The NFC Chopping Block

With Saturday's roster cutdown looming, we have an inside look some of the veteran players who could be on the chopping block.

Veterans on the Chopping Block

Many fans have been speculating which veteran players could be victims of Saturday's final roster cutdown.

Whether it's for a lack of productivity, high salary, or age, some popular players may be out of a job this weekend although some could find jobs rather quickly.

Scout.com contacted several NFL sources this week and through discussions, we've put together the following list of NFC players who could be on NFL's version of the unemployment line or traded away for future compensation.


Quarterback

Anthony Wright/New York Giants - With the solid development during training camp of fourth-year QB Jared Lorenzen, Wright's spot on the team is clearly in jeopardy.

Wright is on the books for $720,000 this season and $730,000 in 2008. Lorenzen is on the final year of his deal and is set to make $435,000.


Running Back

Ciatrick Fason/Minnesota Vikings - The team has five backs currently on their roster and one almost certainly has to go. What gives fellow backup RB Artose Pinner a little more value to the coaches is that he has more explosiveness in his game.

Fason is on the last year of his rookie contract and is set to make $435,000 with Pinner on the books for $850,000. The Vikings are in good cap shape so salaries shouldn't be a factor in the decision to keep one back over the other.


Eric Shelton/Carolina Panthers - Almost from the day he signed his rookie contract, Shelton's roster spot has been tenuous. With three jobs secured on the depth charts at the position to DeShaun Foster, DeAngelo Williams, and Nick Goings, Shelton's job could be expendable.


Aaron Stecker/New Orleans Saints - The decision whether to keep him or rookie RB Antonio Pittman could come down to their final preseason game. Stecker is a versatile back who can also handle special teams returns. But there's a reason why the team selected Pittman in the fourth round of this year's draft. And don't forget about the progress that rookie RB Pierre Thomas made of late.


Wide Receiver

Michael Clayton/Tampa Bay Buccaneers - It was just three years ago that Clayton burst on the scene as a rookie and put together a very good season. The the next two seasons, his numbers fell way off and now his roster spot is clearly in jeopardy due to the play of David Boston and Maurice Stovall who are also big-bodied receivers.


Tight End

Bubba Franks/Green Bay Packers - There has been much speculation by the local media on the eighth-year pro's future. Franks has been supplanted as a starter by Donald Lee and the team may have a hard time justifying the $1.4 million Franks is set to make this season.

If Franks stays on the roster for this season, he's almost certain to take a pay cut if he plans on playing in future seasons. He's set to make $3 million and $5 million the next two seasons.


Offensive Linemen

Todd Wade/Washington Redskins - The team tried to convert the longtime tackle into a guard -- and that worked about as well as trying to make a square peg fit in a round hole. Wade simply doesn't have feet to play in confined space. With that in mind, the Redskins traded for veteran G Pete Kendall last week.

Wade, who turned out to be a free agent bust with the Houston Texans, is set to make only $720,000 this season but his salary more than doubles to $1.78 million in 2008 and increases to $1.95 million in 2009.


Kwame Harris/San Francisco - In no great surprise, he lost the starting right tackle job to rookie Joe Staley. While the team would be thin on depth at the position if they released Harris, he's set to make over $2 million this season.


Defensive Linemen

Alex Brown/DE/Chicago Bears - He was a full-time starter for the past four seasons but has been replaced as the starting right end by second-year pro Mark Anderson. The team probably won't release him but the Tennessee Titans have interest in Brown especially if they don't wind up signing free agent DE Simeon Rice.

Brown has a cap friendly salaries of $595,000 (2007), $550,000 (2008), and $670,000 (2009).


Linebacker

Jeff Ulbrich/San Francisco 49ers - The popular player has been replaced as a starter by rookie LB Patrick Willis and while there's a good chance that Ulbrich makes the roster, he's set to make over $1.5 million this season. The team also has veteran LB Hannibal Navies on the depth chart should they decide to part ways with Ulbrich.

Punter

Dirk Johnson/Philadelphia Eagles - The team is pleased with the development of P Saverio Rocca who has a stronger leg than Johnson. Rocca's problem though is hang time, and that's the area where he'll need to continue to improve.


Cornerback

David Macklin/Washington Redskins - He had been a starter for many seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and Arizona Cardinals, but the veteran defensive back is slated to be Washington's dime back this season. The team could choose to replace him with a younger defensive back such as CB Ade Jimoh who is also a solid special teams player.

Macklin is on a one-year deal and is set to make $720,000 with Jimoh on the books for $595,000.


Jason Craft/New Orleans Saints - For whatever reason, the former coaching staff seemingly was in love with this player, but Craft never seemed to rise to the occasion. And now his spot could be in jeopardy due to the selection of CB Usama Young in the third round of this year's draft along with the signing of CB Jason David. We should also note the coaches could decide to keep Craft over CB Fred Thomas, who struggled mightily in the playoffs last year.


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