As the Arizona Cardinals begin their quest to cut the team's roster size from 90 to 53 by the end of the preseason, we're taking a look at every player at each position group and determining their odds of making the final cut.
Player: Jeremy Ross
Position: Wide receiver
Experience: 6th NFL season
Contract status: 2017-$615,000, 2018-Unrestricted free agent
2016 season quick review: Ross began the 2016 season as a member of the New York Jets, but was released by the team at the end of training camp. However, in late September, the Jets needed reinforcements at the wide receiver position, and added Ross to the team's 53-man roster for two weeks. Ross was cut again in October, signed by New York again in November, and ultimately cut one more time in early December. With Arizona's wide receiver corps depleted late in the season, the Cardinals took a chance on Ross and signed him on December 14. Ross was active for just one game with Arizona, but he made it count as the California product caught four passes for 37 yards and one touchdown in the Cardinals' season finale.
Projected roster status: With a glut of wide receivers competing for the final spot or two on the Cardinals' roster, Ross will find himself in contention for a job this fall, and could play his way onto the team if he proves his value as a special teams contributor. However, we believe it's more likely that the Cardinals cut Ross, acknowledging the possibility Arizona may bring him back if it needs help later in the year.
Projected depth chart status: Ross will enter training camp as the sixth, seventh or eighth wide receiver on the Cardinals' roster, and if he can outperform counterparts like Jaron Brown, Aaron Dobson and Andre Ellington, perhaps he can sneak onto the 53-man roster as a fifth or sixth wide receiver. However, that's a tall task for Ross, and we think he'll end up as one of the final receivers to get the axe.
CardinalsSource.com analysis: The decision to re-sign Ross this offseason was a vote of confidence in the wide receiver from general manager Steve Keim and head coach Bruce Arians, who were clearly impressed by what Ross had to offer last December. Though Ross has just 43 career receptions over five NFL seasons, Ross played with a swagger in week 17 against Los Angeles, and exceeded our expectations for a late-season addition. However, Ross will have a difficult time finding a home in Arizona because he's not exceptionally gifted as a route runner and doesn't create much separation from defensive backs down the field. Even though Ross is a speed threat on kickoff returns, things have yet to click for him professionally as a wide receiver, which limits the ways a team like Arizona can depend on him. The good news for Ross is that he's had a full offseason to embrace the Cardinals' playbook, and he'll have a legitimate opportunity to compete for a role near the bottom of the depth chart. Though the odds aren't in Ross' favor, a strong camp will go a long way toward helping him find a role somewhere.
Overall value: The classic "nothing ventured, nothing gained" signing, the Cardinals' decision to bring in Ross for one additional season is as much an opportunity for the organization as it is for the player. Having Ross in camp will give Arizona a veteran presence who is accustomed to competing in preseason settings, and it could bring out the best in Ross or some of the team's other more inexperienced options. Ultimately, $615,000 is a bargain for any veteran, so there's nothing to lose here value-wise for Arizona.