Insiders Analysis: Wednesday's Roster Moves

Free agency is right around the corner and the cap purge has begun. Some names on the list include former Patriots who will be looking for jobs with new teams very soon. One name includes a player Bill Belichick has said was the hardest cut he's ever had to make. Is it possible he could return?

BILLS - Released TE Mark Campbell, DT Sam Adams, and S Lawyer Milloy.

Analysis: Campbell wasn't a surprise as new offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild will run a version of the Rams offense, which didn't use the tight end position much. The team is hoping that second-year TE Kevin Everett will be a major contributor at the position.

Adams was at odds with the team over playing time/role last year so the move to release him was expected. The team is very light on talent and depth at the position so look for that position to be addressed in the draft.

Milloy was the one surprise as there wasn't a strong indication that he was going to be released. He should find a starting job elsewhere. For now, backup S Coy Wire, whose job Milloy took in the first place, steps back in with the first team defense.

Patriots Interest: Adams was benched for poor play during the Bills game against New England. Some rumors existed that Mike Mularkey had a grudge against Adams, but it appears to be more production based. Milloy was the player Bill Belichick said was the hardest cut he's ever had to make. With Rodney Harrison on his way back, it is unlikely the team would pursue Milloy even if he were open to the idea, but it does pose an odd possibility. New England could use another veteran with experience in Belichick's system, and Milloy could serve as an insurance policy if Harrison's recovery doesn't go as smoothly as hoped.

 

BRONCOS - Released RB Mike Anderson, TE Jeb Putzier, and DL Trevor Pryce.

Analysis: Anderson was a minor surprise but, believe it or not, the team believes veteran RB Ron Dayne could have a major role in the running game next season along with RB Tatum Bell. This move gives credence that they were interested in trading for RB Ricky Williams.

As for Putzier, scout.com noted at the NFL Combine that the team was leaning toward not picking up his roster bonus and that's essentially what happened. They'll look for a more complete player who blocks better. Still, Putzier is a terrific athlete who is a good fit for a West Coast offense.

It isn't as though Pryce was very old (turns 31 in August) but his play waned in recent seasons and he was part of a deep defensive line rotation so he became expendable. Still, the versatile veteran can play inside or outside and should find interest in free agency.

Patriots Interest: Pryce was a force against the Patriots when Denver defeated the Patriots both during the season and in the playoffs. Although the rest of the defensive line the Broncos brought in from Cleveland will play to their future plans, Pryce could fill a role, just not on the Patriots who play a 3-4 vs the 4-3 Pryce has more experience in. Anderson and Putzier are unlikely targets.

 

BROWNS - Re-signed UFA DL Orpheus Roye and signed DT Ethan Kelley to a one-year extension.

Analysis: Roye proved to be a terrific fit for head coach Romeo Crennel's version of the 3-4 defense and Roye put up career tackle numbers. At 32 years old, he should have at least two good years left.

While he won't ever be an All-Pro, Kelley is a young player with a little upside and has extensive experience in Crennel's defense as the two were with the Patriots together. Kelley will be used in a rotational basis again, which is the best role for him.

 

BUCCANEERS - Re-signed RFA QB Chris Simms.

Analysis: Unable to get him signed to an extension, they were still able to get him under contract for another season and it's not out of the question they get him signed longer should a CBA get done soon.

 

DOLPHINS - Released OT Damion McIntosh, CBs Reggie Howard and Sam Madison, and S Tebucky Jones.

Analysis: Some point to a recent off-the-field issue as part of McIntosh's release. Fact is, he was an underachiever and not up to starting caliber for a left tackle. He would be best suited as depth for a team, not a starter.

Howard turned out to be a major free agent bust for the team and got relegated to a dime role at one point last season. He'll find a roster somewhere in a backup capacity.

The signs were there in recent seasons that Madison wasn't the player that he once was, plus he was making too much money ($3.4 million in base salary).

Patriots Interest: New England took a couple of looks at Tebucky in 2005 before opting to sign Artrell Hawkins and Michael Stone to address their secondary woes. Hawkins played well enough that he would be a better possibility than Jones. Madison created a buzz last year when there was a possibility of him moving on. New England may be interested in taking a closer look at the right price.

 

JAGUARS - Re-signed UFA DL Rob Meier and RFA LB Tony Gilbert.

Analysis: The versatile Meier is a good rotational player that can give the starters a breather inside or outside.

Gilbert is one of their best special teams players, plus he backs up starting MLB Mike Peterson.

 

PANTHERS - Released RB Stephen Davis, RB Rod Smart, DT Brenston Buckner.

Analysis: The Davis moves comes as no surprise (was set to make $1.85 million) as the team is hoping second-year RB Eric Shelton can take over at least the short-yardage role. Davis is clearly at the end of the line and probably will only play another year if that.

Smart is a decent special teams player but the team was deep at running back and he wasn't really needed.

The team is high on young defensive tackles Jordan Carstens and Kindal Moorehead, so Buckner and his $1.85 million salary became expendable. The team badly wants to re-sign UFA WLB Will Witherspoon so Buckner's cap space should help.

Patriots Interest: Probably very little interest in the running backs. New England already has an expensive back in Dillon and Davis wouldn't be much of an upgrade if at all. Smart doesn't exactly fit New England's mold, but then again neither did Amos Zereoue. If Buckner has gas left in his tank, it's possible the team might talk to him. He doesn't exactly fit New England's need for a solid run stopper to backup Vince Wilfork at NT.

 

RAVENS - Re-signed RFA TE Daniel Wilcox to a three-year extension.

Analysis: Wilcox is a nice story and finally found a home as one of their key backup players on offense.

 

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