (Jets) Fabini was a solid, workmanlike tackle for the New York Jets prior to a pectoral muscle tear midway through the 2005 season. Capable of manning either the left or right tackle position, Fabini has been a consistent lineman without significant injury concerns. Fabini remains strong at the point of attack due to a wide base and leg strength. Released as a salary-cap relief measure, Fabini will garner serious looks from teams seeking an above- average, experienced lineman.
Mike Williams (Buffalo) A classic underachiever inside a mammoth frame. Williams was a highly touted lineman coming out of Texas, but has never achieved at the level expected of a high first-round draft selection. His overall play is inconsistent and sloppy, he does not move well, and cannot reach the second level of defense. Williams could start on a team which can hide his deficiencies and will receive some looks based on his size and experience.
Ron Stone (Oakland) This cagey veteran will not wind down his career in Oakland. A marginal, fringe-type player now, Stone still has the ability to run block well, but struggles against quicker defensive linemen. He is inconsistent in getting to the second-level of the defense and can be beat without help over the duration of a game. May get some looks from teams wanting to add depth, especially in training camp.
(Signed with Minnesota) - Jason Whittle (Giants) A better run blocker than pass blocker, Whittle is not overly strong at the point of attack, but will give maximum effort. He could be of value to a team looking for an average lineman for depth or to help a team with serious issues at the guard position.
Will Shields (Kansas City) Just like a fine wine, Shields appears to get better with age. Still can control his man at the point of attack and run block with the best in the business. Shields plays with a "find you and grind you" attitude. Even at 35-years of age, Shields has the quickness and strength to pass block well. If Kansas City does not resign the veteran lineman, Shields will command immediate attention on the open market.
David Loverne (Detroit) Serviceable at the point of attack, Loverne does not possess the strength and overall skill to make an impact at the guard position. Plays smaller than his size, can be overpowered by larger defensive linemen. Could be a starter on some teams and should receive some attention once free agency commences.
Kevin Mawae (Jets) Was playing at a high level prior to a left triceps injury which cost him the majority of the 2005 season. Tough and highly respected, Mawae remains a solid center who can generate better than average results in the run and passing game, but should not be counted on to be an elite player at this advanced stage of his career (35-yearsold; 12-year veteran).
Joe Iorio (Giants) Deep backup, special teams type player.
Trevor Pryce (Denver) The one-time dominating player is dominating no longer. Injuries and age have robbed Pryce of some of the speed, quickness, and power which elevated him to the elite pass rusher standard. Still displays the ability to compete, but should not be expected to produce more than average numbers for a defensive end or tackle. Due to his track record and team necessities in the game today, Pryce could command more than the standard for a player at his position.
Kenard Lang (Cleveland) Was a better than average defensive end for the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Browns, prior to the 2005 season. In 2005, Lang dropped weight and learned a new position (outside linebacker), all which played into his lackluster season of a year ago. If Lang can add weight, he can be a viable mid-range option for a team seeking a steady player heading towards the closing chapter of his career.
Chris Cooper (San Francisco) Marginal depth-type player.
Brady Smith (Atlanta) A foot injury sidelined this high-motor, lanky defensive end. Plays every play like it's the last one and is a solid team player in the locker room. If healthy, Smith has the ability to help a team looking for run support and with a moderate pass rush. The Falcons were seeking some salary-cap relief and this move falls into that category. Smith will command attention in the free agent player signing period.
Brentson Buckner (Carolina) Age, injury, salary-cap issues, and a drop in production all played into Buckner's release. While still displaying the strength and ability to play the defensive tackle, he has lost mobility and quickness. Struggles against quicker, physical offensive linemen and could be at the end of the road.
Sam Adams (Buffalo) Adams remains a solid run-stuffing defensive tackle, but age and wear/tear on his large frame appear to be taking their toll. Not as dominant at the point of attack in 2005 and appeared to wear down as the season went on. Should have a few miles left in the tank, but don't expect the same stellar Adams of years gone by.
Ted Washington (Oakland) Much like Adams, Washington is on the short-end of his career. Not nearly as effective in 2005 as in the past. A few short years ago, one blocker rarely could get the best of Washington, but in 2005 age and years of punishment at the point of attack appears to have caught up to him. Still can be effective in a spot role, but shouldn't be depended upon to play 35-50 plays a game any longer.
La'Roi Glover (Dallas) Glover simply is not a good fit in the Dallas defensive scheme. Released for that and salary-cap reasons, Glover can expect to draw some significant interest from teams looking for a defensive lineman that plays the run well and can get to the quarterback on occasion in the right scheme (needs athleticism around him).
Lance Legree (Jets) Legree is a serviceable defensive tackle that will give effort, but is not physical or athletic enough to make an impact. Due to his desire and effort, Legree will play somewhere on Sunday's, though as a backup.
Willie Blade (Dallas) Blade was unable to endear himself to head coach Bill Parcells due to his inconsistency and lack of overall performance. Although he is athletic for an interior defensive lineman, Blade is easily manhandled and lacks intensity. Should land in another team training camp for depth and could surprise if he ever fully utilizes his physical attributes.
Chris Claiborne (St. Louis) Despite being athletic, Claiborne just doesn't make plays and can't stay healthy. Claiborne was believed to be one of the special type linebackers when entering the league out of USC, but has been relatively average at the professional level. Runs well, tackles adequately, but doesn't make plays with any consistency. After a non-descript career with the Lions, he moved to the Rams and to be average.
Jeremy Loyd (St. Louis) Special teams/backup type player.
Na'il Diggs (Green Bay) Definitely the type of linebacker that plays better in space. Diggs is much better in coverage than at the point of attack. Teams like linebackers that display speed and quickness, Diggs will garner his fair share of interest due to his athletic ability.
Barry Gardner (Jets) Marginal backup inside linebacker type and special teams ace.
LaVar Arrington (Washington) Athletically gifted, Arrington has shown he can be a disruptive force when healthy and in the right mindset. Knee injury slowed his progress in Washington's defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' scheme. As the 2005 season progressed, Arrington began to surface as a player in the Redskins defense. It didn't hurt that he also tuned down his attitude (was not getting along with the coaching staff). Arrington has the ability to rush the passer and play the run effectively, but at times can be too aggressive. He should continue to improve with experience and confidence in the defensive scheme. Arrington was a definite salary-cap related release, but issues with the staff helped solidify his fate. He will command immediate attention in free agency and can be expected to be a high-impact signing.
Shawn Barber (Kansas City) Injuries have robbed this very athletic player from significant parts of seasons throughout his career. Still runs well and is coming off knee surgery. Barber is a serious medical risk and should only receive a very team-friendly contract (one-year deal) to see if he can play an entire season, which is questionable at best at this time in his career.
Gary Stills (Kansas City) Very good special teams player.
Brandon Short (Carolina) A productive linebacker that has had some issues with teammates and coaches in the past, Short is on the outside looking in. While this release can be acknowledged as a salary-cap cutting move, his overall play was inconsistent and the team is looking for a more balance and chemistry. Short will draw interest in free agency due to his ability to play at a better than average level at times.
Howard Hodges (San Diego) No impact, special teams type player.
Jamie Sharper (Seattle) Salary-cap cutting move, though performance and injury plays into the equation. Sharper was a disappointment for the Seahawks and appears to have slowed down. Once was a very durable and tough linebacker, in the 2005 season he was easier to neutralize. If healthy (knee surgery), he could command some looks in free agency, but there should not be a large payday offered.
Eric Warfield (Kansas City) Very inconsistent and does not do a good job in positioning himself between the ball and receiver. Can be easily fooled and does not play to his size. Could get a look as a starter somewhere, but the odds are he will be a backup in 2006.
Dexter McCleon (Kansas City) McCleon doesn't cover well, is better in run support, but a cornerback is paid to cover and execute. Can still contribute, but is not starter material any longer.
Reggie Howard (Miami) Appeared to have the ability to become a better than average cornerback when with the Panthers. In two-seasons with the Dolphins, Howard was a complete bust. Free agency should be relatively quiet for him, as he is a depth type player at this point.
Sam Madison (Miami) Has slowed over the past two-seasons, but is still regarded as a quality cornerback. Madison reads and reacts well and is smooth in coverage. He relies more on experience and instincts, rather than speed and quickness, though Madison possesses adequate speed. Still, despite some slippage, Madison can still play the position at a high level of consistency, but has not shown the ability over the past couple seasons to be the shutdown cornerback he once was.
Denard Walker (Oakland) Smallish stature and a loss of speed and quickness make Walker a nickel or dime type cornerback at this point in his career.
Andre Dyson (Seattle) This was a salary-cap cutting move after a very disappointing 2005 season for the Seahawks. Injuries and inconsistency hampered Dyson throughout the season and he was replaced when relatively healthy. Based on his history, Dyson will get an offer to start in the league in 2006, but may have to prove the 2005 season was a fluke. He must do a better job against bigger receivers to taste success. Dyson is aggressive and has a nose for the ball.
Duane Starks (New England) This one-time big-time cornerback has struggled since suffering a serious knee injury a couple years ago. Whether the knee isn't healthy or the player is suffering from confidence issues, Starks is far from the player he was just a few seasons ago. Relatively young, Starks may still have a place in the game, but will have to start from the bottom up.
Michael Lehan (Cleveland) Has shown some coverage ability, but is always injured. At this time a player which should not be counted on to be anything more than a special teams / reserve type player.
Ahmed Plummer (San Francisco) When healthy, Plummer is a very solid cornerback. The past two seasons have been difficult for the former Ohio State star, as neck and ankle woes have limited his playing time, which helped lead to his release (as well as the salary-cap savings). Again, if healthy, Plummer can be a significant player at the corner position, but that is a big "IF". Will draw serious interest as teams are always seeking cornerback that can cover, and Plummer does that well, when healthy.
Ty Law (Jets) Coming off a serious foot injury, Law played his way into shape during the 2005 season and was named to the Pro-Bowl. A truly outstanding cornerback and playmaker in the defensive backfield, Law will command significant interest in free agency. Still can man-up with the best of them, positions and handles himself well against large receivers, and displays consistency getting between the ball and receiver.
Michael Harden (Seattle) Could be a reserve and special teams type player.
Willie Williams (Pittsburgh) The Pittsburgh Super Bowl victory could be the final farewell for Williams. Smallish is stature, he has lost the speed and quickness necessary to play the cornerback position. The Pittsburgh defensive scheme helped minimize deficiencies. A definite salary-cap move, production also plays a factor in his release. A backup at best now and may end his career with the ‘ring'.
Lawyer Milloy (Buffalo) Not the dominant defensive back he once was, Milloy can still play the game at a high level and provides a great deal of experience. Over the years Milloy has lost a step and may not cover as much ground, but he makes up for this due to his ability to be in position. Any team looking for a safety for a couple years will seriously consider this former New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills standout.
Tebucky Jones (Miami) Jones has never played to the level expected when he was a first-round draft selection. Poor fundamentals and a lack of urgency leaves Jones on the sideline.
Marcus Coleman (Houston) Was starting in Houston until he violated team rules and fell out of favor with the coaching staff. Coleman still has the ability to be a serviceable safety if above average talent surrounds him in the defensive backfield, due to questionable pass coverage skills at this point in his career.
Oliver Celestin (Jets) Reserve player with potential. A definite special teams player which should play on Sunday somewhere in the 2006 season.
Jerry Wilson (San Diego) A step slow, average at best in coverage, and will not intimidate a receiver, Wilson's days of starting in the league are over. At best, now a backup and special teams type contributor.
Derek Pagel (Dallas) Special teams type player.