Minicamp Insider 2.0

In his latest column, Scout.com's NFL insider breaks down the remaining players who could face a post-June 1 release. He also provides insider updates on several players such as Joe Horn, Matt Jones, LaMont Jordan, Jevon Kearse, Ashton Youboty, and many others.

The June 1 date had been synonymous with other big roster movement dates in the NFL such as March 1. But in recent years, the June 1 date (actually June 2 for practical purposes) has been rendered virtually non-important in league circles.

Under the current CBA (collective bargaining agreement), teams could designate up to two veteran players prior to June 1 as post-June 1 releases who would be released earlier so they could find employment with another team. By doing so, teams could shelve half of the signing bonus acceleration into next season.

Because of their ability to do make moves earlier, teams simply don't have many moves, if at all, to make after June 1 to save salary cap space--those moves were done earlier in the year.

Here's a look at the veterans who were cut (non-injury reasons) during the early post-June 1 period (generally 6/2-6/6):

Obafemi Ayanbadejo/FB/Arizona Cardinals
Bryan Johnson/FB/Chicago Bears
Milford Brown/G/Arizona Cardinals
Kendrick Clancy/DT/Arizona Cardinals
Jerametrius Butler/CB/St. Louis Rams


League Wide Notes

NFC

Atlanta Falcons

HORN COULD BE MOVING ON: Veteran WR Joe Horn was already demoted to the second team offense after second-year WR Laurent Robinson was moved with the starters during the team's first minimcamp under new head coach Mike Smith. Horn, through his agent, has already asked for a trade or to be released and he skipped the team's non-mandatory workouts thus far.

Horn has three years left on his contract with base salaries of $2.5 million (2008), $2.9 million (2009), and $4.6 million (2010). Those salaries are quite high for a player who has already been demoted and is near the end of his career. So Horn could get his wish soon.


Chicago Bears

MANNING, JR. COULD GO SOON: CB Ricky Manning, Jr. could be another veteran who will be playing elsewhere because of lack of productivity. The sixth-year pro was demoted recently from his nickel position with S/CB Danieal Manning taking over in that role.

With Manning, Jr. set to make high salaries as far as a backup is concerned ($1.85 million-2008, $4.75 million-2009, $4.55 million-2010), he could be released or at the very least, asked to take a significant reduction in pay.


Minnesota Vikings

UNDRAFTED BACK COULD MAKE ROSTER: It was assumed when the team signed free agent RB Maurice Hicks that he had the No. 3 role locked up at the position. However, a league source notes undrafted free agent RB Albert Young could push for that spot on the depth chart.

Young was recruited out of high school by current running backs coach Eric Bieniemy when Bieniemy was the running backs coach at the University of Colorado in 2002.

Young hasn't had any problems with Minnesota's playbook and it's believed the team is actually considering keeping four backs instead of the usual three that most teams keep.


New York Giants

DROUGHNS ODD MAN OUT: With the first three spots on the depth chart at running back virtually guaranteed, veteran RB Reuben Droughns could be moving on soon.

Droughns was acquired in March of 2007 and was surpassed on the depth chart last season by Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw who are both under contract for 2008. Brandon Jacobs remains the starter.

Droughns is set to make $1 million this season and $1.25 million in 2009--money that's too much to pay for a player who is No. 4 on the depth chart at a position where team's usually only keep four players.


Philadelphia Eagles

ADDITIONAL SAMUEL CONTRACT INFORMATION: While it's been reported that CB Asante Samuel signed a six-year deal worth $20 million in guarantees, only $6 million of it is tied up in a signing bonus. Samuel has another $7 million tied up in a roster bonus for 2009 and he already received a $7 million roster bonus. So if for some reason Samuel doesn't play well this season, the team could decline to pay the roster bonus for 2009 (due in March) thus making him a free agent.

If Philadelphia picks up the bonus for next year, Samuel would make at least $18.545 million in the first two years of his deal. That amount doesn't include workout bonuses of $500,000 (2008) and $100,000 (2009).

As for DL Darren Howard, he's expected to make it to training camp but likely won't be on the roster in 2009, as pointed out recently by Scout.com.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

SIMMS STILL IN LIMBO: Despite releasing Bruce Gradkowski on Friday, the team still have five quarterbacks on the roster (Jeff Garcia, Luke McCown, Brian Griese, Chris Simms, and rookie Josh Johnson).

Simms is on the final year of his contract and is due $2 million in base salary. Garcia is already the starter and the feeling is Griese will back him up leaving Simms and McCown to battle for the No. 3 role. Johnson, according to a league source, is a practice squad candidate.

While Tampa Bay is in great cap shape, $2 million is a lot to carry for a player who may not take a snap all season.


AFC

Cleveland Browns

TEAM TARGETING CORNERBACK HELP: As the Orange and Brown Report noted earlier this week, the team had discussions with the Buffalo Bills about acquiring CB Ashton Youboty.

A league source told Scout.com late in the week that Cleveland called Buffalo recently and Cleveland's offer wasn't significant enough for them to consider it.

Although Buffalo spent their first-round pick on CB Leodis McKelvin, they believe their depth at the position is still a problem and are reluctant to trade the former third-round pick from the 2006 draft. The team also selected CB Reggie Corner in the fourth round of April's draft and signed veteran Will James who was demoted by the Philadelphia Eagles last season.

Cleveland is scurrying around for cornerback help after trading starter Leigh Bodden in a pre-draft deal with the Detroit Lions and after losing Daven Holly to a serious knee injury last week.

Second-year CB Brandon McDonald is now projected to start opposite fellow second-year pro Eric Wright. The team signed journeyman CB Terry Cousin this week to provide depth.


Jacksonville Jaguars

JONES LIKELY TO STICK...FOR NOW: While many fans continue to wonder what's going to happen with disappointing former first-round pick Matt Jones, he likely won't be released for salary cap purposes.

The receiver is only due $625,000 in base salary for 2008 and $565,000 in 2009. So whether he makes the team or not likely will be decided during training camp based on performance, not salary.


Oakland Raiders

JORDAN LIKELY POST-JUNE 1 RELEASE: The front office was hopeful to deal veteran RB LaMont Jordan but that looks like a pipe dream as pointed out in this space a few weeks back.

As of Friday, Jordan was still on the roster with two years remaining on his contract with $4.7 million due in base salary for 2008.

Other than the San Diego Chargers who could use a veteran backup, Jordan may have a hard time finding a job.


Tennessee Titans

KEARSE A FREAKING SURPRISE: In what could only be called a surprise, veteran DE Jevon Kearse might start opening day for Tennessee.

It was believed that his career was just about over when the Philadelphia Eagles released him earlier this year. Kearse was demoted last year in favor of Juqua Parker and wound up being a healthy inactive for a few games. He only posted 12 total tackles in 2007.

However, practice observers note Kearse has looked good in recent workouts and he's the leading candidate to start at left and.

In March, Kearse signed a two-year, $5 million deal with Tennessee which included a $800,000 signing bonus. Salary documents obtained by Scout.com also show Kearse has a $500,000 workout bonus for this season.


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